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Branding from Design to Retail: Apple Shows the Future

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appleIt is 5AM. Black Friday. They still have a turkey hangover but wake up anyway with coupons in hand to get the best deals in sight. We as marketers push out all the advertising in sight to get people to buy certain products and go to certain stores. It is the one day of year that consumers are guaranteed to wake up at all hours of the night to go shopping to get a few extra dollars off of their gifts. While strolling through the mall, there is one store in particular that has no deep discounts, but ironically is the most crowded. The Apple Store.

The in-store experience at Apple is the ultimate definition of experiential marketing in retail. The store is very refined and classically modern. The Apple store in fact looks and feels like one big Apple device. Like his products, Steve Jobs wanted everything simple and sleek. In an article in the Smithsonian Magazine, Walter Isaacson said this of Jobs: “He embraced minimalism, which came from his Zen devotion to simplicity.” Jobs himself said, “The way we’re running the company, the product design, the advertising, it all comes down to this: Let’s make it simple. Really simple.”

Simple is certain. There are no registers. No lines. No piles of items thrown a-strew. No pushy people on cell phones with overloaded carts standing in front of you with a crying baby arguing over a price check. Granted, the store is crowded and there are lots of people. However, Jobs again shows us the future with some revolutionary changes that many retailers could potentially see in the not-so-distant future, such as:

  1. Every product in the store has an iPad as its sign showing the price point and options of the item.
  2. There are at least 20 clerks walking around the store answering questions. Each of these clerks is equipped with an iPhone that is used to scan the item and check out the customer via debit or credit card. For those who want to pay with cash there are a few hidden cash drawers around the store that are built into some of the displays. The displays are so sleek you would never notice the cash drawers until one was opened.
  3. Discounts are minimized but demand is so high that consumers purchase anyway. In the early days of retail a huge sale did not need to happen every day. Jobs has pulled this thinking back in by making a superior product and selling at a reasonable price.

The future is not George Jetson-style flying cars or space suits. It is high-tech products with impeccable sleek design. It is stores that do not have lines wrapping around the building. It is branding your product from design through retail in a cohesive and desirable fashion. Apple again sends the rest of us the big question: Are we doing it all wrong?

Article originally published on Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16062

Home Depot Helps in the Sand(y) Box

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Hurricane, Superstorm, Frankenstorm. Whatever you call it, Hurricane Sandy is taking the East Coast by surprise. The is the biggest storm that this portion of America has seen since 1820. And who is there to help when others are running away? Home Depot.home-depot-logo

Home Depot has done a great job of marketing itself as a sort of storm headquarters. They are able to make supplies available such as batteries, generators, flashlights, chain saws, and the like, when others cannot. When Hurricane Irene came around the Home Depot increased their quarterly sales by a full percentage point. By the looks of things, Home Depot’s sales will be through the roof once again.

According to an Ad Age article entitled, How Adland Is Weathering Hurricane Sandy, Home Depot had this comment:

“Our goal is to be the last to close and the first to open. We stay open as long as we can, as long as it is safe for our associates to be there,” said Meghan King, a spokeswoman with Home Depot. “On the other hand, many stores have extended their hours to serve customers as long as possible. Hurricane planning is a year-round exercise for us, so our operations, merchandising and store teams know what to do and when to do it,” Ms. King added.

Home Depot has not only performed well at the retail level but they have also created their own hurricane command center. Doug Spiron, Captain of the Home Depot Command Center, said they are open 24/7 preparing for the storm. They have adequately supplied the stores in preparation for Hurricane Sandy and have trucks on hold to push more supplies into these areas. Watch the entire video interview with Doug here: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/1932487849001/

When Home Depot is there, rooted in these areas that are desperate for supplies, customers will remember. They will remember Home Depot’s far-reaching social responsibility. Companies such as this that are good corporate citizens create lasting relationships with the communities in which they reside. Home Depot has done this and continues to do this in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.

Home Depot is a great example of how a solid marketing plan and dedication to social responsibility can not only be good for the public but also good for the corporate brand. They know that if you need help you will look for the infamous orange aprons.

What other companies have you seen that are taking a similar approach?