I will start this installment in my series on the Tardigrade traits by letting you in on a bit of a secret. While we industry folk love to talk about channel strategy, our shoppers don’t care about it at all.
The average human doesn’t wake up thinking, today I will shop in the natural channel. Tonight, on my way home, I will spend a little time in mass, and on my couch tonight, I will enjoy some DTC time. What humans do is just buy stuff.
Tardigrades recognize that channels don’t exist in the real world. Instead, they see that shoppers flow up and down a continuum from discovery to replenishment. Their job is to find places along that continuum to best reach the shopper and impact their purchasing decisions.
I’ve written about this before and will refer you to the mechanics by suggesting you read this article. I will spend the rest of this on why optimizing the shopper continuum is fundamental to being a successful Tardigrade brand.
Tardigrades relish simplicity, and along this path, there are only two activities at play. The first is discovery, and the second is replenishment. When people shop, they either purchase what they already use and trust or hunt for something to solve a problem or meet a need. It is no more complicated than that.
Most brands spend too much of their money, time and effort at the wrong places on the continuum. They rush to the edges where everybody else is, only to find their voices diffused and their message fuzzy.
When a brand figures out how best to meet its shopper, sales results are better, more capital-efficient and come much sooner. You cannot underestimate the importance of being effective in the two key activities of discovery and replenishment.
Tardigrades, by nature, are contrarian. They don’t rush to the edges. Instead, they’ll search for the quiet, less crowded places closer to the middle, where they can own that space. Their voices ring loud, and their message is clear as a bell.
Driving purchase intent is the hardest and often most expensive of all the things that must happen to effectively build a successful brand. It is also where the most costly mistakes are made, either of moving too fast or staying too long.
The Tardigrade traits come together like in Tetris. Each block supports the other. You can’t optimize the shopper continuum unless you’ve run growth hack experiments that confirm you’re in the right place. You can’t run growth hack experiments if you don’t start with a growth hypothesis that you can test and measure.
If you do all three, you are bound to find those quiet, undiscovered niches along the road between discovery and replenishment, where your brand can set up camp and connect with shoppers. If you can do that and you have the right product at the right price with a compelling message, you’re going to succeed. While those on the edges are jumping up and down screaming, “pick me, pick me,” your brand will consistently and efficiently be discovered and repurchased. That is the Tardigrade way.
Elliot Begoun is the Principal of The Intertwine Group, a practice focused on helping emerging food and beverage brands grow.