Retail advertising

We at The Escape Pod have done more than our share of retail advertising.

Retail advertising is exciting because it’s intended to provoke a specific action in a specific time frame.

It’s gasoline on the fire.

Or it should be.

One thing we’ve observed over the years is that retail ads are only as good as the offer that they communicate.

A great offer automatically leads to a great retail ad. You can’t beat a great offer.

Yet a lot of retail brands fret about their “brand image”.

This puzzles me.

Because retail brands, more than other brands, are defined by reality. Not perception.

Not “image”.

You walk into a GAP store, for example.

Your impression of that experience IS the GAP’s brand image. To you.

The brand image is based on an actual experience. Not something advertising can modulate by being cute.

The GAP’s brand image is my actual real world experience of the GAP. And that’s a lot stronger than thirty seconds of vaguely charming TV.

The GAP does a better job than most at defining the brand image via the store design and shopping experience.

“We are the GAP. Do you need somewhat bland but attractive and versatile classic American casual wear? Yes? Great. Come in then!”

You ever been to an Apple store? I rest my case.

Retail is experience.

So might think that retailers would be less concerned with projecting an image. And more concerned with selling what they’ve actually got in their stores.

The only reason people go there in the first place. Nobody goes to a store to feel good.

But a surprising amount don’t.

They think they ought to have to have a role in your life, and your heart, that the vast majority of them really can’t ever have. And shouldn’t have.

They sometimes think they need to sell somethingmore than mere “stuff”. They need to sell a “lifestyle”. Whatever that means.

But you know what, selling stuff can be enough. The right stuff.

The stuff that I like.

Do you have what I need and want?

Maybe they should focus on that a bit more.

And then advertise that.

Being liked doesn’t get you very far in retail.

Just ask all those delightful and charming and beloved mom and pop bookstores that went away pronto when came along.

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