SINGAPORE: Brands need to avoid a "pendulum" approach to marketing, where their focus swings between the shopper and consumer, and instead ensure that insights around both are aligned with brand equity, according to a leading industry figure.

Priyadarshini Sharma, international brand director for Premium Brands, Asia at Carlsberg, explained that the brewer had for some time been investing in shopper marketing, as regulatory issues in various Asian markets preclude traditional ATL approaches.

"It's important for us to be able to talk to our consumers in the only forum where we can reach them – in-store," she told Singapore's Marketing magazine.

"You have less than five seconds to intercept a shopper on a mission, hold their attention and close the sale with your message," she noted, which meant looking at the creative development process in a different way.

But Sharma cautioned that putting all one's efforts into shopper marketing could mean missing out on those consumer insights that help build brand affinity.

Brands, she advised, need to have a balance, "keeping in mind how your path-to-purchase works and leveraging the right insights for each touch-point".

And there should be consistency across those touchpoints – she recalled examples of brands seeking to build a premium image in their advertising but then presenting a quite different picture in-store with poor quality executions or excessive discounting.

"The other thing to understand is that consumer and shopper behaviour is not the same thing, even if you're referring to the same person," Sharma said.

So, for example, enlisting the services of a movie star might be ideal for projecting a certain image for a beer, but driving sales at the supermarket requires a little more: "they need a reminder on the price or chilled availability rather than just seeing the movie star on a poster".

Data sourced from Marketing; additional content by Warc staff