I came across this blog today authored by C.B. Whittemore: Flooring the Consumer. Although her business is floor finishing, she has many great posts on all aspects of marketing and consumer satisfaction in the shopping experience. In her own words: As Director, In-Store Innovation for Solutia’s Wear-Dated carpet fiber, I track consumer trends and am fascinated with digital and brick/mortar retailers who are passionate about meeting the needs of their consumers. I know I will be back to read more on her blog today this particular post caught my eye.

Michael Cape on the Brand Promise:

“The Brand Promise: Connecting With Your Customer Through Marketing, Store Environment and Online” was the subject of Michael Cape’s keynote presentation at the December 2006 TREX show in NYC.

At the time of the presentation, Cape was VP of Brand Marketing for JC Penney. He has since accepted the position of EVP for Old Navy [see 2/26/2007 DDI Magazine article Michael Cape Names Old Navy’s EVP Marketing].

Exciting changes have taken place at JC Penney during Cape’s tenure: the introduction of Sephora as a store within a store, a pop-up store in Times Square, a successful turnaround and expansion. No wonder he has decided to join Old Navy. Things were probably starting to get boring!

Cape started with the following questions. Notice that each one relates to the CONSUMER, not to the store or products.

1. What does the brand stand for in the heart/mind of the consumer?
2. Is your brand relevant to your customer’s life?
3. Does your brand make an emotional connection with your customer? [Get away from brand arrogance and build an emotional connection.]4. Is your brand an inspiration to you customer?

…Cape repeatedly emphasized the criticality of delivering on the brand promise within the store environment. The store entrance should display ceremony and tie into the rest of the brand experience; all brand elements within the store [e.g., light fixtures, the red cube, and 3 different ways to shop] should tie into the campaign. And, don’t forget that in-store displays absolutely influence consumers!

How better to convey these points to the customer than through large visual graphics? An image of a bride on her wedding day, a child holding a grown up’s hand, or a family having a picnic on a sunny day can catch the viewer’s attention and communicate the point right away. It can instantly make an emotional connection with your customer. Adding your brand to the graphics makes the retention of your company name even stronger.