You are a CMO in a Fortune 500 brand company. Your aim is to achieve 100% retail brand execution consistency on a global basis. Your objective is to connect your brand through a consistent and compelling customer experience with your desired brand audience in all your priority retail outlet types. Emerging markets are also now a priority.

The problem

Local markets buck the centralised initiatives and do their own thing. Not only do they want to manufacture their retail investment materials locally but they also change the specifications at will. Worse still, they use the materials in unconventional ways and not as they were designed thereby fragmenting the customer Purchase Decision Journey (PDJ) that you so meticulously developed. They always win as they use the argument that they can source their requirements locally at a lower price.

“The 3 rules of marketing; everyone has an opinion, every opinion is different and every opinion is right.”

Their rationale is that the retail landscape in their market is unique and that the customer behaves differently. This is very true. However what happens is that all the insights, learnings and science built up by the company over many, many years and even decades is discarded in a single instant. What you have instead is local designers and POP suppliers trying to come up with new innovations and ideas to help them secure the business, without the marketing understanding of the retail environment.

“To succeed in global retail execution, you need to embed objectivity and science into every decision”.

Where does this leave you?

Well, all those manuals and brand guidelines you developed remain dusty on the shelf or tucked away in a lost folder on some computer. Worse still, not only have you lost control over the customer experience that is being delivered by your brand globally but you probably have no real sight of what markets are actually doing.

I have come across instances where senior marketing directors didn’t even know how much investment was being made by all the markets into global retail brand execution. Not even ballpark, in fact you were probably out by tens of millions of dollars. I should know, I was once one of those directors.

I am sure many of you have tried lots of different initiatives to overcome this challenge and I bet that they have all failed. The problem is that local designers and POP companies will always seek to offer up new “innovative” materials. These are NOT innovative, they are just different, and they have not been suggested based on any meaningful science. By offering up something that is different, they can own the design and then use that to secure the production of the materials at inflated costs. They win business by working against the centralised initiative.

Many companies have tried to overcome this by following a preferred supplier strategy that is then connected to a global catalogue. But this doesn’t address the issue that markets want to source locally.

The answer (and it is simple)

The company needs to switch the emphasis from the supplier to the actual item. If you can gain ownership of the item design, then you have complete flexibility on supply, so markets can then order centrally or arrange local production whilst maintaining the purpose, quality and consistency of the item.

You will need to work more collaboratively with markets but if you follow this process, you can regain full control over global retail brand execution with 100% capture of spend:

  • Agree on priority outlet types
  • Understand the differences across markets
  • Apply shopper marketing science and insights
  • Define customer Purchase Decision Journey (PDJ) for each outlet type
  • Identify the retail investment kit to support each outlet type
  • Develop the designs for all items (whilst ensuring ownership)
  • Develop and test prototypes to ensure fit for purpose
  • Establish detailed technical specifications for each item (toolkit)
  • Enable markets to buy centrally or arrange local production using defined technical specifications
  • Capture any amendments to technical specifications for continuous learning and sharing with all markets

This is exactly what LeanPie enables. For the first time ever, we can help you successfully execute a single global retail brand execution programme.

If you would like more information on how LeanPie can transform your retail fixture and permanent POP supply chain, please feel free to contact David at

Author: Carlos Kassner

Industrial Designer by degree, with manufacturing blood and an engineer soul. Proud father and eager athlete.