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Delivering brand passion

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Delivering Brand Passion

A recent article about the successful high street jewellery brand Pandora, got the team and I talking about the important role ‘passion’ plays in our retail store design process.

Of course, the word ‘passion’ can elicit a very cynical response these days - let’s face it, in the 21st century it can be an overused, and often abused, way to describe commitment to a product or service.

However, in our creative world we know that it’s vital for us to uncover the authentic passion our clients, their staff and their consumers have for their brands. Once we understand what lies behind their brand passion, we can then convert this into the physical store spaces we design - creating a much more immersive space for customers that really celebrates the best of a brand.

Rasmus Brix, the UK boss of Pandora gets this. According to Brix, the success of the Pandora brand boils down to two things “investment in people and investment in brand”. He recognises that his stores are where customers will experience the best of Pandora so controlling that ‘experience’ in their stores is essential for them. In recent years Pandora have pulled out of many of their previous shop-in-shop arrangements in favour of their own stores, which seems to be working for them, recently reporting five positive quarters in a row.

Importantly, in growing their own store portfolio Pandora have quickly realised that in addition to great store design, their staff are also integral to delivering a superior in-store experience for customers. As a result, they not only reward staff with competitive salaries but they also recruit staff that already have a genuine love for the Pandora brand.

The award-winning British jewellery designer Dinny Hall (Founder of Dinny Hall Jewellery) agrees that staff are critical brand ambassadors. She argues strongly that brand owners need to transfer their brand passion to staff:

“I’m passionate about my brand and I need my staff to share that passion and product knowledge with our customers. So, this requires everyone in the business to be clear about who you are, what you are doing and where you are going.” *

We couldn’t agree more. When conducting our initial research into a new store design project, we find the brand insights from operational and shop floor staff as illuminating as those from the business owners who have appointed us. And, when we combine these insights with customer feedback, it gives us the complete picture we need to start translating brand passion and purpose into store design opportunities and innovations.

Rasmus Brix of Pandora knows that investing in his stores is important, but he also thinks that the future of retail growth “is contingent on great people and great brands. Any business that doesn’t have a great brand and great people shouldn’t be investing in stores”. He goes on to say that Pandora’s staff make its stores “magical”.

M&S chief executive Stuart Machin also understands that his mission is to “protect the magic of M&S whilst modernising the business. He revealed this last week as the brand unveiled growing food and clothing sales. Machin defines the M&S ‘magic’ as their “exceptional product, trusted brand and strong values”.

Of course, there is nothing magic about succeeding in retail today. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work, rigorous strategic thinking, and an authentic passion for the brand.

Retailers like Pandora and M&S, who can tick these boxes, will continue to confidently invest in their store estates, despite the current inflationary pressures.

The aftershock from the pandemic has made many retail brands stronger as they reimagine their blended physical and digital futures. They’ve been reassured that physical retail is here to stay but their customers have raised the bar on ‘experience’. Delivering a clear brand passion within the store space is no longer an option - it’s essential!

* Dinny Hall quote taken from Jewellery Retail 2028: a trade show seminar we ran at Olympia (before the Pandemic). Our panellists - a thriving bunch of independent ‘phygital’ retailers, who are still thriving today - helped us to shine a light on some great best practice in the jewellery and watch retail sector.

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