SymphonyIRI Group rebrands as IRi, commits to supporting CPG growth around the globe

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — No longer will the SymphonyIRI Group crunch data for the betterment of consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies everywhere, the company’s president and CEO Andrew Appel told a packed conference room at the data aggregator’s 2013 Summit here.

At least not as SymphonyIRI Group. Appel announced that the Chicago-based firm will be rebranded IRi. "IRi is back!" Appel exclaimed. "Activating your growth engine is our mission and why we are here," he said. "We aim to become the best company in the world in guiding [CPG] growth."

Companies that can be fast and nimble in going to market, fueled by real-time, fluid data are the companies that will succeed going forward. And the newly branded IRi aims to help its clients realize that growth. In fact, that was the conference theme: "Activate Your Growth Engine."

Traditional sales data captured at the point of sale still will be relevant, but marketers who can bring those data points to life through data cultivated beyond the checkstand will be enabled to drive the most growth. "Digital and social media continue to explode and influence a customer’s path to purchase," Appel said. "Each of these touchpoints are just another opportunity," he said, to influence the purchase decision, another opportunity to convert a high-value shopper into a loyal consumer. 

"We have an unprecedented opportunity as a group to create clarity out of this chaos and regain control of the conversation," Appel said. "To do this we have to evolve. We must evolve market research from being seen as a cost center to being seen as a growth engine." Because harnessing the power of robust, rich and fluid data will separate the winners from the losers over the next five years, Appel added. 

As part of IRi’s brand transformation, Appel made four promises: 

  1. Transform the inside function so that marketers spend "most of our time looking forward proactively" as opposed to looking at historic data to inform reactive decision making;

  2. Deliver growth through a collection of end to end, technology-enabled growth solutions and capabilities that support the marketing core processes. "We will be a leader of big data for growth for CPG.";

  3. Develop analysts over analysis. "Technology is not replacing us," Appel said. "At the end of the day it is the people .. that have to use this data [and] understand the [imperatives] and drive to action."; and

  4. Expand globally. "For many of the companies here today, much of your growth lies outside the [mature markets]," Appel said. "We will expand with you. For us it starts with China." The CPG industry is expected to grow from $8 trillion to $12 trillion in the very near future. China will account for $1.7 trillion out of that $4 trillion growth.

IRi will look to augment its static POS data aggregation with "liquid data," real-time data from a number of sources that can inform real-time decisions. IRi’s liquid data capabilities has generated 12 million reports to date, driving an increase performance by five times. The database taps into datapoints from as many as 40 countries. IRi will be rolling out a mobile platform over the next six months. "The liquid modeling platform allows you to drive on-demand analytics," Appel said. 

Appel likened IRi’s strategy to what Apple has successfully done in creating its robust app business — create a base platform and open the code to other companies. "We, IRi, are open for partnership," Appel announced. "From today forward we will aspire to be a hub of innovation; to be a catalyst [to drive growth]."

IRi recently embarked upon four new partnerships, Appel noted. IRi now is partnered with Boston Consulting Group, one of two leading global strategy firms that will help shape a report on the momentum of CPG companies that are winning in the marketplace." IRi’s exclusive data aggregation deal with Costco Wholesale is now being powered by the firm’s liquid platform, generating real-time data with sales data from the previous day. The program also has been expanded to Mexico, Appel said. 

IRi also partners with convenience channel powerhouse 7-Eleven on what will be the first peek into a convenience operator’s marketbasket. That data collection also will be powered by IRi’s liquid data platform. IRi also partners with Bluekai, which utilizes a enterprise data activation platform to better understand the impact of marketing both online and offline. 

And IRi continues to work with Google on an extensive new pilot on activiation and measurement, linking IRi’s POS with Google’s geotargeting engine, Appel said. 


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Redesigning skin care for Millenials

BY Antoinette Alexander

This ain’t your mother’s Olay. That’s essentially the message that the long-standing skin care brand is sending to women in their 20s with its new Fresh Effects collection that hit shelves in January with a new, innovative approach to in-store shelving. To learn more about this unprecedented launch for Olay, Drug Store News talked with Janine Miletic, associate marketing director for Olay Global.

DSN: What is the importance of the Olay Fresh Effects launch?

Janine Miletic: As we were doing a lot of analysis and understanding and looking at trends, overall, we thought that it was really important for us to be able to launch a new line for skin care going after younger consumers. There seemed like there was a big gap in opportunity to really speak to Millennials in their own voice with products designed for them. These are women who are out of their acne years; and they are not teenagers anymore, but they are not ready for wrinkle cream. … As we started to do some of that research, we also felt like the part of that that was really going to be critical to make sure that she understood the lineup and she also understood what was right for her was we wanted to make sure that the packaging [and] naming of the products really spoke to her … and had the tone of voice she actually speaks in, in addition to having it shelved in the store where she is currently shopping.

DSN: How is Olay helping consumers navigate this new collection, which is generally being shelved in the complexion vs. skin care section at retail?

Miletic: We wanted to make sure we were giving our retailers some tools and assets they could use to help her navigate when she gets to the shelf, so we have provided some different shelf-talker vehicles, as well as in-store tools like shelf fixtures to help make sure she can find the line if she hears about it on TV, online or from friends. When she goes into the store, there’s a lot of signage opportunity to direct her right to the right place so it is easy to find.

DSN: Why are Millennials such an attractive target market for Olay, and what is the spending power of this group?

Miletic: We have pulled some research that shows that because of the significant [number] of women in the 18- to 34-year-old age range, their expected spending force is about $65 billion on consumer packaged goods. … We don’t have exact figures on what they are spending on beauty, but we know that they are indexing much higher on beauty products in general, going across cosmetics, skin, perfume, etc.

DSN: Tell me about the specific formulas of the new 6-SKU Fresh Effects line.

Miletic: We wanted to start to get younger consumers into a regimen that makes sense for her. Cleansing is generally where she is starting from today, so we wanted to make sure that we were offering really solid, good cleansers for different skin types. We went with a formula that was really about exfoliating, in addition to having one that helps minimize shine. … We also introduced a brand-new device called the Va-Va-Vivid cleansing system device that is really designed to amplify significantly how clean her skin is going to be. … We also wanted to add a cleansing wipe, which is perfect for her lifestyle. … We wanted to also have two different [moisturizers] — one that is a great, light-feeling lotion, which has a great hydrating feel and is not heavy … in addition to a couple of BB creams.


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Amazon launches online health, wellness store

BY Antoinette Alexander

SEATTLE — Online retailer Amazon has announced the launch of its new 50+ Active and Healthy Living Store, which features hundreds of thousands of nutrition, wellness, exercise and fitness, medical, personal care, beauty, entertainment items and more — all in a single destination for customers in the 50-plus years age range.

The store, located at, will feature detailed product information, images, customer reviews, best sellers, recommendations and a Resource Center with tips on beauty, healthy eating, caregiving and various other topics to help customers discover products that are right for them.

"We’re excited to offer customers in the 50+ age range a place to easily discover hundreds of thousands of items that promote active and healthy living. This is a destination where a customer can purchase anything from vitamins and blood pressure monitors to skin care items and books on traveling the world," stated Chance Wales, director of beauty and health and personal care for Amazon. "Our goal is to offer great prices on a vast selection of items and a robust Resource Center filled with tips on everything from boosting brain power to care-giving."

Visitors to Amazon’s 50+ Active and Healthy Living Store will find a selection of items in the following categories:

  • Nutrition & Wellness: Vitamins and supplements, nutritional drinks and bars, etc.;

  • Exercise & Fitness: Activity monitors, videos on active living, exercise equipment, athletic apparel, etc.;

  • Health Care: Diabetes-management items, OTC medicines, first aid items, etc.;

  • Medical Supplies: Blood-pressure monitors, daily living aids, mobility aids, etc.;

  • Incontinence: Briefs and underwear, pads and guards, cleansers, furniture protection, etc.;

  • Personal Care: Men’s grooming needs, oral care, hair loss items, feminine care, etc.; 

  • Beauty: Skin care, bath and body items, fragrance, cosmetics, etc.;

  • Travel & Leisure: Travel guides, travel bags, toiletries, etc.; and

  • Entertainment: Books, audio books, video, etc.


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