I recently read an article in INC. that states that “Branding” is a myth, the author was careful to apologize for his opinion, no need to say sorry to me. Over the last to decades I have watched the power of the term rise, along with a number of retail terms that have been replaced with more “modern” terms. the effects of branding have changed the language my profession once called “Display” is now visual merchandising a term that is an appropriate companion for the somewhat haughty definition of branding. The Visual Merchandising magazine used to be called “Display” I can go on, goods used to be called “merch” a “floor reset” used to be a seasonal display change. I used to be called a “trimmer” now I’m a V.M. [veritable masochist] just kidding.
The author went on to state that all the advertising, lifestyle articles and tag lines can’t hide inferior merch [excuse me] “product“. This brings me to the point of this ramble. Lynne and I have discussed a number of web sites mounted by itinerant branding practitioners who claim to be professional in all aspects of branding which includes, store planning, merchandising and all the consulting services of “keeping shop” [ another old term] We have decided that those who claim to Branding experts are blinded by their belief that they can brand themselves as well. Brand recognition is earned not purchased. Branding is simply a more expensive form of advertising. Today’s sophisticated customer can look through the hype and decide whether they like the product or not.
Logo strewn fixtures, light box transparencies and interactive kiosks do not a brand make.” Brands” are created by quality products and word of mouth the most elaborate campaign cannot save a bad reputation. Brooks Brothers is a Brand, Chanel is a Brand, Hermes is a Brand established by years of customer satisfaction and real service. I totally agree with the article, don’t be seduced by adjectives, seek the assistance of those with credentials and a loyal customer base. Consult a “trimmer” to implement your “seasonal display” and “window display” with quality fixtures and “display” your “merch” with care, attentiveness and creativity based on true old school retail experience. Then and only then you will brand yourself with the most important word “Merchant”in every sense of that old word.