MSYS message gets to millions

All the results from NID have been evaluated and they show that this year’s event was the most effective to date. Following on from the launch in 2004, and follow-up in 2005, more suppliers, wholesalers and independent retailers than ever participated in NID, as the industry slowly but surely comes aware of the trading and footfall potential of MSYS.

Meeting on a day of record high temperatures, members of the PR Action Group (PRAG) heard reports from Nexus, its PR consultants, and IMA Group, the marketing agency, and wholesalers on NID activity.

MSYS is the only generic consumer public relations and trade marketing campaign supporting the independent retailer in existence. It is a crucial activity. With a higher level of promotional involvement and media usage of the MSYS message than ever before, the 2006 campaign leading up to and including NID on June lst was judged to be a greater success than ever.

This success is due to the strong support and recognition of the fundamentals of the campaign which are completely positive – MSYS is not an anti-superstore activity.

Departing from the hue and cry of the anti-Tesco lobby (why duplicate and use valuable energy in this direction?) the campaign reminds the consumer of the value of the sole trader and family business to the local community.

Simultaneously, MSYS also inspires the independent retail sector – the wholesale industry’s core customers – to maximise the trading opportunities arising from involvement in community activities.

Hard-nosed members of PRAG wanted to know how the Daily Mirror/Daily Record money-off coupon promotion on 10 major brands had worked. Manufacturers retain confidential information on the performance of promotional activities to their own people, but no negatives were reported.

What about the media activity? Nexus reported on how 53 items of coverage had been achieved with an estimated “opportunities to see” totalling 70 million. This would calculate down to an estimated 20 million “hits” on the consumer audience.

ADDED VALUE

PRAG members now believe that the “David and Goliath” media approach – the small local independent fighting for survival against the giant superstore – has been over-exposed and has little inherent news value currently.

What has news value of interest to the local and regional media – radio, TV and print – is the way in which the independent retailer can bring added value to his local community by acting as a focal point in that community.

In contrast to the superstore satellite c-store, where the manager quite rightly has to adhere to an agenda set down by a distant corporate head office, the local independent who owns the business sets their own local agenda based on local issues, local trading and local opportunities. Trade papers reported a big increase in participation in NID by retailers. Increases in sales on NID were quoted, bringing into focus the objective of the campaign, which is to increase footfall in local shops.

To reach this objective, consumers are reminded of the true importance of the independent retailer – c-store and newsagent – as outlets where the owner knows their customers will engage in conversation if required and will provide a level of service and community responsibility which is irreplaceable.

Support for MSYS by major wholesalers reached a new level. Booker, Bestway, Costco Wholesale, Landmark, Nisa-Today’s, Musgrave Londis Budgens and Parfetts were high profile MSYS activists for NID 06.

CHALLENGE

How can PRAG build on the learnings achieved since the launch of MSYS in 2004? The challenge is to bring an all-the-year-round perspective to MSYS in order to maintain the momentum that has been won since launch.

Ideas are in the pipeline from PRAG which can claim to be the most creative and constructive cross-industry body working in the trade today. A bigger database of case studies of retailers who use MSYS successfully is required. Media training is vital – it was successfully used this year to help independents to become accustomed to using local media opportunities.

Nexus believes, from its professional experience in PR work for similar generic activities, that NID has now become established as an annual event with the media who are now aware that it will come around every year on June lst (which falls on a Friday in 2007).

With media interest waning on the story based simply on small shops struggling for survival, new ways of winning time and space on radio, TV and in the press are being planned.

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=== key campaign facts ===

l For NID 2006 wholesalers and suppliers purchased nearly 30,000 MSYS leaflets and posters for their company use.

l They bought more than 6,000 shelf talkers plus CDs to be played over depot audio facilities.

l They purchased over 6,000 balloons and T-shirts and nearly 6,000 window stickers.

l In addition and in response to requests from individual retailers, more than 4,000 T-shirts were despatched to independents by IMA Group.

l A total of 20,000 balloons and 4,000 MSYS caps were despatched by IMA to retailers together with 20,000 shelf talkers and 4,000 large window posters.

l The special May 26 Daily Mirror/Daily Record editorial and money-off coupon feature reached more than six million readers combined.

l Trade press coverage of the campaign exceeded that for any other similar sector activity in recent trade history.

l Over 20 million consumers were reached through the regional and local PR campaign.

l The Evening Standard newspaper covering London and the Home Counties gave generous coverage to the campaign prior to and on the eve of NID.

l Training sessions launched by MSYS on how to use media opportunities proved to be a major innovation for the industry.

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