Thriving in the New Normal: Showbranding

Source: Delta Air Lines

For the past several weeks, I’ve been sharing some thoughts about the challenges to retail caused by COVID-19, along with some ideas about how retailers can respond.

Today, I want to share something I’ve been exploring recently with clients, a way to rethink our retail spaces as we head into the fourth quarter.

I call it showbranding — improving the retail experience during COVID by showcasing with select adjacent brands to enhance the shopper’s visit to your store.

It’s about acting quickly and decisively to respond to the challenges of COVID, and it’s similar to a step Delta and Lysol have taken with impressive speed.

On the way to the airport in Atlanta, there’s a billboard that used to tout the comfort of Delta’s lie-flat business class seats. Today, it advertises the airline’s new partnership with Lysol to improve cleanliness.

It’s a huge boon for both brands, and it’s something that in normal times would have required a minimum of six months of brand approvals and work with high-priced brand agencies.

But these are not normal times.

So who’s your Lysol? It’s time to move fast and find them. Think about who could be a perfect fit to enhance the experience for your customers, look for common goals — and work together to reward shoppers for coming into your store.

Because right now, you’re keeping a retail space available for about 15 percent of the people who used to come in — so it’s time to join forces and offer some new experiences.

You’re doing so much to improve cleanliness and rethink your space to help your shopper feel safe — why not go one step further and say, “This shopping season is unlike any other. To make your experience in our store even better, we made an arrangement with XYZ Brand, because we love them and we think you will too. Thank you for coming in today.”

If two brands can work together and share space to create a special event that drives traffic, you can improve the perception of both brands in the shopper’s eyes, bring her better value for her time, and enhance her glee at having chosen to visit your store.

Yes, these are the kinds of things that usually take six months or more to negotiate. But these are unusual times, and you should be making unusual deals.

In the weeks to come, I’ll continue to explore some ways you can respond to the challenges of COVID while future-proofing the retail experience.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me directly here, or click here to download our white paper on responding to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.



A geek with a retail operations and customer experience background

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Andy Austin

A geek with a retail operations and customer experience background