A shopping mall, like any other product or service, must work to create, maintain and promote its brand. And to successfully maintain that brand, shopping mall’s must work hard, be consistent, patient, clear in its brand advertising.
With so many purchasing options and channels available to today’s consumer, staying top of mind to the consumer is very important to a shopping centre, for today and for the long term. A well branded shopping centre can dominate its market, provide superior sales opportunities for its tenants, while also being more successful in attracting the most desirable tenants.
On a daily basis, shopping mall marketing managers should be concerned about how they can positively influence their brand. This takes work, enthusiasm, consistency in approach, the will to win and an adequate budget.
One way to do this is to walk the mall and search out material from tenants that would prove valuable information to customers, i.e.: sales, new products, store specific events. All this helps to re-enforce the shopping mall’s brand in
the eyes of the consumer.
Communicating the brand to the shopper
A brand does not remain relevant over time unless it is constantly reinforced and refreshed. And as the economy changes and as the trade area evolves, the brand message will need to be updated. A shopping centre brand is communicated to its customers in many different ways and through many different channels.
Constant, active promotional activity which associates the centre with its targeted brand message is invaluable. A shopping centre must know its personality and positioning relative to its competition, and then consistently communicate
that brand message in all of its marketing efforts. But the brand message is not only communicated through marketing and advertising efforts, it’s also done through the way that customers are treated at the center, the effectiveness of customer service, the level of security, and the ambiance and similar factors. These all impact the consumers perception and level of loyalty to the brand.
A message that falls on deaf ears is a waste of resources, so a shopping centre must be fully aware of how their target market views their brand. One of the goals of successful branding is to create “top of mind” awareness so that
when a consumer has a specific need well branded center becomes the first destination. When customers are loyal to the brand, and the brand is the only solution for their needs the brand’s goal is reached.
Maintaining the Brand
A successful brand won’t last forever. Maintaining the brand requires diligence, consistency and frequent repetition. Over time, it is easy to stray from the key components of the brand due to seasonality, special events, changing fashion or even from new staff that don’t understand the brand. So while it’s important to maintain a well established brand, it doesn’t mean freezing doing the same thing all the time, throughout time. As the market changes, so must a brand.
It may become necessary to adjust the brand when the shopping centre undergoes physical changes, or when tenants come and go or when new competitors or competitive channels or technological innovations enter the market. We certainly have seen this occur as social media as become so widespread.
Persistence and Patience
Successful branding depends on a long-term commitment. The payback is seldom reached in a short time frame but the results of this long-term commitment can have significant competitive advantages. It’s like training your dog…it takes daily effort, patience, a commitment from your whole family (the organization), and the willingness to adjust the strategy over time.