Everyone’s talking about technological innovation. How it is transforming the world of retail, removing the barrier of time, and giving people access to a huge choice of products, very quickly and easily. This technological innovation, which makes it possible to customize baskets, bags, clothes, etc. But today, it has almost become the norm. So how do we stand out from the rest? For Anna Casani, Lab & Marketing Manager at Altavia Italia, everything comes down to the ability to make the consumer feel emotions. And knowing how to tell a story.
Identifying and building a personality close to the customer
What do we remember about a visit to a store if it is not the Experience? The things that touched us, intrigued us, made us feel something and etched a sensorial memory in our mind. The human aspect of retail can make the difference, capture the consumer’s interest, and make them feel an attachment to a brand. So, the key for brands is to build a personality, ever-closer to the language and behaviour of the consumers. And this implies having fun, taking a step back and not taking ourselves too seriously…
The Campaign led by Diesel during New York Fashion Week is a very good example. The brand’s founder, Renzo Rosso, had the idea of opening a real-fake store in Chinatown, called DEISEL, to draw people’s attention to the counterfeit phenomenon. Customers entered the store thinking that the articles were fakes.
Meanwhile Ikea decided to launch a limited edition of its catalogue. Based on the principle that its catalogue is always very popular, the brand designed 10 fake covers, presenting a completely different universe, to slip over the real catalogue, allowing the customers to flick through the catalogue in secret. With this idea Ikea was speaking the same language as its customers, who were amused and intrigued by this artful complicity. The aim is to show that, behind the brand, there is an identity, a personality close to that of its customers.
Knowing how to tell the story of your own DNA
As well as identifying and building a personality close to that of their customers, brands must remain totally consistent in terms of the message that they want to get across. The aim is to tell the story of their very essence, their DNA, through a moment that the customer will not forget.
When the values and the essence become one and the same thing then the experience can emerge and be transformed into colours, words, scents, and sounds. This will give rise to a memorable experience, which will leave a mark on the consumer’s sensorial memory. And Esselunga has understood that very well. The Italian company, which has just celebrated 60 years of activity, decided to set the scene with a superb exhibition. It is a real experience allowing customers to relive the changes in the brand over the years but above all to see how the consumers and Esselunga have evolved together. The visitors were encouraged to look, touch, smell, listen and remember a shared history.
Picking up on the strong signals from the outside world
Being capable of adapting to changes and knowing how to pick up on the strong signals coming from the outside world are also important assets for a brand which wants to catch people’s attention. Like Ikea when it created a step-by-step DIY exercise to make your own Jon SNOW coat – the character from the series Game of Thrones – out of one of its fur rugs. Cut, clip, add strips of leather and there you have it! A great idea given the planetary success of the series.
Coming back to the concept of traditional selling
Another interesting idea is to come back to a local scale, seeking a more personal relationship with customers. For example this could be about reproducing the habits of a village, recreating a community space like the local pub. In a store this could be achieved by setting up a drinks area with stools and a bar. And, of course, a good cup of coffee to wake the customers up and treat their taste buds! »