through the

luring glass

the shop window

as 24 hour

selling tool

by

section d

ten advanced principles for

effective brand promotion

Preamble

Good point, well made.

1. Cultural fish bait

Shop windows are very primitive television trailers for an up and coming movie blockbuster.

(But without that gravelly-toned, seductive voice-over).

A window doesn’t even have a guaranteed thirty second attention slot; as a trailer for the shop’s offer, it needs to condense the plot, excitement, glamour, humour and feel-good, must-see factor into a visual soundbite. 

 

Short of A - list celebrity faces, shorthand cultural references can be employed to gainattention and instantly persuade the passer-by to enter Screen One. Sometimes a telescopic rifle approach is needed. Sometimes a blunderbuss. Mixed metaphors, like confusing windows, however, will only confuse.*

 

*see: fishing/cinema/hunting

2. Humour

Section D: an intravenous injection of humour
to the emotional purchase system of the macro-environment (store exterior).

Who doesn’t need cheering up?

In the half-remembered pre-internet, pre-recession, pre-car parking rates, consumer utopia, recreational shopping was fun.

 

Emotion, human contact, atmospherics; everything the internet lacks. Leaving the sofa, finding a parking place, and encountering those one in every seven closed shops* can lead to asking the question: is this fun?

 

 

*One shop in every seven on the high street is now empty.

- Local Data Company, Shop Vacancy Report, 2013

And that’s not funny.

3. Repetition blindness

Too much, too identical, can’t differentiate, no novelty.

Repetition blindness occurs when the frontal cortex has to process an array of similar

visual images all streaming in from the visual cortex. When the brain sees window after

window of interchangeable formats, many sporting very similar colours, words, and

images, a portion of the subconscious brain perceives a big blur.

 

Neurologically programmed to search for differences, we seek out things that enable us tomake sense of the environment and to navigate the world safely and productively. Whenthe brain is presented with a series of repetitive images—even if there are some

differences among them—repetition blindness sets in. The brain no longer sees each

individual image as it would if that image stood alone, or with only a small number of

similar/identical images.

And the importance? 50% of all high street sales are made on impulse.

4. Inspiration offline

Customers’ purchasing behaviour driven by

storytelling and emotions.

As sensation-seekers, consumers enjoy being inspired by a unique range of experiential

shopping environments. Retailers are concerned with the success of market strategies

driven by customers’ desires, perception and satisfaction.

 

The best stories engage by playing on universal human traits and aspirations, embracing

idiosyncrasies, abandoning restraint, and going beyond the basic senses.

The window is not an impenetrable screen; glimpsed through it can be an enticing sensory

experience. Visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory systems influence humans’ cognitive

responses. Among the different sensory systems, visual information primarily influences

how we analyse things around us. Sight not only affects humans physically and

psychologically, but also has strong association with other senses; sight often overrules the

other senses, and has the power to persuade us against all logic. Physical visual

stimulation cannot be underestimated.

 

The window display is the opening paragraph of an irresistible story.

5. Scale etc

It’s a simple enough device.

Playing around with our expectations of proportion can have an immediate, yet simple

impact. Other equally theatrical devices have recently been overlooked. Even the

ubiquitous SALE signage is now firmly part of the brand family (and not the infrequent

visiting, slightly imbecilic third cousin, twice removed, it used to be).

Other tried and tested window concepts your granny taught you to suck:

REPETITION/MULTIPLES/GEOMETRY. ONE SIMPLE HUGE IMAGE. HUNDREDS OF LITTLE IMAGES.

PROPS (where do we start?). CLEVER LIGHTING. ROOM SETS. INTERPRETATION OF ART INSTALLATION.

ALLUSION TO BIG CULTURAL EVENT. FILL THE WINDOW WITH HUNDREDS OF LIVE PUPPIES (arresting,

but messy). PUT REAL PEOPLE IN THE WINDOW. SCREEN/MASK THE WINDOW. ADD A BORDER.

EXTEND THE SCHEME OUTSIDE OF THE GLASS. USE TRANSLUCENT MATERIALS AND LAYERING. JUST

USE TEXT. ADD ONE HUGE OBJECT. ADD ONE TINY OBJECT. MAKE A ROOM SET. HAVE FUN WITH

MIRRORS. USE ILLUSTRATIONS. GO SLICK. GO HAND-MADE. GO TECHNICAL IF YOU MUST...*

*German research group Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute has produced an interactive

flat screen monitor and motion tracker for windows; customers can point at a product for

information, or order products when a store is closed.

6. Talk to me

A little less conversation; words that sell.

Why go to a cafe when you have a packet of good coffee at home?

Consumers are human. Humans are tribal, gregarious, and need strokes.*

A conversation (between the brand & consumer) can often begin in advertising collateral

or online. The widow is that friendly, familiar shout from the other side of the street.

Images, words, props and merchandise may be used in any combination; it is pure

words, however, which retain the potency for specific message carrying.

A monologue which, if successful, turns into an instore dialogue.

* In Transactional Analysis terms, strokes are the recognition, attention or

responsiveness that one person gives another.

7. Hello silence

Another word for words here would be brand noise.

Bombarding the potential consumer with call to action statements is integral to the selling

machine. Occasionally words need to take a back seat.

We like to think of this as the Simon & Garfunkel approach to attracting attention.

Selfridges commenced 2013 with silence as a key theme. Fostering, and selling the idea

of a quieter life, the frantic pace of the festive period was replaced with a message to slow

down: attention is still grabbed, however, by referencing the removal of brand noise,

including the removal of typography from familiar products*.

*Some ideas you just love or hate.

8. Minimalism

Closely related to hello silence.

Distributing a window/VM budget unevenly over a year has several positive benefits;

a variation in pace in the feel of the window; ideas being implemented without fear of

duplicating an equally costed installation; a bigger chunk of the remaining budget being

used for noticeably lavish seasonal spikes.

Interspersing a more minimalist scheme can prove dramatic; sometimes it is simply more

effective to take things away.*

*Sometimes you can’t have too much minimalism.

9. Humanity

The world can seem an ugly place.

Beauty on the high street can register as a source of comfort, and attainable happiness.

10. Hero

Did we mention the product?

There are now 450,000,000,000 brands of top handle satchel handbags in production

throughout the world*. It takes a confident window to direct attention to just one of them.

Confused by overwhelming choice, the consumer looks to the brand curator for

reassurance, expertise, other complementary product adjacencies. Guide me. Inform me.

Surprise me. Convince me this is the one for me (and my budget).

Sometimes a window only needs great product that can speak for itself.

If it can’t speak for itself, you might just have the wrong product.

*No there aren’t. We made that bit up.

Section D

The Hidden Persuaders

London, UK

Branding, Identity, Print, POS, Packaging, Interiors

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T: 07860 308691

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Branding, Identity, Print, POS, Packaging, Interiors