How Changes in Brand Experience have Transformed our Business
Today, consumers expect a seamless brand experience. Coffee shops proudly display location-specific signage to imply a sense of community involvement, while car dealerships display dynamic shots of their vehicles in motion behind static showroom models. Every aspect of a customer-facing environment needs consideration nowadays, from colour co-ordination to optimised customer pathways and wayfinding signage.
From the outside in
Any overhaul should begin outside, with a survey in 2015 suggesting 60 per cent of businesses reported increased visitor levels and sales when their signage was redesigned or enhanced. External signs must be visible from a good distance on all sides of a building, with illumination during the hours of darkness. New-build supermarkets and large retail units increasingly sport timber cladding and curved metal façades that exude quality and style, creating a subliminal impression of a quality establishment worth visiting.
More significant changes have been taking place internally, building upon the promises and connotations inferred by logos and taglines. One national bank has given its high-street outlets the ambience of an executive club, with coffee machines and comfortable sofas in lieu of plastic kiosks and pens on chains. The ASK Italian restaurant chain has introduced wall panels filled with descriptive words like ‘perfect’ and ‘natural’ to reinforce positive brand perceptions, while a monochrome theme in ASK restaurants extends from flooring and tables to vases and menus. With almost three quarters of purchasing decisions made in-store, the customer experience should always be as positive as possible.
Even the use of logos has progressed far beyond two-dimensional plastic panels, with supermarkets demonstrating how logos can be incorporated everywhere from recycling bins to wayfinding signage to establish a cohesive identity. Constant brand reinforcement can build positive connotations whenever the product or service meets with customer approval, subconsciously encouraging repeat custom and generating a greater sense of value for money.
At the forefront of change
The rising significance of effective branding, and the burgeoning number of forms it can take, has long been recognised by Merson Group. We have expanded from specialist signage installers into multi-disciplinary experts capable of delivering complete internal and external design solutions. Our portfolio of services now ranges from façade cladding and environmental design to wayfinding and merchandising architecture, right down to the POS displays that can encourage impulse purchases while delivering free advertising to a captive audience.
The expansion of Merson into complementary industries has been aided by the huge diversity of materials available nowadays. From lightweight timber-effect Fortina cladding to window films and text-heavy vinyl boards, there is a material to suit every situation. Low-energy lighting solutions can provide round-the-clock illumination, while the fast-growing digital signage sector delivers eye-catching advertising that can achieve a 31 per cent increase in brand awareness. Artificial timbers offer durable low-maintenance alternatives to classy wooden finishings, with the added benefits of being easy to install and simple to replace. After all, it’s important to remember that presentation trends will continue evolving over the next decade, just as they have over the last ten years. The most successful refurbishments can easily be altered or replaced as circumstances (or fashions) change.
Building tomorrow’s brand leaders
Many of Merson Group’s products and services have been introduced into our catalogue in response to customer demand, as growing numbers of companies seek cohesive environments that reinforce their ethos and image. We recognise each brand has its own characteristics and challenges, which is why every solution we offer is tailored to keep that client at the forefront of presentation and branding. This frequently varies from one store or outlet to the next, with different challenges to be overcome according to the architecture and layout of specific buildings.
Although many companies already recognise the benefits of adopting a consistent brand experience, those who haven’t will increasingly struggle. Today’s successful high street retailers have survived and thrived by creating a unifying theme across every store, whereas the ever-growing roster of failed high street brands includes companies who were slow (or reluctant) to keep up with their competitors. Customers now expect visually appealing retail hubs packed with themed signage and a welcoming ambience, and the brand leaders of tomorrow will be the companies who achieve this quickly and effectively.
to explore how Merson can help your business create more compelling Building Environments for your customers.
Posted by Gavin McMurray
Wednesday, June 1, 2016