Omnichannel challenge of the week: universal brand experience

If you’ve looked at the other entries on this blog, by now you can tell that the CloudTags team does a lot of research “on the street.” One of the things we research and examine for designer brands is how their brands are experienced in the store. Whether its Tommy Hilifiger, Levi’s, Paul Smith or Polo – they all work to create a vivid and distinct brand experience. The look, feel and ideas behind these iconic brands fuel significant amount of their success, and this is made possible by diverse type of experiences with their brand – social media, TV advertisements, billboard and print ads.

However, what we’ve found for many of these brands is that the actual in-store experience in department stores is often the most overlooked and under-utilized opportunity to impress, inspire and win over new brand advocates. Crosschannel and omnichannel necessitate a universal brand experience across touchpoints and the interaction with actual human beings representing the brand is truly that last mile in a consumer’s brand perception. When putting the onus of brand representation in the hands of some of their lowest paid hourly employees, how can brands do more to ensure the billions they spend on consumer marketing aren’t squandered by a poor store experience?


When we go into various department stores carrying these brands, the visual merchandising is controlled by the designer brand but there is no brand experience. There may be an experience on a website or on the Facebook page, but in the stores there are only color displays and clothes. Why is their no personalization and why do the staff members assigned to that designer brand know little to nothing about the brand other than whether they are in or out of stock of medium sized T-shirts?

It seems that the further away people are from making a purchase, like customers seeing a TV ad or a Facebook post, the more creative and engaging the experience. Yet when you’re physically in the store, holding the actual product with money in your pocket, that experience lacks a personal touch. We enjoy working for clients and asking simple questions in the department stores like, “can you tell me something about this designer/brand?” Or something like, “what is this brand all about?” They usually revert to telling you this shirt is a great orange color that’ll look fabulous on you or they, in many many cases, completely make things up.


So why is this? With the ability to personalize the creative and engagement customer experiences with a brand, why is the default experience relegated to boring shelves and store associates who make up stories? We believe that this is going to change, and fast. As department stores and design boutiques alike shake their head at showrooming, they have to treat the in-store experience as paramount to the already creative and engagement experiences of advertising and social media. The time is now. Any brand who is investing billions in their back inventory management and supply chain systems, had better spend a little more time on the omnichannel universal brand experience that happens with the people on the front lines in the stores. Technology on personal devices can help us get there. If I’m the senior brand marketer for any of these consumer icons, I’d probably sleep better at night knowing that someone hired last week isn’t making up stories about their good old friends Paul and Tommy. They’re still alive … aren’t they?


One thought on “Omnichannel challenge of the week: universal brand experience

  1. the last tip really rang a bell in my head! like i awylas find myself rummaging through my bag and with the amount of stuffs in it, it can get pretty frustrating when i can’t find it and feel like there’s a million pair of eyes just waiting. hahathanks, great tips!

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