Building Brand Salience On The Shelf

Case Study

Building Brand Salience On The Shelf

Most decisions are made on the shop-shelf. This is especially true of the highly competitive modern trade retail in the UAE where each brand needs all the ammunition it can get to stand out and be picked up by the consumer.
Problem Definition Solution Description Results

Zarah offered a large bouquet of food staples to consumers in the UAE through hyper/supermarket chains as also the neighbourhood store. The brand operated like a branded-commodity with rice, pulses, sugar, whole & powdered spices, honey, nuts, dates, canned food, olive & sunflower oils available at a mid-market price – essentially a ‘best value’ proposition. However, the brand had grown opportunistically in the width and depth of products basis the requests from the retail partners. Consequently, the efforts went into sourcing at a competitive rate to make sure that price was not a barrier to listing or offtake. The packaging was inconsistent and therefore did not allow the brand to take advantage of its placement across multiple shelves, nor was it able to attract consumers to expand their use by selling in the other categories it was available in. Further, the brand was present in niche product categories that were specific to the needs of a diverse audience, like Emiratis & expat Arabs, Filipinos, and people from the Indian subcontinent.



In order to initiate the marketing intervention, we spoke to the key stakeholders across the value chain of the product – sales managers, procurement, warehouse staff, merchandisers, purchase managers at retail customers and some consumers to find out their perception of the brand. This allowed us to define our focus consumer by capturing the specific need-gap we can occupy in a crowded and competitive market. We then worked closely with the Pune (India) based award winning packaging design specialist agency, Elephant Design, in developing initial concepts. These concepts were then refined through competitive analysis across categories and a series of market visits and stakeholder interventions till we finalised a specific design with the brand and business teams. Thereafter, the implementation of the design across the 150+ labels and laminate was supervised through an in-house designer in a phased manner over a period of 6 months to ensure that the existing laminate or labels were used up at the earliest before introducing the new ones.


The brand took advantage of the much-improved on-pack branding and the stronger shelf throw to negotiate better terms with key retail partners. The renewed packaging imbued freshness and this resulted in an improved offtake in key categories and led to a perceptible rise in the offtake in categories / SKUs where the brand was not very strong. In the case of some outlets of chains like Sharjah Coop, Union Coop and Carrefour, the brand saw an upsurge in consumer offtake by more than 20% YoY that led to an increase in orders from the retail chains some of whom also introduced categories that the brand had been absent from.


Project Details

  • SME
  • Marketing Services
  • Vikram Sivaramakrishnan
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