[Branding] Opportunity Lost

I went shopping at the local mall in my hometown of Scranton (Yes, there IS a Dunder Mifflin store) today, something I do perhaps once a year because in general I prefer main street shopping over the artificially created ‘mall village.’ My daughter and I entered from the below street level parking lot via an escalator that took us directly into one of the anchor department stores. I knew there were 2 anchors in the mall, but I didn’t know which one I entered, and it took me 5 minutes of walking around to find out. Only after I asked the salesperson what store I was in was I sure I was in The Bon Ton.

Are you missing the opportunities?

There wasn’t a single sign in the entire store that told you where you were; not one when you entered, none in the Elevator, none on the sale tags, and absolutely ZERO on the displays. Sure, there were sale signs and promotional displays for specific brands, but nothing in the store spoke a word of the store’s brand. Not only does that tell the customer that this store is not trying to create a unique experience, it tells the customer that they could be in any store, anywhere – this place isn’t special. How on earth does a company build brand loyalty this way??

Each department – cosmetics, children’s, shoes – is an opportunity for branding the store and the experience, and The Bon Ton took advantage of none of these. Think this is anecdotal? Well it’s not… I have visited thousands of smaller retail stores across the country and many of them have an insignificant sign on the outside and absolutely ZERO