As you can see our highlight this month is the POPAI OMA Awards 2012. Having personally steered an annual VM&RD Retail Design Awards during the last five years, I can very much understand and appreciate the processes that go behind such events -- organizing the entries and their categories, selecting them, shortlisting them and then judging them. But what really strikes me about this international award is the sheer variety of categories and the number of brands that have all made it to the top list.
To see so many gold, silver and bronze winners is certainly happy news for someone from the industry. I’m also amazed when I wonder how mind boggling it must have been for the Jury to select from among so many vying for the top slots. It is certainly an indication of a healthy competition and a good ref lection of how seriously international brands are taking their retail presence. It also makes me wonder about the Indian scenario. Needless to say, there have been some very good examples of instore visibility initiatives by brands. POPAI India OMA Awards is essentially about recognizing this. But there is still a big room for growth. To begin with, of course we don’t see too many new categories entering the retail visibility fray although everyone today is pretty gung- ho about wooing shoppers and everyone agrees that one of the most obvious ways of tapping them would be at the point of connectivity -- retail. Secondly, the quality of displays.
We are yet to reach a stage where eye catching, classy displays that communicate brand information even as they persuade the shoppers to buy are a regular sight. There are examples, but they are exceptions rather than the norm. It brings me back to the same old questions -- is it that brands just don’t care enough? Is it that they don’t find the right vendors to execute? Is it that the retailer and the retail space are too challenging? This question of course goes back to the first question...May be it’s a mix of all these reasons. But what is the way forward? I would like everyone who has a stake in this whole path to purchase -- whether it’s the brands, the industry, agencies, specialized agencies or anyone else -- to come together, form a community and define excellence. This obviously means thrashing out issues, exploring opportunities, setting up new yardsticks etc. So as a first step, I would certianly like to hear from you regarding your thoughts on this. So please feel free to contact us and share your ideas on how a collective pool of different stake holders can form a community to promote excellence.
Well, moving on, we as usual have some international studies, columns and more for you. They all point to two things- a) Studying the shopper is increasingly becoming more important and b) Technology is the most indispensible tool today to help us woo the shopper. The sooner we explore al its possibilities the better for all concerned.