The role of the store manager has gotten much more complex,professional, analytical and difficult. No longer is affinity for the product the prime job requirement but instead, affinity for the customer.
Carl Barbato, V.P. of Retail for David Yurman recently spoke at an FIT class and said, ”We can and do train people about the product, and the procedures, etc. What we look for in our staff is people who like people, like to work with people and like to help people. That is the most important characteristic.”
The customer is in control and the battle for who wins the customer is depends on the skill and talent of the store manager.
Today’s Brand Communications finds that the positioning of brand image and meaning are more challenging than ever. Creating a memorable I.D. and appealing to the consumer’s connection to the brand’s id, is more demanding than ever.
Every communication with a target audience should offer the brand an opportunity to reinforce its mission and positioning. Its message content should contain more than image. It should communicate relevant functional and/or emotional meanings for the customer’s aspirations, wants and needs. Successful brands connect with the consumer’s id, the source of instinctive energy.
A logo must be more than a graphic (see Branded Logoman for logos which have BRAND I.D.). Each of these logos have established the Brand’s I.D. in one’s memory, as well as work with a tagline and/or slogan to create an aspiration, fill a need, satisfy a want, and stimulate the id. If a brand is multi-regional and/or global, it must also be aware of differences in language, pronunciation, connotation and interpretation that vary from region to region, from country to country, and continent to continent. Globally, brand names and messages often don’t translate as intended.
An example of a brand communication translation gaffe was when Gerber, the well-known baby food company, learned that global marketing could be problematic. In French Canada – the French translation of Gerber is vomiting. How’s that for image and meaning?
The logo and brand name communicates brand image, but they should be used with serious thought. A good example is Campbell Soup‘s new slogan: “It’s amazing what soup can do”, rather than – “It’s amazing what Campbell Soup can do.” By leaving out their sole ownership of “great soups,” they make their communication more consumer-centric by recognizing the consumer’s desire to choose for themselves the brand that will deliver amazing soup to their family.
In February 2011, I went on a color-finding trip to Japan looking for new contemporary art and architecture. Of course I had to go to Naoshima, an island in the Inland Sea of Japan. Located in the cultural heart of historic downtown Naoshima near temples and shrines, Minanidera is a new structure created by architect Tadao Ando to house the work of color lighting artist, James Turrell. Ando also built the new Chichu Museum and Turrell has several pieces that reside in the museum near some of Monet’s exquisite Water Lilies. Both structures become more than buildings, they house the space and filtered colored light that inhabits them inside and outside. You enter Turrell’s spaces in total blindness and feel around until your eyes become used to the almost complete darkness and thin cool color mist of light. It is at once a spiritual and an unsettling experience. One is mesmerized by the depth of the heavenly space that is totally created by colored light and air. Dan Flavin, Pieter Vermeersch, Olafur Eliasson are some of the artists who have worked in colored light.