Thomas Cook Delivers new Flagship Experience
Today, many retailers are creating flagship stores to create buzz for their brand and for many these flagship experiences are an essential part of their brand strategy. These stores are seen as an investment in which to create a memorable customer experience, something that generates excitement and a sense of both interest and connect with the environment.

A unique environment will immediately gain attention and is a vital part of any flagship store, however it is the combined efforts of aesthetics and experience that make for the most successful results.

The rising significance of effective branding through flagship experiences has long been recognised by Merson Group. Following an expansion from specialist signage manufacturers into multi-disciplinary experts, we are now capable of delivering complete internal and external design solutions, and our portfolio of services now ranges from façade cladding and environmental design to wayfinding and merchandising architecture, right down to the POS displays that all encourage the unique flagship customer experience.

Here, we are taking a look a Thomas Cook flagship store in Stratford, which is one of our recently completed signage projects and forms part of a programme of store upgrades. The Stratford Branch represents the new concept named the ‘Discovery Store’, and was the first to be completed.

Merson-ASG were briefed by Thomas Cook, Sigma Leeds Ltd & design agency Wanda Creative to deliver a new signage concept for Thomas Cook flagship stores. The new concept is about delivering a considered customer journey and therefore the layout, design and placement of the signage were all created to form an interesting update to the experience for the customer. We worked particularly closely throughout with Sigma Leeds Ltd, the contracted shop fitters; to ensure the end result was put together to perfectly reflect the design brief.

The brief for the exterior signage was to create a contrast to the usual white background and black signage, by flipping the colours and creating a dynamic black brick tiled effect background with white signage. Tongue and groove cladding using Merson-ASG extrusion was used to create a strong, durable panel whilst adding aesthetic interest. The logo itself was created using illuminated letters bringing a soft glow of light to bring clarity to the brand name.

The Interior signage included a range of interesting methods and materials to create a visually striking experience. Large wall frames were created to showcase printed graphics, and the design was manufactured and installed to allow for the prints to be interchangeable. A built up LED illuminated logo created a stand out interior brand sign. Further interest was created by the design of suspended mobile signage; created in the shape of aeroplanes these signs are a real stand out addition to the look of the store. The use of light boxes and digitally printed graphics add interesting modern touches throughout and visual interest to the customer experience.

The broad spectrum of services required for such a project included:

• Technical design
• Sign manufacture and installation
• Light box feature manufacture and installation
• Extrusion cladding manufacture and installation
• LED illuminated signage
• Suspended signage

As customers increasingly expect visually appealing retail hubs packed with themed signage and a welcoming ambience, the next brand leaders will be the companies who achieve this quickly and effectively. For Thomas Cook, this is the first of a series of flagship upgrades and is their step towards taking their customer experience to the next level.

Take a closer look at this project.