Branding is so much more than a logo.
It is the communication of a promise to your customers; a pledge on the quality of products, level of service, and overall experience. Retailers and brands need to communicate these messages across all platforms consistently to build relationships with customers.
The role of branding in the retail customer journey is also so much more than many companies realise.
It can be the difference between creating brand advocates, and turning customers off for good. More often than not, it is the difference between securing a sale and sending shoppers to a competitor.
Innocent Smoothies and Apple are just two companies that spring to mind when looking at branding. While they are both inherently different, they have a great deal in common. Through every consumer touchpoint and every interaction – whether online, in print, or in store – they deliver a seamless and recognisable brand experience.
Branding can influence customers and encourage sales; it plays a huge role in the retail customer journey both online and in store. Here, we explore the role it plays and how retailers can deliver a seamless brand experience.
The importance of great design
It is no surprise that looks matter, and first impressions count to consumers; now more so than ever, when they are bombarded with messages from bricks-and-mortar stores, e-commerce and mobile devices.
When customers enter a retail environment – be it a store, pop-up shop or commercial space – branding should be clear and consistent. Whether it is eye-catching and unexpected, immersive and digital, or wholly on brand; retail design is just one piece of the branding puzzle.
It can have a huge impact too, on the retail customer journey.
Great design can quite literally lead customers around a space; helping them to find the products, dwell within the space, and build connections with the retailer. Not only that, but it has been proven that design-driven brands outperform the competition commercially.
We worked with technology giant Tom Tom to develop their in-store brand and communication strategy for a new product launch. The campaign creative was consistent across advertising and in-store communications.
Brand experiences that deliver results
At a time when consumers are bombarded with marketing messages from numerous companies and avenues, brand experiences are becoming more important for differentiation. Retail should have a strong focus on customer experience as part of the retail customer journey; helping to deliver immersive and memorable activations that keep shoppers coming back for more.
Branded experiences are becoming more important to consumers, and savvy retailers need to blend in-store with online to engage with people and tell a brand story. As more and more people interact with companies via a smartphone or computer screen, a reliable brand should give a seamless experience across all channels.
In-store experiences that mirror e-commerce plays an important role in the retail customer journey; taking the best of both worlds to create an immersive experience that delivers on all levels and gives consumers what they want. Our store design project for Sun & Sand Sports includes experience trial zones to encourage participation and increase dwell time.
Making branding organic
One of the secrets to iconic branding is having it so ingrained in a business’s offering that it just becomes part of them. Nike, Apple and Innocent are just three brands that are so organic, a simple icon, tone of voice or design style is instantly affiliated with them. It is this level of branding that plays a vital role in the retail customer journey and builds connections with customers.
Retail plays a huge role for many businesses, and carrying a brand into this space is essential in planning out the customer journey. Through retail design and strategy; brands and retailers can deliver a seamless, consistent experience.
This post was originally published in 2014 but has been updated to include the latest trends and projects.