05 FAB Forum: Insights for the Food and Beverage brands of the future

By Sian Disson (Senior Media Consultant) and Samantha Clark (Media Consultant)

Yesterday a select crowd of top brands, creatives, media and tech experts gathered at Google’s offices in the Renzo Piano-designed Central St Giles in London for the FAB Forum (F&B Marketing Forum), ready to hear from a diverse range of speakers, including: Sohel Aziz, MD at Accenture Interactive; Harry Walker, Industry Head, Retail at Google; Spencer Buck, Creative Partner and Founder, Taxi Studio; and Nils Leonard, Founder of Uncommon.

The FAB Forum is an invite-only event which took place ahead of the 20th FAB Awards held the same evening in London. Sponsored by YouTube, the Forum is designed to shine a light on innovation and thought leadership in the food and beverage industry.

The engaging and informative programme gave attendees a glimpse into the future of the rapidly-evolving retail market and showcased brands that have already begun to overcome the challenges and take up the opportunities these changes present.

Our key learnings included:

  • Consumer expectations are changing. With growth of 120% in online searches for ‘same day shipping’, 56% of mobile site visits being abandoned when a page fails to load after three seconds, and one in three consumers expecting a personalised experience, consumers are now feeling more empowered, and seeking seamless, personalised experiences
  • Let tech do the heavy lifting. 70% of campaign performance is down to Creative. To use this to greatest effect, brands are now harnessing the wealth of data available to them to target specific audiences with more personalised and relevant creative campaigns and are seeing much higher consumer engagement as a result
  • Brands are at risk of becoming irrelevant. Consumers are faced with too much choice, too much content and not enough time, and brands need to cut through this flood of information to establish stronger consumer relationships
  • Smaller brands are seeing more sales growth. Consumers aren’t buying into the status quo, and smaller, nimbler food and beverage players are capturing consumers’ hearts and minds. Whilst the top 25 global brands hold 45% of category sales, they only hold three per cent of total sales growth. The remaining 97% is held by smaller players
  • The woods are burning. Where audiences used to look forward to ad breaks between their favourite shows, now ‘skip ad’ buttons are heavily deployed and streaming services are forcing rapid change in the ad industry. When audiences start paying money to avoid seeing ads, something needs to shift and ad agencies are having to evolve quickly to find new means of reaching their target audiences – whether that means engaging in political conversations or ad agencies becoming their own clients

Retail has always been an area for change but as technology advances and the world becomes more agile, the rules are shifting and consumers are seeking more holistic propositions from brands than ever before. And the brands that harness these new technologies and evolve with their consumers are the ones that will achieve greater success in the long run.

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