According to a December 2018 Acosta article, more than 50% of shopper’s decisions are made at the shelf.

The digital age has disrupted the at-shelf marketing experience. As a consultant, I have the privilege of working with many different brands in many different life stages. For entrepreneurial brands, one of the biggest thrills is when a retailer takes you into their store set. Fast forward to the reset, and your brand is sitting on the bottom shelf. Now what?

It’s an interesting conundrum and one that I would suggest considering when you begin brand development. In most situations in life, such as a first job, you normally start at the bottom of the heap and work your way up to the top. Few brands, just like few people, have the lucky star to guide them toward an executive level or quarterback position in their infancy. Typically, it’s your ability to work well as part of a team, your willingness to work hard and your overall knowledge base that accelerate your rise to the top of the totem pole. No one likes to start at the bottom, but such is the reality of life.

For brands, it’s usually a similar story. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are product purpose oriented as opposed to brand oriented and are more interested initially in the ability of the product to deliver on its promise.

Every brand is different and has its own individual story to tell. What is the essence of your brand? If a customer sees the brand on the bottom shelf, will they immediately buy it? Is it easily recognizable at a glance? Can it stand out amid the sea of similar products in the universe? If it rises from the bottom to the top shelf, is it a sure-fire winner?

Thinking this through in the early stage of brand development is essential to making your brand stand-out. Although it’s an investment, partnering with a marketing consultant and a creative agency can help sort this out in the initial stages. And if you are reading this and thinking that since you are an ecommerce brand this does not apply to you, then think again. The ecommerce space is even more competitive as any brand that has appeared on the 20th page of Amazon can attest. Understanding how your customer defines value and how you are communicating that in a 2 second glance on a mobile device can save you considerable time and money down the road, as well as increase revenue.

Ecommerce can be even more challenging in some ways to get recognized and noticed. Reviews are great, but typically not enough to make a brand successful. Price, product, place and promotion are all relevant – across current and future channels of distribution. Considering early on what would happen if your brand goes from Amazon to Walmart or Sephora is a question worth pondering.

In today’s media driven world, understanding how to leverage various platforms to audience build and drive customers to your product is essential. For more mature brands, often the thought is to stick with the current playbook. Sometimes you have to do what feels uncomfortable to truly realize success. For example, if starting a podcast or opening a pop-up store seem like more work than they are worth, consider success stories such as ebay and FILA using these mediums. I once led a brand integration for a dietary supplement company with the Sundance film festival. This introduced a younger demographic to the brand and started countless conversations over the course of several days on the product benefits.

Taking a look across channels and visualizing your brand in various levels of visibility can save you a major headache and money squandered in the future.