This month it’s been great to see the re-emergence of commercial trade shows. Thanks to the NHS COVID Pass APP, we’ve been able to attend both the inaugural NAJ (National Association of Jewellers) Summit in Northamptonshire as well as the 2021 Casual DINING and lunch! shows at London’s ExCel.
It was refreshing to be out and about again meeting our retail clients and networking face-to-face. And whilst these shows obviously focused on very different sectors, they shared a common energy and enthusiasm, as well as a general sense of ‘measured’ excitement about trading conditions.
Yes, the pandemic was still a live topic of conversation but despite the testing past 18 months, and the undoubted challenges ahead, business owners and operators seemed energised and ready to reimagine their futures. They wanted to talk about rebuilding their operations and were seeking new insights and ideas to help them reawaken their brand spaces.
‘Experience’ is more important than ever
Of course the rapid growth of online during lockdown forced many businesses to embrace new multi-channel strategies, many of which will remain core to future growth. However, both the hospitality and jewellery & watch sectors recognise that their physical on-premises/instore ‘experience’ has become more important than ever for their customers. They can’t just re-open their doors with ‘a business as usual’ mentality - their customers want more of a ‘relationship’ with brands today.
“The importance of human connection doesn’t falter in a rapidly changing world…Customers still want simplified retail experiences, calm commerce and reassuring relationships with brands.” Carla Buzasi, MD, WGSN (Trend Forecasters)
The need to move away from tired functional ‘transactional spaces’ towards more immersive physical ‘brand spaces’ seems better understood by business leaders since COVID-19. However, we explained to delegates that there are no short cuts to getting the brand space ‘experience’ right. It takes an investment in both time and money, and a strategic ‘back to basics’ exploration of your brand.
Reawakening the physical brand space
Taking clients on a ‘deep dive’ into their brand is a critical starting point for us as retail designers. It’s the vital key to creative breakthroughs that can reawaken a physical brand space and deliver an exceptional retail experience for consumers. More importantly, it’s an approach that achieves great commercial success for our clients.
So our advice to all retailers and operators looking to reinvigorate their physical brand space, is to ‘get back to basics’. Really immerse yourselves in your brand – it should be driving your post COVID-19 business planning. Dig deep and explore the following questions. Then find yourselves some skilled retail designers to help you unlock the potential of your physical brand spaces …you know where we are!
1. What do you know about what you do? Is your brand vision and mission still accurate? What do customers and staff value about you? What attitudes and needs have changed since lockdown? Why do customers choose you over your competitors?
2. Where are you going? Are you looking for evolution or revolution from your new brand space? What targets, business goals and operational impacts will dictate the scope and level of your design development investment?
3. What wave are you riding? What market trends are you tapping into? Are you leading or following the pack? Have you adapted sufficiently since reopening?
Go to the OUR WORK page for a range of case studies that have employed our successful ‘back to basics’ brand development approach.