Oct 20, 2011 at 07:37 PM
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How Events Are Helping A $40 Billion Brand Go Hyperlocal

How does a $40 billion company maintain high standards across its global brand while at the same time giving the face of the brand, each of more than 2,500 retail locations, the autonomy to appeal to customers at an innately local level? For SuperValue, the answer seems to lie in local events. The company recently announced that it would spend $1 million sponsoring youth sports in 13 different markets and yesterday CEO, Craig Herkert, explained how the chain uses event tie-ins, and store autonomy, to make its brand in his words, "hyperlocal."

We will continue to emphasize the unique nature of each store, but the fact remains that national brand popularity in many categories is the norm across the U.S. This is why many of our largest suppliers are joining us in our hyperlocal efforts. Take our ALBERTSONS store in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Every year, during the final 2 weeks of July, the town hosts Frontier Days, one of the biggest rodeos in the country, attracting upwards of 70,000 visitors from all over the world. For this year's event, store director Bob Simonson, challenged his team to go bigger. They responded to the call and worked closely with a major national vendor to create promotional displays that maximized its rodeo sponsorship and helped drive sales. For the entire event, the store posted a healthy increase in ID sales even off of last year's double-digit comp. That included strong sales lift in its snack foods and beverages. Bob would tell you that the single biggest reason for this success was the autonomy he had been given to merchandise his store around the needs of his customers, meaning he made the decision to drop pallets of water in the front lobby, knowing they would sell during the event.

Even more impressive than water was the 58% increase in cherry sales that creative displays and placement drove. These results would have been difficult to achieve without the new flexibility that Bob and his team now have. During this 10-day period, his store became a draw for tourists and local shoppers alike. Associates donned cowboy hats and shirts, created a walk-in display that looked like horse stable and the parking lot was converted into a petting zoo.

This example illustrates how hyperlocal retailing coincides with national products to both engage customers and meet their local needs. Our hyperlocal focus is also increasing sales and raising customer excitement around sporting events such as high school, college and professional football. These events are great opportunities for our stores to connect with customers and create a sense of community.

Herkert doesn't say who the supplier partner is, but a good guess would be Coca-Cola, which is one of Frontier Days' top sponsors. This example goes to show the vital role that distribution partners play in making CPG sponsorships work for both the property and sponsor. For CPG brands, which Heckert seems to be saying are increasingly commoditized, hyperlocal is becoming a common differentiation strategy, with event sponsorships the tactic and retail partners the conduit.

source: SeekingAlpha.com

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