Highlights from IGNITE March 2024

Key takeaways and learnings from Kantar's latest IGNITE event.

08 April 2024
Kantar IGNITE event - Ignite your brand growth

In the beautiful Royal Institute of British Architects, as a pianist tinkled on the ivories, over 300 clients filtered in to join us for a day of inspiration, amazing outfits (courtesy of our legendary host Jodie Gillary, Head of Client Impact) and good humour at Ignite 2024.

We were joined by a number of guest speakers, including Cadbury, Guinness, Oatly, Kraft Heinz and Electrolux who all kindly gave their words of wisdom and views on how to “architect our way to brand growth” (you can thank our EMEA CEO Gonzalo for that fabulous pun!)

The sessions focused on three accelerators for brand growth –predispose more people, be more present, and find new space, and gave practical and engaging examples of how to do this against a backdrop of a tough economic climate and an ever more fragmented media market.

Jodie Gillary at IGNITE March 2024

Predispose more people

How to stack the odds in your favour by focusing on the perceptions of your brand as meaningfully different.

Guinness and Cadbury provided us with very different examples of how they have expertly predisposed more people to their brands over recent years. Guinness favours simplicity over all else, with Anna MacDonald, Guinness Marketing Director, explaining the power Guinness has of the product and brand being so closely paired. The serve is a key brand asset (KBA) and has been such a simple but effective consistent image for their advertising. Unlike most food and drink brands, Guinness and Cadbury are so strong here, they don’t have to show actual consumption in their ads to be effective.

Consistency is something that’s really important to hone in on. As Marketing Directors and CMOs are under constant pressure for quicker returns and new news, it can be tempting to shake things up, but brands like Guinness and Cadbury show that consistently showing up in a way that is authentic to the brand and meaningful to consumers is the way you strongly predispose them.

Guinness, at IGNITE March 2024

But consistency doesn’t mean standing still. Anna openly shared how the brand moved from the idea of the perfect pint to the playful pint to ensure Guinness stayed culturally relevant for today’s consumers, with the idea of perfection waning in favour in recent years, for a more real, lived experience.

Whilst cultural relevance is important, many of our panellists and speakers also warned of the danger of purpose when thinking about brand positioning. Anna added that we have “runaway with purpose” and overcomplicated it all. Actually, for Guinness to be meaningful it “didn’t need to save the world” it just needed to be tasty, high quality, and evoke positive emotions-a simple and pragmatic approach strongly echoed by Oatly CCO, John Schoolcraft.

And on the subject of emotions, you couldn’t get more emotional than Cadbury. With its heartwarming theme of generosity baked into all that it does, Gemma Flanigan, Marketing Director for Cadbury, shared their wonderful journey and how Mondelez has really looked back into the archives for inspiration of where to play and ensured this golden thread is weaved into every piece of comms. Very much like Guinness, the “glass and a half” narrative and image, along with the purple, has become synonymous with Cadbury. So much so that in 2019 they removed all the wording on their pack altogether in a campaign supporting Age UK, such was the power of the purple and the glass/milk imagery.

Once again Cadbury shows an example of a brand succeeding by an enduring focus on the same core stance, look and messaging, and examples from over the decades were shown to illustrate how staying true to your brand, and not jumping onto any new fad or theme, builds such strong emotional resonance and predisposition with consumers. From their printed advertising to their initiatives like the Easter Hunt and Secret Santa…the theme of generosity and iconic purple remains strong. No mean feat as the fragmentation of media touchpoints continues.

Cadbury and VCCP at Ignite March 2024


Be more present

Capturing consumer choices in the moments that matter

Next up we heard from Fraser McKevitt from Kantar Worldpanel, demonstrating perfectly that when we combine what people think and feel with what they do (the power of Kantar brand work plus Kantar Worldpanel) the real magic happens. Using data that goes beyond EPOS –capturing people not buying from you, or never buying from you as well as purchasers –Fraser took us through his five top tips around presence and how not to fail at that critical purchase moment:

  1. Availability
    Every time your category is purchased, are you available as an option? Category presence drives penetration exponentially in FMCG and if you stand still, you’re actually going backwards due to the increasingly different ways consumers now shop.

  2. The right price point
    The number one brand often sits bang in the middle of the price distribution curve –middle of the road isn’t always so boring!

  3. Range
    The best performing brands have the most SKUs. In fact, the brand which leads in three out of four cases has twice the number of SKUs than the number two.

  4. Shopping mission
    We know how and where people shop varies dramatically depending on mission, but what they buy can also vary in terms of types of brand, size, volume, the price they will pay and also the type of shopper –and so it’s vital you range and target appropriately.

  5. Promotion
    We often hear about the promotion spiral, but it’s not always a bad thing to have offers. Well-timed and executed promotions can secure you key shelf space, help elevate a new line and, if your sales increase (especially if timed with an effective ad campaign), can help you negotiate extra SKUs with the retailer.

Why you need more SKUs to be a bigger brand - IGNITE March 2024

Find new space

Redefining the business you are in to find new growth

Sometimes you’ve just got to look elsewhere for the answer and in this final part of the day, we heard all about how to innovate to find growth.

Helen Edwards, author of ‘From Marginal to Mainstream’, summarised the key findings of her book and research with Kantar to show how, against a backdrop of declining brand innovation and the high potential for failure, you can assess the marginal behaviours of today which might become the mainstream growth areas of tomorrow.

Helen walked us through her eight lenses through which to view any marginal behaviour –helping you establish where the opportunity lies. Including two vital to brands: resistance and dilution. Is the mainstream resistance emotional or practical? If practical, what can brands do to make trial easier?

You can find out more about these eight lenses either through the soon-to-be-released Videos on Demand from Ignite, or by purchasing Helen Edwards ‘From Marginal to Mainstream’ book here.

Helen Edwards at IGNITE March 2024
Helen ended by explaining that the marginal behaviours today that may seem extreme or odd (drinking your own wee anyone?), are only going to get bigger as we see three big changes in our society:

Social media: It’s easier for people to hear about marginal behaviour.

Streaming services: Lifestyle programmes are often the cheapest to produce, with viral documentaries giving a spotlight to these marginal behaviours.

Demographics: Gen Z are more experimental, and open than previous generations, showing a real willingness to try new things.

(We would also add new virtual spaces in here too, as Camille Denis from Kraft Heinz talked about their partnership with Fornite. With AI and gaming increasingly gaining in popularity, the opportunities for product placement and different behavioural stories are endless.)

A packed day, with lots of ideas and advice to help any brand, in any category, drive breakthrough growth.

Keep your eyes peeled as we announce Ignite October 2024 later in the year!

If you or anyone in your team missed our event or you would like to find out more from the highlights or how Kantar can help drive breakthrough brand growth, please get in touch with one of your friendly Kantar contacts.