FMBE Brand Ambassador of the Year – Chris Skelding x Innocent

30 Nov,2022

The winners of the Field Marketing & Brand Experience Awards 2022, bringing together the brightest and best in field marketing and campaign management in the UK, were recently announced, and it was our best year yet – taking home two gold, two silver and one bronze award in the five categories that we entered.

As part of this incredible haul, we were over the moon to confirm that Tactical’s very own, Chris Skelding, took home gold in the Brand Ambassador of the Year Award – and we’re soo proud that we wanted to share what impressed the judges so much…

The only way is up

Chris Skelding has worked at Tactical Solutions for over five years. During this time, he’s held the positions of Territory Sales Manager, Management Executive and Regional Sales Manager. In December 2020, Chris was promoted to National Account Manager for the Innocent solus team with the primary objective of driving collaboration between the Innocent commercial team, field team and wider Tactical Solutions business.

During his time in role, Chris has demonstrated a relentless passion for personal development, which is evident when looking at his progress developing the Innocent channel. From attending Innocent’s commercial meetings, utilising access to LinkedIn learning modules, completing apprenticeships and internal training academies – Chris never turns down a challenge and takes his learnings and utilises it to further support his work with Innocent.

Championing the team

Chris has proven himself to be an indispensable member of the team who takes full ownership of the Innocent channel. He’s improved the working relationship between the field team and the client, and has taken the relationship with Innocent to a whole new level.

Innocent is more than a consumer drinks brand, they’re actively involved in using their business as a force for good. It’s important that the field team embodies these behaviours and values, so that it translates into store. Chris provides full training, called ‘innocentification’, to each team member on the Innocent account. This enables the team to understand more about the brand they work for, what they stand for and ultimately convey what Innocent are doing to instore to customers and why they should choose them over other brands.

Shopper marketing activity is key for Innocent to deliver the marketing message to their drinkers, which includes events such as ‘The Big Knit’, which raises money for Age UK, and more recently ‘The Big Rewild’, aimed at supporting Innocents’ carbon neutral journey. Landing these events, outside of head office, is key to ensuring a solid ROI. POS activation, compliance and ensuring the field team are up to speed, and can talk up these events with instore customers is an integral role Chris plays in ensuring these events come to life. Chris has regular touch points with Shopper Marketing, Category, and the Commercial team to update how activity is progressing, along with providing recommendations for any future activity.

This additional training allows the team to feel part of something bigger. Chris is passionate about ensuring that the whole team are more than just instore representatives of the brand, they are an extension of the brand, bringing it to life for Innocent’s drinkers and customers!

Making a difference

Chris is instrumental in delivering team training and takes ownership of the training calendar, including tactical elements of delivering the role to supporting the team’s wider development:

  • Diversity & Inclusion training
  • Innocent brand, value, and culture training
  • Delivering the brand instore (data led training)
  • Regular team 1-2-1’s to discuss brand plans and results in store
  • Team meetings – delivering updates and brand expectations for the week ahead
  • Team emersion: two-day event each September (discussing brand plans for the next year)

Delivering excellence

Despite the uncertainty of Covid, and other events that impacted the retail landscape over the last 18 months, the Innocent team have continued to deliver and grow, whilst also providing additional support to the Innocent commercial team at a time they needed it most

  • New ‘perfect store’ measure introduced to support the field team, delivering key targets from Innocent whilst maintaining focus on leaving things better than they were found
  • Availability in line with customer fulfilment levels and ahead of target in 2021, despite widespread supply and haulage challenges

The team continues to deliver great value to Innocent, supported by Chris and his relentless approach to ensuring that the brand is at the heart of what is achieved and actioned instore. For 2022, Innocent have been clear on their expectations of the field team and Chris has developed measures for the team to ensure this is front and centre on each store visit.

Results achieved this year:

  • Share of Space – above target across all top 4 Grocers
  • Extra Displays on Exit – ahead of target
  • GE Compliance – ahead of target

Further business support partnerships

Immersing the field team into the world of Innocent is a key agenda for Chris and something he delivers over and above his job role.

This year, Tactical Solutions is a proud sponsor of Grocery Aid’s Diversity & Inclusion in Grocery. Fronted by Chris, this was a key benchmark to embed Tactical Solutions’ partnership with Innocent and further align our culture and values.

Our sponsorship allowed Chris to work closely with Innocent’s own Inclusion and Diversity leads to develop best practice and understand what ‘being Innocent’ means. Chris added a different dimension to the team meetings and training, passing his knowledge to the Innocent team, but also the wider business too.

Innocent are a proud B Corp business, recently celebrating a score of 105.2, it is a real driver in how they do business. Tactical Solutions are also on their own B Corp journey, supported fully by Innocent. Chris has become a real ambassador for B Corp, consistently educating the team around what it means to use ‘business as a force for good’, working with Innocent’s Force for Good team to understand their priorities and how that translates into what the field team deliver instore.

Both the Grocery Aid partnership and the B Corp journey have seen Chris fully embed himself within all elements of the Innocent’s business and become an integral part of their team.

Brand Ambassador of Year

What has been achieved in 18 months has only been possible by strengthening the relationship between Tactical Solutions and Innocent. Chris has been at the forefront, reinvigorating the commercial team to utilise the field team to deliver value to their roles and bring the Innocent values (being natural, entrepreneurial, responsible, commercial and generous) into the heart of the field team. The value and impact he’s had on this account is highly regarded by both Innocent and the team at Tactical Solutions.

We’re immensely proud of everything Chris has achieved and delighted that his continued hard work has been recognised – claiming him the title of FMBE’s Brand Ambassador of the Year 2022.

Congratulations and thank you Chris – Keep up the incredible work!