Get on Shelf: How Data Elevates a Sell Story

November 14, 2022
by SPINS Marketing

Data Can Bring Your Brand’s Narrative to Life

A sell story can transform a business. It can get you stocked in your first retailer, earn you more shelf space, help you break into a new market, or ease the transition from direct-to-consumer to retail. In that conversation with a retailer, you have a unique opportunity to give dimension to your brand and its products. To make that happen, you need to create a compelling narrative that is rooted in data.

No Two Sell Stories Are Identical

The goal of a sell story is to bring your brand and your product’s potential to life. That means your sell story is unique and won’t work for any other brand—nor would theirs work for you. Rather than approach your story with a checklist of required data points, focus on the questions you need to answer, such as:

  • Who are you pitching to?
  • How does your brand or product align with the retailer’s brand?
  • What does your category look like?
  • How is your product or products like it performing?
  • How are competitors performing?
  • What attributes are driving growth?
  • Where is the success story within the data?

As you start to answer those questions, let the data show you what’s happening and what components make up your story. That’s when you’ll begin to see how to connect the story of your brand, the retailer, and your shared audience with sales figures and market insights.

Data Creates a Single Source of Truth

A retailer can be moved by your motives for going into business and agree with your mission, but they need quantifiable proof that your products have an audience and the potential to help sales. Bringing data into your story lets you illustrate—literally in charts, graphs, spreadsheets, etc.—your business case. Now, you both have the same reference points, whether that’s category growth, velocity, or any other data you present. It’s proven, not just anecdotal.

Data Keeps the Story Moving

At the end of the day, a sell story is like any other story: It needs to keep your audience’s attention. You don’t usually have much time when you’re speaking with retailers—and in many cases this is your first impression—so you need to make every moment count. From the number of slides in your presentation to the data points you include, every part of your story should build your case for working with the retailer. When you make a claim, for example, you want to support it with data. If you can’t, then adjust your story to reflect the strengths that the data is showing you. With the right data partner, you have access to a wealth of information and insights that allow you to uncover the compelling narrative your business is telling.

A Data Partner Brings the Story Together

A good data partner understands your business, from your origin to your goals. With that lens, they can explore the data with you, guide you to the best talking points, and uncover insights you might have otherwise missed. They are dedicated to finding the story that will position you for a successful retail meeting and long-term success.

For example, the frozen entrees category was suffering from negative dollar growth, and the sole culprit was the brand leader in market share who was experiencing distribution issues. That revelation opened the door to challengers to come in and stake their claim. The SPINS team was working with an emerging plant-based brand in this space and used those market insights to build their sell story:

  • SPINS dove into category data to discover what opportunities would arise if the market leader was absent. They identified the trending cuisine styles, packaging, and size formats, and labeled attributes (e.g., Non-GMO and Organic) that resonate with consumers. They directed them on which markets would be most receptive to these products.
  • The emerging brand then had a persuasive narrative that proved its potential to be a disruptor with a data-based strategy behind it.
  • The brand launched in multiple retailers and is now the #1 fastest-growing brand in the Natural Channel.

Get the SPINS Liftoff Bundle

SPINS understands that emerging brands need not only data but also support to make sense of it and maximize its potential. That’s why expert consulting is part of the SPINS Liftoff Bundle by default. Emerging brands have a limited budget and even more limited time to wade through data. SPINS experts walk you through the data and discuss areas of interest so you can make informed decisions that put you on a path to growth. Learn more about the SPINS Liftoff Bundle.