Designing A Breakthrough Retail Brand Experience
Many retail businesses overlook the true potential of what a brand can and will accomplish, often settling for just a logo. Effective branding is beyond a logo,pretty colors and trendy materials. It’s the cumulative experience of every touch-point a customer encounters with a brand. Professionals who wish to establish themselves as credible and reliable experts in the retail field, must start by developing a solid brand. A good branding strategy requires a company to focus on its core values, skills and beliefs.
Our experience in designing more than 20 retail experiences has taught us a lot, especially during our latest work for Al Hatab Bakery in KSA. We’re proud to see the brand expanding exponentially after trusting us with their full brand experience uplift. Currently having 14 branches in Al Qassim and other locations, and expanding 11 branches in Riyadh, here are some essential criteria we have learned for designing a breakthrough retail brand experience:
Realistic Brand Strategy: It is crucial to set a global branding strategy that speaks to its audience, is relatable to its culture, where the brand history and values are conveyed clearly in the design, signage, interior, products, etc. This strategy should be achievable on different communication channels, while being aware of the restrictions of each, since failing to apply this may put the brand at risk.
Mastering your digital presence: through a defined strategy based on objectives, goals, KPIs and most importantly measurable ROI. Thanks to website analytics and social media metrics, nearly everything is measurable. But because of the wealth of data at our fingertips, it’s easy to get distracted by volume metrics without connecting the dots to a larger story. Before digging into each type, it’s important to clarify the end goals.
Unique design and décor: it’s all about creating a memorable experience using interesting material combination, whether it’s fixtures, lighting, furniture, displays, packaging, etc. Most importantly, every retail brand should have its unique brand personality and character. Once you define who you are and what is important to you, seek out photos, images, colors, and/or graphics to build up your website, business cards and social media platform. Having an online and offline image that reflects your core value allows these images to begin to tell a story about your brand. Lastly, be consistent with that image across all platforms.
Bespoke Customer Journey: it is essential for retailers to keep up with evolving technologies and consumer behavior. And this is where the customer journey comes into place. Do it right, and you’ll definitely develop a solid brand that will make your audience appreciate what you do, and how you do it for them.
Current technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics, enable customers to become hyper-connected and have multi-channel digital interactions with the world—anytime, anywhere.
It is vital to understand your customers, to collect and analyze their feedback across all available channels and to engage them along their journey in order to provide a superior connected customer experience.
It is worth noting that companies that excel at creating amazing customer experiences can realize 4-8% above the market revenue growth2—not to mention other benefits such as improved customer and brand loyalty and increased profits and competitive advantages.
Passionate and well-trained employees
According to a 2014 Deloitte report, up to 87.7 percent of America’s workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work. Around the world, demotivated and clueless staff can easily jeopardize the customer experience and damage any hope of brand integrity. In contrast, a passionate and well-trained staff can help a company remain afloat and resilient in an unsteady market. To survive and thrive, businesses should learn to create work environments that elicit passionate behaviors in all employees because a passionate worker will actively seek to achieve higher performance levels, to the benefit of self AND company.
Telling your story is a critical part of building your brand. The trick, however, is to be authentic and sincere. Consumers aren’t stupid. People don’t initially buy into a brand, they buy into a person. Be sincere in your story-telling and it will resonate with your audience. As potential customers see that your story is heartfelt, they will become your most passionate and enthusiastic brand ambassadors. That level of support comes from loyalty, which is something money cannot buy.
Consistent, well-thought out and tested brand experiences play a major role in customer retention. Brand consistency is vital because it makes your brand feel more dependable. More importantly, customers trust brands they recognize. Interacting with consumers through a consistent brand voice is a major step towards allowing customers to get to know you as a company. When they know you, they will identify with you and your purpose. And when customers feel like they know you and can trust you, they will be more likely to buy from you, recommend you to others, and remain loyal to you.
Finally, always remember that a brand is reflected by your products, and the story that these products tell together. Branding doesn’t have to be hard or complicated but occasionally it has to evolve to stay alive. As your company matures, the direction you’re headed in probably looks very different from where you started out. A brand evolves as its products evolve and now more than ever, it is the customers who are helping to drive brand evolution, not the other way around.