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Promotional Coding for Brand Engagement & Loyalty

Posted By Codico, Tuesday 1 September 2015
Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
Promotional Coding for Brand Engagement (1)

What have Coke Cola and a selfie stick got in common? Probably this year’s best use of on-pack promotional coding. This summer, the iconic brand invited consumers to buy a Coke, simply enter the promotional code on the inside of the bottle sleeve into a website and be in with a chance of winning one of 250,000 selfie sticks (that’s a lot of selfie sticks).

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Over the past decade there has been an explosion in the use of variable data printed directly onto product packaging, particularly in the food and drink sectors. Usually the variable data relates to dates of minimum durability and batch numbering for traceability. Today the printing of variable data for the purpose of on-pack promotional coding has become mainstream for FMCG brands as an effective sales promotion technique. This year alone we have seen brands like Pringles (Karaoke Kits), and Lucozade (Project Yes), many more are no strangers to promotional coding. Advancements in technology has now made this technique available to all smaller and medium sized brands.

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What are promotional codes?

Promotional codes can take many forms. They might be a QR code that directs customers to a specific website. Or they could take the form of an alphanumeric code – unique to each pack – that allows customers to win prizes. They are applied onto product packaging and are easy to identify.

Reasons to use on-pack promotions:

On-pack promotions can help brands realise the following benefits:

Stand out from the crowd

The food and beverage industries are fiercely competitive. Promotional codes help your brand to stand out on the shelf and entice customers to purchase your product. [Tweet this]. They are a highly effective way of engaging customers with innovative marketing campaigns and can act as the bridge between physical marketing and online strategies.

Engage with your customers

Marketing is about engaging your customers. And promotional codes give you a great vehicle for encouraging customers to take action. Whether you are inviting consumers to design their own packaging or offering them the chance to win prizes, it all helps to make your brand more memorable.

Build brand loyalty

Active brand engagement leads to strong brand loyalty. The godfather of brand management Kevin Lane Keller states that perhaps the strongest affirmation of brand loyalty occurs when customers are willing to invest time, energy, money and other resources into the brand beyond those expended during purchase or consumption of the brand. These days consumers are willing to talk about the brands they love, mostly without the use of a promotion and competition. So when brands engage with consumers with a promotion they can only benefit further from this trend. This in turn also drives traffic, mentions, connections and follows.

Capture your customers’ data

When you engage your customers, you encourage brand loyalty. Run a campaign that captures an email address and gains permission for further communication then you have a fantastic opportunity to make the relationship between you and your consumer even stronger.

Increase revenue

On-pack promotions are an excellent way to grow quick sales and market share for the duration of the campaign. Does that mean that after the campaign is over sales decrease? Perhaps or maybe not. Increased loyalty from the promotions can cause additional revenue to carry on beyond the short term and into the medium and long term.

Top 5 tips for successful on-pack promotions:

1. Make it interesting/fun for your customers (not just for you).

2. Pick a prize that reflects your brand & target audience.

3. Take in to account customer effort versus perceived value of reward.

4. Make it fair and robust.

5. It’s all in follow up.

How do you add promotional codes to food and drink packaging?

With the right choice of equipment.

It’s important not to underestimate the engineering challenge of adding promotional codes to packaging. They must be printed with 100% clarity – at speed – and must not conflict with essential traceability codes and best before information.

In the case of competition codes that are unique to each customer and each individual product, you also need a system that is capable of generating hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of different codes within a short space of time. For example, an 8 character code has 4,294,967,296 unique possible outcomes.

Then there’s the matter of whether you print the promotional codes directly onto the packaging on the production line, or add the codes later in the production process. There are a small number of companies that can generate the unique codes for you to print. Some of these companies also look after the back end of the promotion to insure the website can handle the promotional entries and issue win/lose responses. Check out who can oversee all aspects of your loyalty programme.

The right decision depends on your industry, the type of promotion you want to run and your manufacturing processes. 

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A Look at the Past, Present and Future of Social Media Monitoring

Posted By Kantar Media, Tuesday 25 August 2015
Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
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Just consider how the meaning of ‘monitoring social media’ has evolved from an optional to a critical aspect for many businesses. The approaches to social monitoring have changed, and businesses must adapt. Key social, cultural and technological shifts have impacted the media sector. Are you keeping up with the changes?

Kantar Media - Social Media Monitoring

In the past, social media was considered as a ‘gadget’ and not a concern for companies, organisations, and different institutions. The earlier adopters of social media monitoring were mainly public relations and advertising agencies, who used this monitoring as an additional means to manage their clients’ online brand reputation.

As the amount of information grows, particularly in social media, monitoring can become time consuming and less relevant. Therefore, analytics are becoming more and more important. Analytics are more focused on aggregated information, providing trends, summarized reports, tonality or competitive information. Moreover, clients are tired of dealing with multiple tools.

Nowadays, too many companies choose the monitoring and measurement tools before planning, measurement and evaluation takes place. In the future, social media will be used in every field of life and organisations will take the time to do cross departmental planning. Marketing, customer service and PR teams will join together to use similar frameworks, tools and metrics that can be used for integrated reporting and strategy.

To read more and find out some tips and easy strategies that you can use to understand and manage your social media monitoring, please download the step by step guide to social media monitoring & analysis.

This article was first published on Kantar Media

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What We Need to Know about the Media’s Use of Social Media

Posted By PSGPlus, Monday 10 August 2015
Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
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    We hear a lot about the blurring of the lines between media and social media. A new study from Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University of 3,000 journalists (but none from Ireland, so do bear that in mind) shows just how much.

    The study is the result of a survey of 3,000 journalists in nine countries with 20% of them based in the UK. According to the study:

    • Social media is extremely important to journalists.
    • More than half of UK journalists say they couldn’t do their job without it. 48% say that they regularly read the posts of the people that they follow and monitor discussions on socials platforms about their own content.

    Despite the popularity of social media, email still ranks highly as the preferred method of contact. 86% of media professionals in the UK prefer to be contacted by email, 32% via social media and 39% are happy to receive phone calls.

    When it comes to who they turn to when looking for content, although 46% of UK journalists say public relations people, a significant 33% want to hear from experts.

    So what conclusions can we draw about how we engage with the media? 

    • Different media professionals use social media differently, therefore your method of contact needs to be tailored to their preferences in the same way brands segment audiences to deliver tailored communication
    • Journalists deal with a heavy load of social media traffic but are becoming more strategic about how they spend time on social media. This means they are not ‘always on’ but depend on social media as part of their toolkit
    • Journalists are clearly focused on using Facebook and Twitter according to the report
    • Although social media is increasing productivity, it is not resulting in a reduced workload. Journalists will make strategic decisions about their principal use of social media and their preferred tools for achieving their work goals
    • Email will continue to dominate the PR-journalist relationship. For journalists, the preference for telephone contact will continue to drop and be replaced by social media
    • Journalists will continue to rely on experts so they do not compromise their values and views of their profession by sourcing from perceived unreliable sources

    This survey was originally published on

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    Carat Pulse News: A Grocery Shopper Special

    Posted By Carat, Monday 10 August 2015
    Updated: Tuesday 9 February 2016
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    Carat’s yearly tracker of grocery shopper habits is now in the fifth year of measurement. Steady patterns are evident, with some category change along with some preferential differences between males and females emerging.


    Buying brands on promotion continues to dominate purchase decisions, and we are seeing a real stabilisation around switching between brands and private label over the last two years.

    Looking within each category, the biggest shifts are within the tea and alcohol brands. They continue to command the highest loyalty levels however, these segments have also seen an increase in brand switching driven by promotions, cider with the largest increase with 7%.

    The milk and cereal categories have seen a 5% and 3% increase respectively, in consumers that have switched to private labels and are happy with the decision.

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    When it comes to responsibility of being the main grocery shopper, females continue to take the majority of ownership with a slight decline from 75% last year to 73% in 2015. Meanwhile, males shopping responsibility has increased in the same period from 43% to 47%.

    Males are showing a stronger preference to do smaller shops throughout the week (61% agree) while female shoppers are more inclined to do one big shop a week (53% agree).


    7 in 10 shoppers are spending more time in-store comparing prices and special offers. Similarly, 7 in 10 shoppers are shopping around for better prices. Both continue a steady trend from previous years.


    Similar to brand loyalty, shopping decisions based on discounts and offers remain quite steady. Money off the usual price along with Buy one get one free continue to be the most appealing.

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    Promotional displays, on shelf advertising & free samples continue to be the most effective types of in store advertising. This year we also added new channels to the list including direct mail (30%).

    Pulse 1 resized

    This survey was originally published on

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    The consumer economy is now recovering rapidly

    Posted By The Marketing Institute & UCD Smurfit School, Wednesday 5 August 2015
    Updated: Tuesday 9 February 2016
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    Economic recovery is building rapidly in Ireland, with consumer spending now making a significant contribution to economic growth, for the first time since the start of the recession in 2008; one of the key findings of the latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM), published today by the Marketing Institute and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

    CMM Draft_Q2_15_v2 - Copy

    Retail sales were up 3.7% for 2014 and by 5.7% for the first half of 2015, in real terms. Services were up 4.1% for 2014, and up 9.3% for the first quarter of 2015. 40,000 houses sold in 2014, up 38%, and 21,300 in the first half of 2015, up 47%.

    A number of things are contributing to this positive trend – most notably regular increases in employment. There were 93,000 jobs added from the low point in 2012 to the first quarter of this year, a 5% increase in the total number of people employed.

    Mary Lambkin, Professor of Marketing, UCD Smurfit School, and one of the authors of the Monitor, said “Consumer spending accounts for over 60% of GNP in Ireland and is a critical factor in driving recovery in the economy.”

    Consumer confidence has boasted a positive trend from 2013, reaching a record level in Q4 2014, and this has been feeding through into consumer spending. Sales of new cars experienced a major turnaround in 2014, with 92,361 units sold, a 30% increase on 2013. This buoyancy is continuing this year, with 78,660 new private cars licensed in the first half of the year, an increase of 26% year-on-year.

    Lambkin continues “Disposable incomes are at last beginning to show modest growth as a result of jobs growth and this, coupled with greater availability of credit, is leading to accelerated spending on many categories of goods and services.”

    Retail sales are also improving; sales volume rose by 3.7% in 2014 while value increased by 1.6% indicating a significant upturn in activity. This upward trend has continued into 2015, with sales volume up by 6.6% in Q2, year-on-year, following 4.8% in Q1. Value was up 3.4%, also an improvement of the increase of 1% in Q1.

    Commenting on the findings Tom Trainor, Chief Executive, of The Marketing Institute, explains “We have been waiting for economic recovery for a long time in Ireland and especially in the consumer economy which has been particularly badly damaged in the recession. It is very heartening to see definite evidence that this sector is now recovering and this positive momentum will help to strengthen many businesses and allow them to grow and expand employment.”

    Sales of household goods were particularly strong, with electrical goods up 9.5% in volume in Q2, hardware, paints and glass up 6.2%, and furniture and lighting up 5.9%; reflecting the increasing number of property transactions. Sales of services have also been strengthening, up 4.1% for the year 2014, and up by a further 9.3% for the first quarter of 2015, year-on-year.

    There is also to some regional variation in the rate of recovery, with the greater Dublin area recovering more quickly than the rest of the country. The other regions are catching up, however, with the recovery gradually spreading to all areas.

    Consumer Incomes and Spending

    Household disposable income rose by 3% in 2013 – the first increase since 2008. Disposable income rose by a further 3% in 2014 and is forecast to increase again this year and next, in response to continuing improvements in employment numbers, and other factors such as falling oil prices and possible tax reductions.

    Household spending closely mirrors income, and recorded growth in 2014 for the first time since 2008. Personal consumption expenditure was up 2% for the year. Personal consumer spending is growing at an increasing rate this year, up 3.8% in the first quarter, and this is likely to be closely matched by household spending. Spending on services was also up by 4.1% for the year 2014, and by an even higher 9.1% for the first quarter of 2015.

    Personal consumer spending last year was still € 10 billion less than at the peak year of 2007. However, consumer expenditure is expected to continue to grow due to improving labour market conditions and stronger consumer confidence. The Central Bank is predicting an increase of 2.3% in personal spending for 2015 as a whole, and a similar growth of 2.3% for 2016. Other forecasters are more optimistic, however, forecasting growth in consumer spending of closer to 3% for this year and onwards.

    Consumer Borrowing

    Borrowing by Irish consumers grew at a record level from 2000 onwards and peaked in March 2008 at €150 billion, but has declined steadily since then, down -37% from 2008 to €93 billion in Q2 2015.

    Total lending to Irish households continued to fall in 2014, decreasing by -8.2% for the year to the end of Q4 2014, as households tried to get their borrowing down. Loans outstanding to Irish households decreased by -3.2%.

    Loans for house purchase, which account for 82% of household loans, peaked in May 2008 at €127 billion. Since then, we have seen a continued decrease to €77 Billion in June 2015, a cumulative decline of -39%.

    Lending for other consumption accounts for approximately 18% of total borrowing. This category peaked in Q1 2008 at €30 billion but declined to €19 billion by year-end 2014, a reduction of -38%. This category continued to decrease through the first half of 2015, standing at €16 billion in June 2015.

    The rate at which Irish households have reduced their debt is quite remarkable, surpassing most other countries, except for the US. Household debt as a percentage of income has decreased 33 percentage points in Ireland and 26 points in the US from 2007 to 2014. However, household debt levels in Ireland remain relatively high by international standards, at 177% of disposable income, and remains a constraint on recovery in the consumer economy.

    Retail Spending

    Following four years of decline, retail sales stabilised in 2012 and increased very slightly in 2013, up by 0.8% in volume terms. This represented a turning point in the economic cycle, with sales growth continuing to accelerate in 2014. Retail sales volume (excluding motor vehicles) rose by 3.7% in 2014, while value increased by 1.6%.

    This upward trend has continued into 2015, with sales volume up by 4.8% in Q1, year-on-year, and 6.6% in Q2, an average of 5.5% for the first half of the year. Value was up 3.4%, also an improvement of the increase of 1% in Q1.

    Sales of household goods were particularly strong in Q2, with electrical goods up 9.5%in volume, hardware, paints and glass up 6.2%, and furniture and lighting up 5.9%. All other retail categories also got a boost in recent quarters, and the evidence suggests that 2015 is delivering sales growth for most retailers.

    Recent Trends

    Sales of new cars experienced a major turnaround in 2014, with 92,361 units sold in the full year, a 30% increase on the previous year. This buoyancy is continuing this year, with 78,660 new private cars licensed in the first half of 2015, a rise of 26% compared with the 62,280 sold in the first half of last year. Industry expectations are that new car sales could reach 120,000 by the end of 2015, a 25% increase for the year. Sales of second hand cars are also doing well, up 20% on 2014.

    Retail sales excluding the motor trade are also improving; sales volume rose by 3.7% in 2014 while value increased by 1.6% indicating a significant upturn in activity. Retail sales have continued this upward trend in the first half of 2015, with volume up by 6.6% in Q2, year-on-year, and value up 3.4%.

    All product categories experienced growth in Q2 2015, with clothing and footwear up the most at 10.3%, followed by household equipment at 8.3%, year-on-year. More remarkable, however, is the significant growth displayed by sectors that have been particularly weak throughout the recession, such as bars and newsagents. In summary:

    • Food sales up 5.3% in volume and up 3.6% in value;
    • Non-specialised stores (supermarkets) up 5.7% in volume and 4% in value;
    • Fuel up 2.1% in volume but down -4.1% in value;
    • Clothing, footwear & textiles up 10.3% in volume and 6.8% in value;
    • Household equipment up 8.3% in volume and 4.5% in value;
    • Department stores up 7.6% in volume and 4.4% in value;
    • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics up 3.2% in volume and flat in value;
    • Bar sales up 5.1% in volume and up 5.3% in value.
    • Books, newspapers, stationery up 3.3% in volume and 5.3% in value;

    Overall, we can conclude that retail sales are back on a strong growth path, accelerating from Q1 to Q2 of this year. This positive momentum augurs well for continuing growth through the rest of 2015 and into future years, reflecting the broad-based strengthening of the economic fundamentals in the Irish consumer market.

    Download the full report CMM Q2 2015

    View an online version of the report here

    The Consumer Market Monitor is an expert report, released quarterly and designed to track key indicators of confidence and activity in the Irish consumer market. The monitor relies on a model of consumer behaviour which sees economic variables such as income levels, taxes, interest rates and exchange rates influencing consumer confidence which, in turn, influences consumer behaviour including spending, saving and borrowing. Data is collected from sources including the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the Central Bank, the European Commission, and various other secondary sources. It is a service provided by the Marketing Institute of Ireland in collaboration with the UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School.

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