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The new way to develop a global brand-open shops

January 16, 2008

At the end of the last century, every brand was rushing to participate in a new form of commerce, e-commerce.

With everyone shopping online is there now more of a value on the real shopping experience? Is the retail-shopping environment, one of the most popular pastimes of global consumers, the place you need to be establishing your brand?

This isn’t about participating in the retail business as a retailer, but using it as a core part of your branding strategy.

With media costs escalating out of control and reach becoming increasingly questionable, the retail store is fast becoming the branding tool of choice for brands that are looking for global reach and to leave an indelible mark in consumer’s minds.

Brands that aren’t tradtionally retailers are making the leap across into this space.

Obviously, it also helps if you have something to sell, but it’s especially interesting to see some surprising new entrants.

The global soccer organization FIFA has just opened its first store in Singapore airport and plans to open others in London, Tokyo and Los Angeles.

Then there’s Ferrari, who many would have expected to be the last brand to open stores, are using stores as a branding tool and a revenue generator. The company is opening them at a fast pace. In 2007, it opened Beijing, Los Angeles, Shenyang, Barcelona, Al Kobar, Abu Dhabi and Macao and this year will see openings in San Francisco, Miami and Honolulu.

While opening retail outlets might seem strange in a world dominated by technology. However, it’s clear that certain areas of specific cities- Rodeo Drive in LA for example or Las Vegas are quickly becoming experience retail centers. Places where people spend time and indulge themselves in experiences. This is not shopping as chore, but shopping as entertainment and it certainly makes sense for certain brands to be present in this emerging media channel.

Retail allows brand to create a media that performs two functions; a brand experience and if done correctly and with the right partners, a revenue generator that allows the brand to recoup some of its expenses.

It will be interesting to see the role agencies and media buying companies will play here, but I somehow can’t imagine anyone putting global store openings as a line item on the media plan.

Perhaps, it would be the mark of true integration, if one of the large holding companies could make this type of cross-functional thinking happen

Posted by Ed Cotton

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