Brand Innovators 2023 Outlook: CPG

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In the second installment of our new 2023 Outlook Series, Brand Innovators talks to CPG CMOs and marketing leaders for insights into what to expect next year, and how the category will innovate.

CPG ad spend has been increasing in the past two years and this spend is expected to continue into 2023. CPG ad spend is expected to increase to $36 billion dollars, up from $30.5 billion in 2021, according to eMarketer.

“During the pandemic, consumers sought comfort with the familiar,” said Linda Lee, chief marketing officer, meals & beverages at Campbell Soup Company. “As we move into an endemic, our itch for discovery and mobility returns but is limited with tighter wallets.  Consumers will continue to reach for the familiar, the sure thing, but will seek for a twist, a bit of discovery and experience at home that offers the best value.”

As inflation has caused consumers to tighten their spending, the competition will be fierce for brands to get noticed by consumers.

Josh Blacksmith, senior director of global consumer relationships & engagement at Kimberly-Clark said that “More than ever, they are seeking simplicity in their lives. At the same time, we see the continued fragmentation of the media landscape, and I’d predict that CPG brands will have an increasing need to drive ease and convenience in key moments to generate meaningful impact and avoid getting lost in the clutter.” 

“Overall, this will push those in the CPG sector to create relevance through meaningful and connected consumer experiences – enabling brands to create value for consumers that extends well beyond a product’s functional attributes,” Blacksmith continued. “I foresee another exciting year ahead that’s fueled by continued advances in data accessibility and connectivity, AI/ML journey-based technologies, and agile creative capabilities.”

How brands show up is more important than ever. “‘Content is king’ will become ‘context is king—’ consumer empathy will be more important than ever as economic pressures impact every household,” said Liz Caselli-Mechael, head of digital and content at Nestle. “Marketers will need to deeply understand how those pressures are impacting the consumer experience and raise the bar on delivering true value and connection in that context.”

Shopping behaviors changed during the pandemic and online grocery shopping is not going anywhere. “Remote work, at some capacity, is here to stay. We think that will continue to mean more opportunities to cook from home and purchase through ecommerce,” said Jill Pratt, chief marketing officer at McCormick. “We’re focused on providing intuitive recipes and tips that meet people where they are from a time and comfort level in the kitchen. We also are focusing on increasing and improving our ecommerce and DTC offerings to offer that added level of convenience.”

“Our teams are really leaning into TikTok, with varied strategies that hit the right tone for our McCormick, Frank’s RedHot, OLD BAY, and Cholula brand fans,” she continued. “For years we heard about how the human attention span was shorter than a goldfish. TikTok has found a way to engage users – they’re spending the most time in this app, willing to view increasingly longer video formats, and reporting that they’ve been influenced to purchase. 

Consumers will continue to seek CPG products based on taste and health. “Consumers will continue to prioritize their health and wellness in really dynamic and exciting ways – but the state of the US consumer will remain complex. Danone has a broad portfolio of nutritious (and delicious) foods and beverages, but we need to understand the unique value they can offer to consumers, and how shoppers are assessing value differently in a climate of economic uncertainty,” said Linda Bethea, head of marketing at Danone. “Consumer value includes price, but also factors like taste, ingredient quality and nutrition. Success in today’s evolving and complex environment requires deep consumer understanding along with agility to provide value across the spectrum.”

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