Unilever Colombia employs a team of sales reps that reach approximately 140,000 traders on their weekly rounds. Between them they indirectly affect the purchasing decisions of 40 million Colombian consumers, almost the entire population of the country.

Brandtone partnered with Unilever to create the first mobile campaign of its kind to engage traders operating in the independent sales channel, expand their distribution network and build brand loyalty through ongoing mobile communication.

The Brief

The only contact Unilever had with independent store owners was a short visit (5-7 minutes) once a week which was often insufficient to fully articulate their new offers and products. They also knew very little about each store owner’s wants and needs or which of their competitor’s products the stores also stocked.

Unilever sought a suitable solution which would meet their business goals without increasing their go-to-market costs. It was imperative that they achieved this with simple mechanics and clear incentives for both store owners and sales reps.

The objective of this Program was to create a channel between Unilever and these independent store owners to make ongoing interactions more frequent and engaging. They also wanted to create a database of permissioned buyers for further communication.

The Campaign

To maximise the reach and effectiveness of the mobile trade program, Brandtone worked with Unilever’s sales reps to help engage and register their existing independent retail stores.

Once registered, Unilever would be able to communicate directly with the store owners, helping them to gain deep insights into the independent trade channel. The retailer could also stay up to date with exclusive offers available to Program members only, another incentive for taking part.

Once signed up the store owner received targeted SMS messages (no more than two a week) which would inform them about the latest offers and promotions. One of the most successful use of these SMS messages was the ‘bundling’ of various different products (e.g shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser) into one package and offering up to 30% off when these products were bought as part of this bundle. This helped to increase drop sizes and also to introduce the retailer to products they may not have previously considered.

The ongoing incentive for the sales reps was the saving of time spent in each store. Store owners were now aware of the deals on offer before the sales rep arrived, meaning store visiting times were cut down significantly.

The Results

  • Sales increase of 10%
  • Registration of 90% of ‘mom and pop’ stores
  • 66,000 Permissioned Trader Profiles, Permission rate of 99%
  • Increase in assortment from 7 to 9 products across key lines