Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
17 September 2019
The irony of much of today’s retail branding
Here’s an example of irony in retail branding. Cost Plus World Market, or as we generally coin it, “World Market,” stands at the peak of my favorite home furnishing retail stores. But its retail outlet design is so cramped to the brim with goods that it is next to impossible to steer a cart around. Haphazard store design made by a brand supposedly helping you to design your home doesn’t make a lick of sense to me.
World Market isn’t alone in the absurdity of its retail presence. We shop in a world filled to the brim with this irony — which, at its core, is a misunderstanding of their own brands. Kill me now.
Just consider these ironies in retail branding:
Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Emphasis on “Booksellers.” Is now mostly a toy store.
Best Buy employs a “genius’” with a penchant for knowing nothing about Best Buy’s products.
Maybe best of all, one can purchase tobacco products at Walgreens. It’s a pharmacy for christ’s sake.
“Many so-called experts in retail branding believe better store design will lead to more market share and preference. That’s foolish thinking. What moves the needle is a brand promise so powerful target audiences are unable to ignore it.”
At least Bed Bath & Beyond (while being the most stupid name ever) acknowledges the irony of its product line by packaging it neatly under the meaningless “Beyond” moniker.
Most retail branding never fulfills its brand promise
Proper use of your brand meaning takes work and discipline. It takes grit and a willingness to rebuild a concept from the ground up so that it resonates, without paradox, on every level and fulfills your brand promise.
Many so-called experts in retail branding believe better store design will lead to more market share and preference. That’s foolish thinking. What moves the needle is a brand promise so powerful target audiences are unable to ignore it.
As long as you fulfill that brand promise.
This is the science of strategy. And it’s why I feel a terrible mess inside when I encounter brands exploring half-sciences.
Curse you, World Market. I want to love your every inch.
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