OND is not an old Norse term for the mystical Odic force as Google suggests – especially if you are a physical consumer product brand builder. It stands for the three most important months of the retail selling year: October, November, and December. The highest volume of sales in most of the categories takes place during OND. In some categories it’s SOND, to include September.
Retailers plan for OND all year. This means that savvy brand builders who want to get OND displays present their proposals as early as possible. They also need to take into account that in most cases, retailers will not entertain any new brands during these three prized months. OND planning is locked up many months in advance.
If, over the past year, your branded consumer product has gained the reputation as a “hot mover” in a particular store, that may qualify you to make a presentation of your product as a multiple unit floor stack during OND. Your presentation must incorporate some kind of holiday trade dress or decoration in the display. But first you must earn these privileges with shelf sales!
We were successful with multiple-cases OND displays because we offered holiday merchandising materials, adding to the store’s décor for each holiday. We had “Boo Foot for Hallowine” – a giant pumpkin with a foot carved out of it. Then we swapped it out for a googly-eyed turkey that said, “I’ll go quietly if you serve Barefoot!” We swapped that out for “Merlot Ho Ho!” for Christmas, followed by “Kick off the New Year with Barefoot!”
But it wasn’t the cute catch phrases that got us the displays. It was the empathy we demonstrated for the retailer who did not want to get stuck with unsold inventory at the end of OND. By breaking the OND selling period down into 4 separate display motifs for the same three to four-month display, the retailers knew that we appreciated their predicament and would watch the volume like a hawk.
Every week we would monitor the displays to make sure what ever did not sell at Halloween was rebranded to Thanksgiving, and so on. We made sure our product was replenished and our marketing materials were updated in a timely manner, keeping the store looking festive. Retailers gave us the displays because we put ourselves in their shoes. Ultimately, demonstrating empathy for the retailer‘s fear of being stuck with overstock is the most compelling selling point to achieve this coveted display space.
And why is it so coveted? Because the easiest way to build your physical product brand is in a big display. Shoppers can hardly miss seeing your labels multiplied in the display. They become a virtual billboard for you brand. And all this happens when the store has the most traffic. And now this traffic is “tripping” over your brand! Think your brand will get noticed? You bet! But winning an OND display requires a multifaceted approach including advance timing, clever planning, added value and strict inventory control.
It also takes a comprehensive strategy in each and every store where you focus on improving your off-the-shelf sales during the year so your retail buyer can justify taking a chance on your brand. We advise our clients who are building brands to take this long-term view with the end game win of an OND display!
Happy Holidays to all you Brand Builders! See you on the floor next year in OND!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders