Brands and retailers today are under pressure to provide appropriately governed high-quality data to their internal teams to help drive better decisions and feed advanced analytics and other critical business applications. Companies are also increasing the delivery of depth and quality of information to make their digital shelf as engaging as possible for consumers. Furthermore, retailers and brands are increasingly dependent on each other to exchange real-time information transparently to be competitive on shelf and across digital channels and consistently communicate timely messaging throughout the customer purchasing journey.

Consumer ambition for cleaner and more sustainable lifestyles

Consumers in recent years have increased their need for information from brands and retailers. Armed with smartphones, consumers have an insatiable appetite for information about a products origin’s ingredients and nutritional information. As a consumer becomes more interested and engaged in purposeful shopping, additional info is requested such as the history of the brand and even their ESG policies and achievements. Having that information available for the consumer to pull through a QR code or other scannable technology closes that information and convenience gap.

Consumers are becoming more aware of ingredients. In fact, a study by the IFIC identified that almost two thirds of consumers food and beverage purchases are influenced by ingredients. In the past five years, 63% of consumers said they pay more attention to the ingredient list on food and beverages. The chemical-sounding and super lengthy list of ingredients that make food tastier have lost favor as consumers desire to eat less processed products and follow a healthier diet of organic and fresh products. Alongside cleaner living, more consumers are vested in making personal decisions supporting sustainability and look for recyclability and reuse packaging options.

Governance to enable increased alignment and value of data

While the need for information from consumers about a brand’s products has increased, the volume and variety of data about the market, product performance and consumer behavior that are coming into these enterprises continues to grow. A brand’s product distribution is present in more channels than ever before. Marketing and research teams are continuously striving to integrate new types of information that drive continuous improvement in analytics and ultimately decision-making across the organisation.

This surge of information can overwhelm the capabilities and time of the talent in organisations to adequately organise, vet and transform the data to make it usable. Data governance strategies need to be put in place by data leaders to develop policies and standards for the new data and transform the data to maximize value. Furthermore, new types of data need to be integrated into workflows to ensure quality and integrate existing taxonomies of customer, product, location, supplier and other critical master data.

Having a unified data model internally is a goal for most consumer packaged goods company’s (CPGs) is to ensure alignment across the organisation but can be difficult as new types are introduced over time. In a recent study by RIS news about internal data alignment, it is clear that more work is needed – 34% of companies say they have a long way to go, and 24% admit to working in silos.

Collaboration through continuous data transparency

As interactions with consumers become increasingly digital, more data needs to be shared between retailers and brands to optimize the customer experience and ensure ongoing success. Category management business plans and trade marketing activities were one-time events with quarterly updates. However, with more of the point of product discovery moving online, retailers and brands need to continuously share information about performance, changing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) terms, updated product benefits. Furthermore, recipes and promotions need to be timely and interesting to remain relevant as consumers search throughout the year.

The tremendous growth and shift in investment in retail media networks (RMNs) drives additional need for collaboration on the customer to ensure Return on Investment (ROI) in digital promotions. CPGs have the benefit of a larger lens of the market and success in other digital campaigns on other RMNs as well as a deeper understanding of their top brand consumers from their own experiences in direct-to-consumer. This information can be shared with retail partners in a transparent way to build additional intelligence into the target customers, best digital touchpoints, and geographic context to improve digital programs.

Given the amount of data exchanged daily in 2022, Excel files and emails aren’t up to task for strong retailer brand data collaboration. Bi-directional sharing of information and requirements is needed to drive the continuous improvement of product data, customer data and other types of business data between partners.

Begin with a solid foundation

The ability to consistently share relevant information in a transparent way has multiple benefits for CPGs. Transparency can be a vehicle to increase loyalty for consumers, increased intelligence internally and stronger long-term partnerships with retailers and agencies. But continued improvement in this area requires continuous organisational evaluation.

Many CPGs have a culture with a clear mission and are customer obsessed. They want to deliver what their consumers and employees need but find themselves overwhelmed by how to orchestrate that data across their organisation and out into the marketplace. To succeed, brands need a solid data foundation to manage all the data and create a unified data model across data types.

Just as important is having a bias for action by having a capability to syndicate trusted product data and sharing all types of master data for every push and pull scenario.