A store’s image is reflected in its customers
Before you read another word, look around your selling floor. What kind of customers do you see? Are they primarily from one age group? A certain gender? A specific income bracket? Good or bad, your customers mirror your stores image in the marketplace.
Buying habits, particularly of luxury items, are motivated more by how a product makes customers feel than by what it costs. Shoppers consistently choose brands they like and respect brands that feel like old friends.
In fact, well-established brands have personalities just like people. Some are male, some female. Some old, some young. Others are fast-talking, athletic, mellow or shy. Its true of cars, cruise lines, jewelry stores even of soup. Try imagining Campbells Soup as a person. Did you think of a female? Is she warm and motherly? Concerned about her familys well-being? Its easy to picture her because thats the image Campbells wants you to see. Every piece of Campbells advertising builds a mother-child relationship between its products and you. Its Campbells brand and its worth its weight in silver soup spoons.
Whats Your Brand Identity?
Determine whether your store has that same level of recognition. Beware: How you see your brand may not be how others see it. The easiest way to know if you have a strong image that appeals to your target audience is to examine your typical customer. What did you see when you went out on the floor? Retirees? Twenty-somethings? Professionals? Blue-collar workers? If your average customer is female, over 50 and old money, thats the image you project. And thats fine if these are the customers you want your brand to attract.
Be brutally honest when evaluating your brand identity. If youre not reaching your desired customers, its probably because they dont feel good when they hear your name. Or worse, your image may be so vague they have no opinion at all. They dont dislike you; they just dont know you.
Your stores brand is the most vital key to your success and longevity. Decide what kind of person you want your store to be, then make sure everything you say or do fits that image. Choose advertising your ideal customers will like and respect. Remember, youre building a relationship your ads must touch your ideal customer in a personal way. Dont cheat and bribe them with a sale! Relationships arent built on price-point advertising or clearance sales. You must become their friend someone they want to stick with no matter what the cost. A loyal customer base is the only way to increase and sustain sales over the long term.
by Denise Meyer
Denise Meyer is creative director of Fruchtman Marketing, a full-service agency in Toledo, OH, representing independent jewelers across the U.S. You can reach the agency by contacting Ellen Fruchtman at (419) 539-2770, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.fruchtman.com.