Big Ideas, Emerging Technology, Retail

The Heart of Brand Innovation May Be In Retail

 Apple took its time filling the all-important vacant role of SVP, Retail, ultimately landing on Burberry CEO, Angela Ahrendts, who was responsible for transforming the company's business and making it a beacon for 21st Century retail experiences.

Apple took its time filling the all-important vacant role of SVP, Retail, ultimately landing on Burberry CEO, Angela Ahrendts, who was responsible for transforming the company's business and making it a beacon for 21st Century retail experiences.

To say I've failed in keeping up with my blog would be an understatement. I made one post all year, and yet, so much has changed. I've found myself at a new agency (TracyLocke), in a new role, doing a new kind of marketing: Shopper & Retail. Dare I say, the most challenging I've ever done. Although I'm still tapped for my previous experience, I'm no longer a social strategist. A welcome change to be honest. The scope of work in social is still limited by many marketers and frankly, I was getting sick of being pigeonholed. Instead, I've shifted to something completely different. Honestly, I never thought I'd find myself in this sector of the industry. Probably because I didn't know it existed. But now that I do, I'm finding it to be pretty interesting and challenging.

When I'm working with the right client, on the right project — because, isn't that always the hope — I'm digging into the science behind why people buy things, and how to lead them to the tipping point where they make a purchase. Coming from a world where expectations and accountability are loose concepts, this stuff is actually pretty difficult in comparison.

I'm admittedly a brand building kind of guy, but I've written about enhancing our real world experiences through technology, and intelligently designed experiences.

It's funny how history comes full circle. Brick-and-mortar gave way to online, and now online is looking for ways to live offline. Brands are scrambling to find ways of building innovative shopping experiences for their customers. Oftentimes, pegging the physical world as the best venue to connect to them in meaningful ways. Brands like Apple, Warby Parker, Burberry and Starbucks lead the charge in creating better designed retail experiences.

I think we're there, or at least close, to the point where technology, branding, retail, and design are converging on one another to unlock some pretty interesting opportunities for the brands willing to dive in. And I'm not just talking about pop-up shops that come and go as part of some fleeting promotion. I'm talking about something built to last. Designed retail experiences that people will be eager to escape to.

It's those kinds of experiences that really stick with people. The ones that spark unflinching loyalty, and infectious advocacy. An unforgettable shopping experience will do more for a brand than any commercial, billboard, Facebook campaign, or aptly-timed Twitter post.

Building something like that requires a vast amount of insight and experience in very different, but increasingly related fields. As fate would have it, I'd like to think I've been accruing some of that divergent experience over the last few years, and continue to do so today. No one said it was going to be easy, but I may have found my calling...at least for now, until I find my next one.