Experience a Brand for Real

National Geographic logo
Many brands are seeing the light.
From Nokia, Apple, Levis, Nike, Nintendo, to Bose, Samsung and Sony, companies today understand the power of branding and know that to allow consumer to fully experience their brand they must create an environment where the consumer is surrounded by the brand experience. Nothing does this better than putting the consumer in a direct sales environment or what we commonly call a “Concept Store”.
Within a “Concept Store, a you can fully manage the brand experience from the decor, design of the product placement, the background music, and even the smell! You can now create a truly 360 degree brand experience for your customers.
With a “Concept Store” you are able to filter out the “noise” of your competitors and now have the perfect opportunity to ensure your product is placed in the best possible light. No more have to deal with situations such as getting your product chucked on the floor just because the shared Point of Sales (POS) shelf has run out of space.
Really, this “Concept Store” marketing strategy allows you to build your brand equity in very authentic manner. You might, even sell more product while you are at it! (Notice selling comes at the very end?)

I was therefore pleasantly surprised to see that a 120 year old “not for profit” organization is moving in the same direction to that of “for profit” organizations by taking concrete steps of focusing on brand management.
Last night I had the pleasure of being in the company of a number of friends and bloggers, to experience a sneek peek of the official opening (this Sunday) of the National Geographic Flagship store here in Singapore. This is the first in Asia and the second worldwide. The first store was open in London 3 weeks ago.
With National Geographic’s vision to “inspire people to care about the planet”, the shop’s experience is just a wonderful eclectic mix of products from all around the world. From technology products like DSLRs and digital photo frames, to candles, photographs, furniture, stationary and clothing; the store allows the visitor to experience a slice of our rich worldwide cultural heritage right out of the Nat Geo magazine or your cable TV. (Silly me, I forgot to bring my camera and my iPhone photos do not do the shop justice. I’ll see if I can get more photos for you!)
So if you happen to be in Singapore or London, do go and experience the store and all their great in-store activities like their heat loss measuring Arctic room. Enjoy!

  • DT

    December 14, 2008 at 3:39 pm Reply

    Hi Raph,
    Thanks for your comments.
    I think concept stores still have a role to play, but with outfits such as Borders who already have a host of stores, creating your own experience wont really do much as their business model is based on a direct sales model.
    Other brands like Nike or a consumer electronics brand like Samsung spending the extra money on a branded store has a lot of value. No only in branding but as part of an overall strategy to push up in the price points towards premium level.
    These days with the onslaught of low cost brands, companies are finding it hard to compete and the only way is to move up.

  • DT

    December 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm Reply

    Hey Pat, thanks for the invite, I enjoyed it. Sorry had to run and will tell you more the next time we have drinks? Also thanks for the clarification, I could have sworn that I heard New York!
    Hey Claudia, I look forward to that and sorry we did not get a chance to meet.

  • Raph

    December 14, 2008 at 1:07 pm Reply

    I was recently at a Christmas party and got talking to the Australasian head of book buying for Borders Books. Apparently they are now opening “concept stores” in Australia. Except for one slight problem. They are just pitching them as concept stores, there is apparently almost no change or very minimal change to the actual stores except they will be labeled as “Concept Stores”.
    I believe that we are starting to witness the death of the concept store, as companies like Borders begin to dilute the true idea of a concept store. Brands like Nokia, Nike etc.. are going to have to work on a new marketing idea, although I am sure their more ‘true’ concept stores will to continue to work as a great marketing tool for a few more years.

  • claudia

    December 13, 2008 at 8:43 pm Reply

    Nice meeting you last night, well, i didn’t really get to meet you-meet you, ermm… but ya, will sure say hi the next time we meet! 🙂

  • Pat Law

    December 13, 2008 at 5:49 pm Reply

    Hey you,
    We were pleased to have you grace our preview event last evening. It’s just such a shame you couldn’t stay longer! Grrr! I’ll try to book you in advance the next time.
    Actually, the first store opened in London about 3 weeks ago. It’s along Regent Street I believe.
    I’ll upload our pictures and let you know soon.

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