Summit Session: Does Your Store’s Brand Measure Up?

Interior designer Lyn Falk, left, meets with members Vic and Susan Thompson of Thompson Furniture in Columbus, Ind., following her brand-building seminar at Summit.

Consultant Lyn Falk shows members how to create an impactful brand experience

By Andy Kriege, YSN

At last week’s Summit in Las Vegas, retail consultant and interior designer Lyn Falk gave a lively presentation on how to define and celebrate the brand experience for members’ businesses.

Falk is owner/president of Retailworks, Inc., an award-winning design, branding and display firm, and has worked with BrandSource as an expert guest speaker, YSN columnist, and contributor to AVB’s popular Makeover Manual for showrooms.

“The importance of your brand cannot be overstated,” Falk told attendees at her Summit session. “It defines not only who you are as a business but also the entire omni-retail experience as viewed by your existing customers and, more importantly, potential customers who are considering if they want to do business with you.”

Lyn Falk

Most people think of a brand as a two-dimensional logo, she said, which is made up of a font, color palette, and sometimes a graphic. Others may think it also includes a business’s mission statement, and/or a tagline.

However, “Your brand is more than just your logo,” Falk emphasized. “It’s everything your customers see, touch, smell, hear, taste, and feel,” and should quickly and easily represent the identity of your business.

Brand components include logos, graphics, color palettes, and taglines, along with the entire look and feel of one’s website and social media presence, she said. In short, a dealer’s brand should tell the company’s unique story.

See: How to Build a Retail Brand

Brands should also be flexible, long lasting, memorable, fresh, and, most importantly, connect on an emotional level with viewers, Falk said. “It is important to express your store’s unique personality in all you do,” she noted.

What’s more, a store’s brand manifests itself in the sensory/physical world via a dealer’s spokesperson, jingle and/or mascot, as well as the building’s façade and interior look and feel. “Consider every design element within your store’s interior,” Falk advised. “They should all be carefully curated to support your brand. Wall colors, flooring, signage, fixtures, displays, and transaction counters should all coordinate to tell the story of who you are.”

“And don’t forget the music you play and the aromas your customers smell,” she added.

Specifically, signs, displays, decorative accessories, awnings, entrance doors and even door handles all represent a store brand. These items should not be neglected or kept generic, Falk said, as they are all opportunities to reinforce and celebrate one’s brand. “Think of a restaurant that uses an oversized fork and knife for their door handles; this leaves an impression with you. It engages you with their brand before you even enter the space,” she said.

It is also important for a dealer to know who they are targeting, in order to create a brand experience that resonates with that specific audience. To that end, Falk encouraged attendees to take a hard look at their own stores and rate their current brand experience. “Is it fabulous? Does it need a tune up? Does it connect with your target audience? If not, it is time to own your brand and create one that does,” she said.

Yet another critical element is how employees represent the brand. “How they dress, speak and sell are all extremely important to how customers perceive your brand,” she added. “Your employees are walking, talking brand ambassadors!”

Falk’s final words of advice: “While many of you sell popular brands of merchandise that help bring customers into your store, don’t let your business brand get lost in the mix. Your brand should rise above of them all.”

Contact Lyn Falk at lfalk@retailworksinc.com or visit  Retailworksinc.com.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture, and CE dealers.