Location And Branding: Customer Experience At Its Best

Use Your Location To Improve Your Brand And Business

Location and brandingEver thought about how your physical location reflects on your brand and your business?

Or did you rent the first available place you could afford without thinking about the marketing implications?

Be honest.

I know other factors are much higher up your real estate requirements list.

As every real estate agent will tell you, Location, location, location!

Location is crucial for your business because it brings your product and brand to life for prospects and their influencers.

Regardless of where, when or how they buy, your retail establishment is your brand’s first Moment of Truth. It must create a quality customer experience (CX). So it’s no surprise—place is one of the marketing 4Ps.

Improve your bottom line by using location branding to extend your business’s personality through your live customer experience.


Location and Branding Examples: Small Business and Big Companies

Location and branding are key for all types of businesses. Often small businesses tend to focus on one location rather than multiple sites.

To appreciate how to integrate location and branding to improve your bottom line, let’s examine both a small business example and a big corporate example.

1. Small business location and marketing example: Eisenberg’s Restaurant

Recently I met a marketing colleague at Eisenberg’s near Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street. It’s a neighborhood destination built on WOM.

Operated continuously for almost 90 years, this New York institution serves a full menu of breakfast and lunch offerings (that probably haven’t changed.) If you want a BLT, peanut butter and jelly or a corn beef sandwich they’ve got you covered.

Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop

Eisenberg’s narrow railroad space is plainly decorated except for the front entry wall. It’s plastered with photos of the owner with recognizable personalities. (Think: Low cost influencer marketing.)

Like Eisenberg’s does your physical location reflect your brand and business to drive revenues?

2. Big Company location and marketing example: Starbucks

Starbucks build their brand by transforming a plain cup of Joe into a premium customer experience.

Starbucks CupThey converted their coffee shops into branded destinations that support high societal goals such as supporting environmentally friendly agriculture. Yet despite their global presence, they are still strongly identified with Seattle, their home base.

To improve the brand experience, Starbucks trains their staff to deliver on their brand promise. They’ve developed their own special language around buying and consuming their products. Even better, Starbucks improves their employee experience with training and benefits. They also adapt to changing tastes.

Coffee drinkers reward themselves with premium-priced, yet affordable indulgences.


5 Key Location and Branding Attributes

Location and branding

For many brick and mortar businesses, a big chunk of their budget goes to physical locations. This is particularly true for small businesses. Therefore your physical space must produce maximum business results because prospects use their smartphones to consult their micro-influencers.

To improve your location branding, take into account these 5 key location brand related attributes:

  1. Physical location. Specifically foot traffic and transportation. Are the people who come through this location interested in what you offer? Does your retail location support your business? Flying Fingers created a yarnmobile to pick up and return knitters to New York City to overcome their suburban location.
  2. Neighborhood. Does your business fit with and contribute to the personality of the neighborhood or does it stand out like a sore thumb? Do people live or visit this location for the type of products or services you offer? New York is composed of lots of small neighborhoods with cute names like Flatiron and Soho.
  3. Accessibility. How easy is it to find, enter and navigate? If you’re not on the first floor of a walk-up building, you limit your potential clientele. The long time Yarn Company on Broadway requires a second floor trek up narrow, uneven stairs. This rules out anyone with difficulty walking.
  4. Window presentation. Does your window work to attract attention and get people walking by into your store? Does your window highlight your offering? Merchandise your location to attract attention. Put your most attention-getting products in the front window.
  5. Competition. How many nearby businesses offer the same or similar products? This isn’t as easy as you may think. Assess your opportunity and need. Include online retailers. For example, delivery-based Fresh Direct has no retail store but parks on my block 7 days a week.


Online Location and Branding

Smiling because you’ve got an online only business so you don’t have to worry about location? 

Think again.

For online only businesses location is defined differently.

  1. URL. This is the online equivalent of a street address. Prime real estate is defined in terms of your URL. Noah Kagan invested 7 figures to acquire Sumo.com to replace sumome.com. Be careful with newer top-level domain extensions since not everyone recognizes them.
  2. SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This is the real estate you “own” on search engines like Google and other search-like services such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and OpenTable. Depending on your business you must appear on rating and review sites. Don’t overlook YouTube.
  3. Email. Can you appear in your prospects’ inbox on a daily basis with special deals and rewards? MarketingProfs does with links to its latest blog posts and promotions for its webinars and conferences.
  4. Mobile. Given the exponential growth of mobile, you must be findable via mobile search. Also be findable for voice search especially for “Near Me” queries where appropriate. This also means local options such as maps.
  5. Notification Bar. Appearing on the top your prospects’ smartphone screens is the ultimate real estate grab for an online business. But you must be careful to provide only the most important alerts or users will trash your app.


Location And Branding Tips

To maximize your marketing investment in your physical place, here are 5 actionable branding tips:

  • Improve your customer experience to welcome buyers. Help them find the items they want and make it easy-to-purchase. In-store mobile experience satisfaction is up 7% in 2017.  For example, Uniqlo provides free alterations.
    Location and Branding
  • Offer samples. Allow potential buyers to try your product first. Trader Joe’s has free samples in the back of their stores.
  • Show buyers how-to use your product. Go beyond your merchandise. Let them see what product looks like in its native environment. It’s pure Marcus Sheridan, They ask, you answer.”  William Sonoma has cooking demonstrations in their stores.
  • Remove buyer risk. One of the small yarn dyers, Miss Babs, packages yarns so you don’t have to worry about your final shawl. She’s chosen colors that work well for a specific pattern and ensures that you have enough of each color. At events, her booth is legendary for long lines and waits.
  • Support customers’ causes. Millennials like to support businesses that give back to society. For example, H&M in New York City offers a 15% Off coupon for customers who donate old clothes to recycled.


Location and Branding Conclusion

Like Eisenberg’s and Starbucks, understand what your prospects, their influencers, buyers and endusers want and need. Utilize your physical location to enhance your brand to creation a must-visit destination.

In today’s multi-channel marketplace, make your customer experience personalized, targeted and timely.

Remember your prospects and buyers use their smartphones to consult with their purchase influencers and endusers via FaceTime and other apps.

Also, they compare prices online.

Therefore take advantage of your location to make each visit special whether shoppers buy or not.

Make your physical location a destination that drives profitable sales.

Enhance your customer experience.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


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Photo Credits: https://www.pexels.com/photo/architecture-building-commerce-escalator-285172/
Eisenberg’s photo:  ©2017 Heidi Cohen, all rights reserved

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