Lessons From Retail

16 Jul

It is almost amusing to hear radio stations talk about branding.

They really know very little about it.

In my day job at DMX we create branded music and video programs for retail, restaurants, casinos, fitness centers, etc. Name any kind of retail business and we do something for it.

Retail brands are not created equal.

Some are absolutely meticulous about every detail related to their brand.

Others are less so.

Those paying closest attention sell more and thrive on on Wall Street.

The others just come and go.

I’ve spent the past few days working with a major retailer and their five brands.

At least two of the brands can be considered ‘iconic’.

The others are on their way.

In radio we worry about Christmas music the week before Thanksgiving.

In retail the Christmas floor sets are currently getting their finishing touches, and we’re deep into the holiday music season.

To give you an idea of how far ahead retailers work, ‘Back To School’ is currently in the stores. Next year’s ‘Back To School’ is already in mock-up.

These brands have full working models of their stores at their offices. They set, reset, set again until the store is perfect. Then they outline in pictures and writing for the managers how the store is supposed to look.

Find a radio station that thinks like that.

Perhaps Ron Jacob’s systems at KHJ were closest. But it is rare to find a station that thinks past this quarter, or plans in such detail.

This is what it takes to be an iconic brand. Detail, detail detail.

Competing retailers sometimes say they want their branded music to be our like our client’s.

Inside I laugh.

They have no idea how much attention goes into the details.

Greatness looks easy. But it requires enormous work.

Take a walk through the mall and notice the brands that stand out. Think about the radio dial and do the same exercise.

Would you be able to focus on the details down to the softness of the fabric and color of the displays?

What do you accept that compromises your station brand values?

Have you outlined your brand values in writing?

Does everyone on your staff understand what your brand stands for?

Do you live it, eat it, sleep it?

Great branding is details, details, details.

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Posted by on July 16, 2008 in Radio programming


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