Post Categories: March 2016

Executive Perspectives: From the President


Bharat Rupani

Timeless lessons: The power of the brand story and experience

A significant part of the retail industry today is technology. Just as we see the recommendations and reviews throughout this publication this month, we know that quite often around every corner there is another new technology and method to reach shoppers. However, while technology is undeniably essential, and guaranteed to change over time, what has always been a constant in consumer engagement is the ability to create effective and meaningful experiences for shoppers. A clear and succinct brand message, a sample of a product and an interaction with an associate are the things that continue to resonate with shoppers. In fact, according to a survey by American Express, nearly 60 percent of Americans would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. Experiences are not only a key factor in cultivating new shoppers, but essential in keeping the current ones coming back.

Throughout history, marketers have continued to evolve the methods in which they connect to consumers. Consumer engagement really started with vendors calling out their wares when cities and markets first began. Formalized advertising in the form of door-to-door selling has a long history dating to the days when peddlers traveled from town to town with their goods piled in a wagon. In 1882 Procter & Gamble made an unprecedented move when they budgeted a whopping $11,000 to run print advertisements for Ivory soap. By the early 1900s, Kellogg was spending $1 million in advertising Corn Flakes. Radio was eventually the way to reach consumers, and then television had its heyday.

While connecting with consumers has been somewhat of a cumulative evolution, consumers still rely on engagement to drive their purchase decision. According to a McKinsey study, 70 percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. It is the emotional attachment we engender as marketers that helps create fans. By narrating an engaging story and being able to be present across platforms in a consistent fashion, we have an opportunity to bond more effectively with our consumers.

The future will be in our experiences; not in material things, but in the moments we share with each other. I believe, more than ever before, that retailers and brands have not only an opportunity, but an obligation to create a shared experience with shoppers. While our engagement may start with a product sample, it’s the engagement and experience that surrounds that sample that makes an undeniable connection with consumers.

All the best,


Bharat Rupani
President Retail Services