The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

If A Locksmith Can Put Some Effort Into Their Retail Environment, Everyone Can …
November 4, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Cute isn’t it.

Well, maybe not ‘cute’, but certainly charming and noticeable.

Now I appreciate ‘cute’ or ‘charming’ doesn’t automatically mean it will translate to sales, however doing something that actively attracts people to explore your store – or at least remember it for a time when they may be in need for their product or service – certainly improves the odds of conversion compared to thinking just opening your doors and sticking a few ‘sale posters’ in the window [like everyone else] will have them queuing outside.

Of course, creating elaborate external building aesthetics like this locksmith has done, may be impossible [though I’d argue his company will be remembered more than if a competitor launched an ad campaign] however I am amazed how many companies spend masses of time and money trying to identify what ‘their brand uniquely stands for’ only to execute it at retail level in a way where you would imagine the architects brief was ‘to be as bland as possible’.

I once met the head of window dressing at Harvey Nichols.

She was amazing.

Her view was that she was not there to ‘sell the products on display’, but to ‘let the people outside the window feel excited about life’.

Sure, you can say that’s a load of bollocks, but if you looked at her work you saw a person who approached every task with total openness and imagination which definitely had an influence – regardless how big or small – on the success of Harvey Nichols.

Jesus, I’ve gone off on one again haven’t I?! I can’t even remember what the purpose of this post was supposed to be. OK, you never know what the purpose of my posts are but I’ve literally forgotten what I was trying to say.

So let’s leave it with this.

If part of our job is to encourage people to want to engage with our clients brands, we might be better off trying to bring the brand ‘to life’ at the place where people have their most meaningful – or important – interaction with them as opposed to focusing all our energies on creating the ultra-TV spot or social media campaign.

And yes, I do appreciate economies of scale, but that is also used way too much as an excuse to always think the TV spot is the perfect answer.

Sometimes it is. But not always.

OK, I will go now. Sorry for the boredom.

24 Comments so far
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Isn’t your point that everything has the power to make an influential brand impression on an audience but most agencies (and clients) focus on the channels that offer convenience and scale?

Scale is important, I know you agree with that, but purchased scale is different to developing and executing ideas that encourage scale on their own merit. The argument against that there is a risk it fails to generate the reach required, but that is often used as the excuse to not investigate new ways to express creativity than anything approaching real merit.

Isn’t this all very similar to the argument you had years ago with a professor in India (?) who claimed Zara didn’t advertise? You had a different point of view, correctly arguing their location, window display and PR were all acts of commercial communication. Or have I mistook you for someone else?

Comment by Pete

I hope your mum had a great birthday.

Comment by Pete

I’m not going mad. This is the one.

Comment by Pete


Comment by Billy Whizz

Did the video of that talk ever show up?

Comment by John


Comment by Billy Whizz

That was an exciting day.

Comment by George

Jesus, that’s 5 years ago, I can’t remember what I did 5 minutes ago. I’ll check – I think it did – but maybe you just all ignored it, like everything I do. Ha.

Comment by Rob

You have a frighteningly good memory Pete. I know that conference was rather eventful, but that’s still impressive.

I agree with your point relating to scale, convenience and risk … which is why I was so pleased to see that M&C ‘submarine’ thing in Italy a while back. It was absolutely a stunt and it was absolutely about generating PR value … but given it got in the World press, I would say it made more of an impact than many TVC based campaigns which might be able to claim they potentially reach more people, but rarely engage a fraction of the amount.

Comment by Rob

pete has no fucking life more like.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Billy Whizz

You’ve really written a post about a locksmith front door. This week is going to be a disaster. Thanks a lot for nothing Rob.

Comment by DH

Scale is an interesting criteria given traditional media evaluates reach based on numerical theory rather than fact. Solid numerical theory perhaps, but still theory.
The other issue is too many media/creative agencies mistake ambient (or experiential as it’s called these days) as the sort of work Robert is describing in this post. It can be, but a standard PR stunt executed in a high traffic area is not going to cut it, despite what the industry press may say.

Comment by George

Hahaha, this comment just contradicts what I’ve written about M&C Italy’s ‘submarine’ stunt for an insurance company. You’re right of course, but in my defence, rather than hold some grade-z event in a major public area, they actually did something to ‘earn’ the free coverage, which is more than most do these days.

Comment by Rob

I believe you Robert. You may have to say it with a bit more passion to convince yourself though.

Comment by George

are you building cars again?

Comment by niko

More like building disasters a day at a time Niko.

Comment by Rob

The ultimate responsibility for what is being described is the brand owners. Senior level brand owners. Unfortunately many companies prefer to delegate this responsibility to external partners which encourages key decisions to be made on cost, than value.

Comment by Lee Hill

I agree with you Lee, however the role of marketing has been so devalued within most business circles, that it’s viewed more as an ‘executional/sales aid’ department than something that can fundamentally drive revenue.

Not everyone thinks this way, but sadly, many do … regarding anything that has a ‘point of view’ or a ‘different approach’ as encouraging risk rather than driving the overall business.

Comment by Rob

I think this is a good start to the week. I’ve been noticing that Byron sharpe stuff is beginning to get mis used by some. While I’m amazed certain pr gurus have bothered to read it, they’re using it as an excuse for the old ‘coverage’ measure of success, conveniently forgetting about coherent memory structures. Even worse some ‘ad folks’ like to use it as an excuse to ignore the importance of the actual buying experience.
That said I bloody hate shopper marketing- whole agencies pretending the act of buying is totally divorced from the rest of marketing.
Yes I’m awake at 3am, no it’s not the kids it’s insomnia.

Comment by Northern

Trust me Northern, you don’t have to explain why you are commenting at this time of the day, we can all work it out.

I agree with you of course – good shopper marketing is rare indeed – but I also believe too many agencies believe if their ‘ad’ is good enough, people will walk into a supermarket, ignore all their needs and expectations [be it family requirements to budget restraints], walk past all the aisles of food, go straight to the row where their client clients product is located, ignore all the competitor offerings on display and buy that product and that product alone.

Which is utter shit.

The fact is, the shopper mindset does change in the retail environment and knowing where/how you can play is a key requirement to have real validity in that area but sadly, just like too many agencies have a fucked up view of how to do it, so do too many shopper companies [‘offer a discount and a shelf wobbler’] which ends up fucking everyone over … from brand to agency to retailer to shopper.

Unless you use my friends company, The Station [] who not only have real knowledge and talk real sense … but appreciate the broader influence of marketing and where/how it can play an influential and commercial role.

PS: Cass, you owe me 10% of your company now please.

Comment by Rob

Cass should know that 10% of their company is now worth very little as a result of your recommendation.

Comment by John

Good point. In that case, I want 90%.

Comment by Rob

This entrance arouses attention on part of the passer-by. The first step to make the passer-by a client. As for me, I might get curious when walking along a sidewalk and seeing an entrance like this.

Comment by oneofhere

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