The recipe for growing an FMCG brand? Mental and physical availability

Written by:
Connor Archbold
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Let's say you're launching a new FMCG brand – maybe it's a wine brand, like our wonderful client Wairau River (delicious, by the way!) How do you power brand growth? 

Success comes down to making sales, and making more of them every quarter. Now, as a marketer, you know that each sale is made up of two key ingredients, mental availability and physical availability. Your brand’s strength in these two areas determines how often your brand is purchased.

This means that when your customer is strolling through the supermarket on a sunny, Friday afternoon, the only way they're buying your wine is if:

  • Your brand is on the shelves of that supermarket (physical availability); and
  • Your brand is on their radar in some way. They have seen you before, they like your brand, their friend likes you, or they recognise your name from an ad (mental availability).

Physical availability

Fortunately for marketers, physical availability is outsourced. There are distributors whose job it is to make this happen. They get products in  stores as fast and efficiently as possible – an important piece of the puzzle.

Another important piece is understanding that a new brand can see amazing growth by increasing physical availability with low mental availability.

For example, imagine selling wine from your vineyard. The only time your wine is purchased is when visitors come to do tastings and walk away with a few bottles.

Then imagine your wine is sold in 15 restaurants in the local town. Then the local supermarket. Then a national chain of supermarkets. More people will buy your wine because you exist in more places – and they have seen your brand a few times because you show up in more places.

Physical availability encompasses three considerations; presence, prominence, and relevance. Presence is being present for category buyers in an array of buying situations. Prominence is how noticeable your brand is in these buying situations in comparison to your competitors. And relevance refers to context and being present in relevant category buying situations.

Mental availability

Your brand’s mental availability is the likelihood of your brand being noticed, recognised, or thought of in a buying situation. It's a natural extension of brand awareness: the level of mental availability depends on the quantity and quality of memory links in buyers’ minds to different buying situations.

A brand can build its mental availability by developing a number of these memory links in buyers’ minds, making the brand easier to access in more buying situations. Building these links can be achieved with clear branding. Maintaining a consumer's share of mind depends on consistent and quality marketing, and messaging that refreshes and builds on these links, instead of just reminding them of the brand’s existence.

Brand growth

Both mental and physical availability play a huge part in brand growth. Physical availability captures low hanging fruit, and is necessary for any sale to happen. Mental availability ensures you maintain brand loyalty for repeat purchases and create future demand through attracting new customers to purchase your brand.

If consumers can easily remember AND easily access your brand, they will become repeat customers. Exponential sales growth will follow so long as you continue creating awareness in new potential consumers and move them down the funnel to be loyal customers as well.

Ready to find out how your brand is performing against others in your category? Find out more about Tracksuit’s 'always on’ dashboard.

Start growing your brand today.
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