Throughout our everyday lives we make our minds up about a brand very quickly, and often without even knowing it. Whilst these judgements can seem quite forgettable, they are actually of great importance, perhaps now more than ever.

As the relentless rise of online continues and a customer’s expectations rise, the purpose of a physical bricks and mortar space is evolving as it attempts to differentiate itself. Many experts had predicted the rapid decline of physical retail and leisure facilities, but it would appear that instead, companies are rethinking their environments, even Amazon is making its name in the world of physical stores with an attempt to offer up something unique. Every company out there is under pressure to provide a physical experience where their customers instantly make a positive judgement and at the end of it leave with a strong lasting impression and are therefore far more likely to return.

A recent survey* found that the consumption of 'experiences' has now outpaced the consumption of 'goods', and therefore the future of any physical place be it a restaurant, retail store or other recreational environment will be where customers now stay and engage for longer periods. This undoubtedly means that leisure brands will be under pressure to think up ways to create engaging internal spaces that give customers a reason to stay and return to their brand.

Merson-ASG have spent the last 75 years delivering signage packages to a vast variety of clients and during this time have witnessed the evolving requirements that that a sign has for a business. Take Aston Martin as one of our project examples. Nothing stands still for too long with this brand, and as part of a recent signage revamp the design intent was to fully engage the customer with everything that Aston Martin stands for; exceptional design, excellent service and timeless luxury. An Internal brand wall, complete with polished stainless-steel lettering, halo illuminated gunmetal letters on the building exterior, freestanding directional signs and an impressive 6m-illuminated pylon were just some of the signage techniques used to grab and engage the customers attention at these dealerships.

Most often we hear people talk about the internal space and experience simply because that’s where they have spent most time; but equally important is how the brand is perceived and experienced from the external environment. A building’s exterior signage is after all the first non-digital interaction that a customer has with the brand and so serves a vital purpose to deliver the ‘first impression.’ Although external branding is and should be about more than just signage, a strong recognisable sign will kick start the customer experience.

Our expansion at Merson Group from specialist signage manufacturers into multi-disciplinary experts allows us to do both. Our external and internal design capabilities mean we can help build a dynamic branded environment that will leave that all-important lasting impression. The upgrade of Thomas Cooks Flagship store was one recent project that represents a great example of this. The concept was to deliver a considered customer journey where the the layout, design and placement of the signage would form a unique update to the experience for the customer. The combination of a completely new look exterior logo along with the use of interesting methods and materials inside to create a more relaxed, welcoming and modern interior, meant customers didn’t just see the new branding, they experienced it too.

As brands continue to go the extra mile to differentiate themselves and leave their mark on the customers, we are excited to be with them on this journey.

Click here to see some of our projects that we have delivered for other companies including Lloyds Banking Group, Tesco and John Lewis Partnership.

(Play and Stay)