Retail store design and retail branding strategies may look like separate entities at first glance but one of them can’t be properly tackled without considering the other. The store design is just a large-scale canvas for the implementation of branding strategy.
Often the strategy is confused with the goals of the brand. But the strategy is a tool to get to those goals. As there is no uniform approach to strategy, it depends upon the problem. The problem could be anything. To solve that problem, a strategy will be built around it.
For the brand to utilize its potential fully. It is imminent that the store design reflects the branding strategies, which affect the store design and brand-building experience in the following ways.
WHEN THE RETAIL AND PRODUCT ARE CLOSELY INTEGRATED
This form of branding is utilized more by the rising brand or start-ups. As more and more large-scale companies opt for outsourcing over centralized production.
However, when branding strategy is utilized, the physical spaces would be designed to incorporate the whole process of production. Serving a centralized hub for extensions of the brand.
Alongside the one-stop-solution design of the store. The brand is mostly focused on hands-on engagement between the brand and the customer while dealing with solutions to any problems faced by the customer.
The design reflects that centralized in-house approach and would be heavily utility-based and the brand-building experience would be focused on building trust over the visual elements of the brand. In essence, the retail store becomes a one-stop solution for any problem that the customer might be facing in a niche sector of the market. And all the factors from sensory elements to the floor layout would be done in ways that reinforce that idea. The store design would be more focused on the efficiency of operation than browsing.
IN-HOUSE BRANDING STRATEGY
The in-store branding strategy is best opted for small to medium scale brands. The brand is responsible for all the in-house operations ranging from product and services to marketing. The design of every extension of the brand from retail stores to experience centres is designed to be all-encompassing. For the following branding model, the majority of the assets are allocated to improve customer engagement and deploy the final product or service. The branding often works as a link between the market and other, small to medium-scale businesses/brands.
WHEN THE BRAND IS THE DRIVING FORCE
Here all the procurement is done in large quantities. However, it is the brand that gives it the unique flair and identity that makes the product and service their own.
The brand may procure from different sources and then serves as the central hub that the customer base interacts with. The brand has sole ownership of the product or service and is established as a distinct entity. This strategy is heavily dependent on the brand reputation. Therefore, the staff and the types of advertising used are as much part of the brand design as any other element.
And every establishment from retail store to experience centre to the online website and even the customer service shares an aesthetic unique to them. The purpose of the retail store design is to make sure that anyone who comes across an extension of the brand knows what values it embodies even before the engagement happens and to uphold and boost the reputation.
In this case, the brand supersedes the design. But again, it is a high-risk high reward strategy as a combination of the other three strategies. With the emphasis on centralized service and positive customer experience.
WHEN TWO POWERS COMBINE
It is best done to achieve synergy. When two or more entities come together to achieve more than what was possible through a simple merger. The brands share the strengths and work to eliminate their respective weakness. However, the most important thing is to share a vision and the design needs to reflect that. And not just on the sensory basis but the brand experience needs to evolve alongside it. The effectiveness of the collaboration is what drives the evolution of the customer base and as the customer base expands. The needs change because of the larger customer base and consequently, the design evolves to incorporate that.
This can take the form of technological advances to make the brand experience accessible to more of the customer base to the literal expansion of physical space for the incorporation of diverse floor plans. Initially, the brands experiment as they learn to find the right rhythm but as everything settles the end goal is to establish themselves as a singular entity. And every design or aesthetical element works to accomplish that.
One principle that needs to be solidified again and again before each venture is the purpose of each establishment and operation is that no extension of the brand exists in a vacuum. Change in one section has far-reaching ripples that may change how other sections operate. That is accompanied by the volatile nature of the market. It is always beneficial that the retail branding strategies work in parallel to the retail store design, both steering each other to accomplish the best brand experience.