Another Grocery Aisle Reinvention. Can Dole Pull It Off?

Many have been trying to reinvent center-store and there have been several presentations on dairy aisle reinvention. I’m familiar with someone looking at the meat case and I’m sure there are others. But even after a number of years of work, I’m not hearing anyone claim victory in any of those efforts. Now, here comes another reinvention; this time in the produce department. Will this one go any better? There are several things to consider before you place any bets. We got some of the indicators today at the Shopper Insights in Action conference sponsored by IIR USA.

Dole’s Leadership & Talent

First, has the category leader put top talent on the initiative? Well, this one has CarrieAnn Arias, Director of Shopper Marketing at Dole Fresh Vegetables and her accomplice James Sorensen, Senior Vice President at TNS Retail & Shopper. Dole is the category leader and these two people represent top talent so put a check mark in that box.

Dole’s Process for Insights to Activation

Next, you’d expect them to leverage a robust process. Here’s what they’ve got in this category (you decide but I’d put a check in this box too):

  1. Organizational Alignment – Identify hypothesis, needs gaps
  2. Retailer Engagement – To get them on board
  3. InsightsPathtracking, Eyetracking, Exit Interviews, Qualitative Interviews
  4. Activation Workshop – An internal workshop to identify both short and long term opportunities based on the insights work in #3
  5. Share & Activate – Share with retailers and co-develop action plans to implement

Collaborate for Mutually Beneficial Implementation

This is essentially #5 in the process above which is where Dole finds itself at this point in time. It’s the hard part. The individual cultures of every retailer and Dole are in play and culture is very difficult to change. This is where the skill sets which get a reinvention successfully through the first four steps in the process shift dramatically. Smarts and analytics give way to leadership, collaboration and change management. This is where other efforts have stalled. This is where Dole is now. Before you put a check mark in this box, it would be good to find out if Dole has the change management talent needed to make this step happen. I know where I’m placing my bets. Do you?