There are several books on Brand Experience, the importance of retail in the process and the concept of integrated brand message. A couple of recent incidents brought alive the concept of brand experience for me, like no book can, recently.
The advertising for men’s fashion brands in India has some common elements: hunks, models as corporate bigwigs, showcasing of the merchandise and Italian brand names of shirts. The last one is a fairly recent phenomenon with names Positano, Portofino and Manzoni. During Diwali all the brands were visible on print media – so you had very la-di-da settings, power dressers and premium Italian shirts splashed all over newspapers and billboards. I walked into one such premium brand’s exclusive outlet in Bangalore, checking out the Italian line of shirts. Being an exclusive store of a national brand, it followed the colour codes of the chain. The only jarring thing I noticed was the music playing over the store speakers: it was an old, soulful Hindi film number sung by Mahendra Kapoor. It may be a popular song but when you think about it, the world of Mahendra Kapoor and premium Itlalian brands go together. I remember the ad campaign for Arrow Shirts in India some time back where they attempted dramatize Arrow’s heritage and America of yore. The agency had even specified that only jazz music was to be played at the stores and even provided tapes/CDs to the client. It may seem like a trivial gesture but creating the right environment at the retail level – in line with what the brand message, goes a long way in providing an integrated brand experience.
I also visited a Sony outlet and bought a new LCD TV over the weekend. The store promised me that the delivery would be made the same day. The TV was not delivered even by 9pm and when I called the store, I was told that the delivery boys were out on their rounds. Since it was late, I expected delivery to happen the next day. To my surprise, the store manager and an assistant landed up at home by 10pm with the TV! I was told since it was a commitment they honoured it by bringing in the TV on a 2-wheeler! Pretty impressive.
No matter what the advertising is, the retail environment and the attitude of in-store employees makes all the difference. No?