Key Themes from 2019 That We Can All Learn From

Find a way to stand out.  This is becoming even more and more important in today’s world of information overload. Whether it’s your own font or celebrating a random, made-up holiday over a traditional one, do things that differentiate you from your competitors.

Grow your reach and resources through collaboration. You might be able to obtain new followers or customers by looking at a partnership with a company who has their own strong brand affinity. Leverage their clout in an authentic way. For example, Johnny Cupcakes (whose founder spoke at IRDC this fall and bills its store as the World’s First T-Shirt Bakery) has partnered with various unlikely brands for licensing deals such as Sanrio to create Hello Kitty shirts. Those limited edition tees solid out in hours, sometimes minutes.

You have to take risks to grow. The Prudential Center in Boston took a risk to remove kiosks that cluttered the paths to stores and restaurants. Those kiosks were the source of revenue, but the Center also knew that it needed to transform its image in order to attract more customers and continue to thrive. They also removed barriers by simply opening doors. What they found: Frictionless shopping experiences brings foot traffic.

People thrive off new experiences. How can you change your merchandise, your store, your offerings, the ambiance to bring customers back? Place-making has become almost cliché. In an era where some malls are struggling, the ones that are transforming the experience are thriving. Think of it as “de-malling” as one conference presenter coined. Take it from a retail experience to a cultural experience.

Think outside your industry. There are lots of learnings from other industries. Find a product, service or corporate philosophy that is similar to yours and look at what they’ve done right, what didn’t work so well and see what you can apply.

Stores still matter. In a vibrantly digital world, physical stores are a way to introduce global products locally and take local products global in markets that might otherwise be tough to crack. The evolution of the third wave integrates online and offline shopping. Stores are also a place to demonstrate what your brand stands for through experiences that will generate memories. That’s something you can’t do digitally.

We’re in the people business. Forget B2C or B2B. Think H2H, or human to human. At JGA, we work for clients who are looking to attract and please customers. Sure, we offer services. But bottom line is that it all comes down to relationships. By paying attention to what they say and do, you can figure out what they need. Building relationships over acquaintances will help your business in the long run. Handwritten notes go far.

Sarah Jo Sautter, Director of Marketing at JGA