Magazines Archives - 2008 March
NRF Design Studio exchange: What makes for iconic identity?
CREATING connections with shoppers was the big message of store-design companies at the Design Studio exposition area at NRF 2008. Green design, green lighting and branding were top-of-mind in their presentations.
Iconicity was the term used by JGA chairman Ken Nisch to describe creating a retail identity in the midst of all the clutter. His company specialises in architectural and design services for stores.
Simpler than branding, iconicity was defined by Nisch as the element or a series of elements that create a personality so distinctive that its visual cluesbecome proprietary to the brand.
The purpose of iconicity is to tap into the emotional needs of shoppers through creating a set of experiential signals that transcend the more rational factors of price and convenience. In other words, Nich explained, creating a unique identity helps cut through the clutter.
Iconicity encompasses all forms of communication, print and collateral, product selection, the retail environment, policies and procedures, personnel and real estate, so that all components of a brands personality communicate with one voice. No gesture, he added, is too small to become iconic, from the way of greeting the customer to the language on the sales receipt. Nisch challenged: As each of us is exposed to thousands of impressions each day, will shoppers sense of your brand and brand environment be iconic enough to be memorable?
Todays shopper is looking to learn, be entertained and delighted, and to make a social connection. Iconicity is the way to satisfy these needs, Nisch averred, listing simplicity, ingenuity, clarity, originality, community, personality and unity as its attributes.
He also showed slides of his companys work for Timberland, Hershey, The North Face and Brookstone, retailers said to possess these qualities. Design firm FRCH Design Worldwide, Cincinnati, also had icons in mind for its keynote presentation, Dancing with the Stores. Three executives from the firm stressed the need for retailers to strive for icon status.
Besides attaining the right balance of brand, product and service in the built environment, retailers must, said the FRCH speakers, focus on the following six key elements:
1. Communicate your brand, a concept that goes beyond conventional marketing and advertising.
2. Enhance the customer experience. (Experience means nothing unless it is one-of-a-kind unique.)
3. Celebrate service, defined as anything that eases life for the customer.
4. Create a proprietary language, which transcends the built environment and differentiates the retailers brand.
5. Deliver exciting product, which is not about product features but all about benefits for the customer.
6. Embrace change. (Successful retail brands evolve with customers.) The FRCH executives hailed Chanel, Coke, Mickey Mouse, KFC and the torch of the Statue of Liberty as brands that have achieved the gold standard for performance to become international icons.