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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Tuesday, April 8 2014 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Best Retail Brands 2014

    Interbrand has released the Best Retail Brands 2014 report. The report examines 150 of the world’s most valuable retail brands across four regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

    In addition to ranking the top 50 North American retail brands, the top 50 European retail brands, the top 30 Asia-Pacific retail brands and the top 20 Latin American retail brands, the Best Retail Brands 2014 report also provides readers with key digital trends, global insights on enhancing in-store experiences, regional overviews and a close examinations of seven sectors within the retail space: Apparel, Electronics, Department Store, Drugstore, Grocery, Home Improvement, and Mass Merchant. Exclusive and in-depth interviews with executives from top retailers such as CVS/pharmacy, Darty, The Container Store and PriceMinister are also available.

    This year, Walmart is the most valuable retail brand in North America (and across all four regions) with a brand value of USD $131.877 billion. Looking beyond North America, the following brands ranked as the top retailer in their respective regions:

    H&M – USD $18.168 billion (Europe)

    Woolworths - USD $4.948 billion (Asia-Pacific)

    Natura - USD $3.156 billion (Latin America)

    As the role of digital revolutionizes the world of retail, leading retail brands are adapting more quickly and successfully than others. From mobile shopping to virtual fitting rooms, the world’s most valuable retail brands are proving that reimagining the customer journey through a digital lens is the path to success.

    “The structural shift from physical to digital retail has not been painless—and reinvention is a must,” notes Interbrand’s Global Chief Executive Officer, Jez Frampton. “But we know that extraordinary retail brands will not only survive the transition—they will become more extraordinary because of it.”

    Click here to read the 2014 Best Retail Brands report in full or follow the conversation on social media by using #BestRetailBrands.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Friday, February 14 2014 05:55 PM | Comments (0)

    We Heart Retail

    Tonight in Long Beach, California, the Queen Mary will go pink for Valentine's Day and the launch of MIXIM Greek yogurt in the US. The brand hopes to set a new Guinness World Record for the number of couples feeding each other and plans to set off pink and purple heart shaped fireworks later in the evening. Online retailer Infibeam is having its delivery people serenade customers in cities in India like Bangalore and Mumbai while delivering its cakes, chocolates and flowers. What innovative ideas have you seen from your favorite brands this Valentine's Day?

    Interbrand Design Forum has been celebrating this day dedicated to honoring love sharing their love of retail. "We’re a diverse group of creatives, thinkers, planners, shoppers and strategists, all unified by our love of retail," they note.

    Team members shared their own retail brand love stories. From Target to Starbucks to Patagonia, stories of brand loyalty thanks to brands' commitment to Corporate Citizenship, effective digital communications and rewards programs were shared.

    Interbrand offices around the globe got into the fun conversation.

    What's your favorite retail brand? Tweet with #WeHeartRetail to join the conversation.

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  • Posted by: Brittany Waterson on Friday, February 7 2014 09:43 AM | Comments (0)
    Ralph Lauren

    Ralph Lauren is a globally iconic and sought after brand. Best known for its elegant and classic designs, the brand has quickly become synonymous with outfitting top athletes and sponsoring premiere sporting events. The premium lifestyle brand prides itself on creating high-quality garments rooted in Ralph Lauren’s Americana vision. From Wimbledon to the Sochi Olympics, Ralph Lauren is constantly reinforcing its brand as suppliers of superior athletic apparel.

    Within the last 10 years, the brand has worked with the best competitions in tennis, golf, and has now partnered with the Olympics. The uniforms designed for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games marks the fourth collaboration between Ralph Lauren and the US Olympic Committee.

    For the Sochi Olympics, the brand can proudly display a Made in America label on the designs. The Opening Ceremony uniforms at the 2013 London Olympic Games fell into controversy, having been largely produced in China. But this year, domestic production was key. The brand created a video explaining the story behind the production of the garments, showcasing the progression from raw wool to the design studio.

    “We see a macro shift taking place in luxury consumption from ‘showing’ to ‘knowing,’ from more overt statements of accumulation to a more meaningful sense of self-expression and indeed self-discovery," says Rebecca Robins, Director EMEA LatAm for Interbrand and co-author of Meta-luxury: Brands and the Culture of Excellence. "As such, the threads of craftsmanship, history and provenance have never been more integral to brands and to brand storytelling. Authenticity has to come as standard.”

    The Opening Ceremony outfit was revealed on The Today Show on January 23, 2014, displaying a patriotic palette of red, white and blue. David Lauren told The Today Show that he was “inspired by classic American patchwork quilts and sweaters, specifically the made-by-hand look.” The uniform includes a patchwork cardigan, cream cotton turtleneck sweater, fleece athletic pants, and black leather boots. Through the purchase of the limited edition cardigan, 100% of the profits from the piece will go to the US Olympic Committee.

    Growing globally and having the opportunity to be seen worldwide is a testament to the Ralph Lauren brand. From its previous collaborations with the Olympics, the brand has become a natural fit as the official Team USA Olympic outfitter. Both the Olympics and Ralph Lauren work together to create a complementary story based on athletic excellence at the world’s most highly regarded sporting event.

    The Olympic Games often bring out a sense of patriotism in all of us. There is no better way to align an American brand, than outfitting Team USA. When similar brand values align through partnerships it creates a stronger story. Brand partnerships become memorable and hopefully, mutually beneficial. Designing for the Olympics is not only an incredible opportunity for Ralph Lauren, but also a way to reinforce its position and purpose as a purveyor of American style and design.

    Brittany Waterson is an Associate in Interbrand's Global Communications and Marketing team.

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  • Posted by: Floortje Beemsterboer on Monday, December 9 2013 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
    Regent Street

    Recently J.Crew solidified its presence on the London high street with the opening of its first international flagship store on Regent Street. As the brand’s fastest growing online market, the UK is a viable growth opportunity for the classic American brand. Senior management has described the brand’s international growth strategy as “thoughtful” and “careful” and the success of the London store will determine whether or not J.Crew moves forward with their plans of expanding to Asia next Spring.

    The brand’s establishment of bricks-and-mortar in London has provided a unique opportunity to engage and delight customers beyond the experience the brand offered them thus far online. On its opening day cabs in J.Crew’s signature bright colours waited in front of stores, ready to take customers for a complimentary ride. Shoppers were feted with tulips and umbrellas decorated with fun statistics about the rainfall in London and NYC, a clear indicator of the brand’s cool yet accessible persona and a nod to its growing international presence. The highly anticipated opening succeeded in being an engaging and memorable experience, a testament to the brand’s attention to detail and commitment to delivering exceptional shopping experiences.

    Lauded for the level and consistency of its customer service, J.Crew is a brand that understands in business, people come first. Indeed, the example is often cited of CEO Millard Drexler personally calling customers who have had a negative experience with the brand.

    Whether online or in-store, J.Crew offers an experience tailored to the customer’s increasing demands for efficiency and quality. Ahead of the Christmas shopping season, the brand has partnered with MasterCard to offer an easier and faster payment method for customers shopping both online and in-store. It is fast becoming clear that the brand is setting an example for other retail brands on how to engage consumers successfully and consistently across all touchpoints.

    Reportedly, finding salespeople in the UK with the brand and product knowledge necessary to deliver a customer experience on par with that in the US was a challenge. In response, the brand has brought staff from America to train British employees, to ensure they deliver the service and product knowledge the brand prides itself on and that customers have come to expect. Maintaining this consistency as the brand enters new markets will be key to its continued success.

    Although a higher price tag relative to the US may deter some shoppers in the UK – those looking for the inimitable J.Crew experience will no longer need to cross the pond to find it.

    Floortje Beemsterboer is a Consultant on the Strategy team at Interbrand London.

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  • Posted by: Michael Quirke on Wednesday, June 26 2013 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

    3d Printing

    Tesco has just announced it is trying out 3D printing technology for its chain of stores. We ask a few questions around it: What can it do for Tesco's brand? What are the implications for business? How is this likely to expand?

    Firstly, let's get some context. 3D printing is very hyped at the moment – from artwork to practical applications like prosthetics, machine parts, implants, prototypes and even whole houses. The idea that a business, NGO or individual can print out fully-functional pre-designed objects, that harness the power and intricacy of a computer-generated model (cf. a plastic straw with water-filtering core printed inside; a house designed using biochemical algorithms), is certainly revolutionary for manufacturing. Even if it is not, as some have claimed, "bigger than the internet."

    The controversy around, and dangers of, mass-production and replication have been extensively laid out elsewhere, especially when it comes to weapons production such as guns and knives. While the debate globally about how best to regulate and monitor such uses continues, it's clear also that mass production can be used for tremendous good.

    Enter Tesco. What's a supermarket doing with 3D printing? As a global chain touching millions of shoppers across UK, Europe and Asia (75m shopping trips/week, according to its site), it has the power to do good in its own way. Paul Wilkinson, the Innovation Ambassador who is overseeing these tests, mentions three potential uses in-store: personalised gifts, child-designed toys and repairs for broken items. This last sounds incredible! Imagine taking in your old 1997 Black and Decker and, finding nowhere that will replace its loose power connector cable, printing a new, perfectly-fitting spare one direct from its original design. Off you go.

    The real threat comes to high-street DIY/repair stores like Timpson's (in the UK) and, to a lesser extent, B&Q. For our global readers, Timpson is a fondly-held chain of shoe repair, key-cutting and knick-knack engraving shops around UK and Ireland. Its store-fronts are usually small, but it's been around as a family business since 1865 and its generous support of employees ("happy staff make happy customers") have regularly earned it a place in The Sunday Times' Top 10 Companies to Work For. Just as we have witnessed the "death of high-street" or purely retail stores (Jessops, Woolworths, HMV) thanks to the convenience of buying online, so the convenience of repairing or modifying physical objects while shopping for milk will likely hurt local repair shops. The question of when depends on how quickly Tesco's 3D printing moves from plastics to metals.

    For big DIY stores, like B&Q or Home Depot, though they may find sales undercut at the tool retail end, unless Tesco completely changes its model from accessible local stores and superstores with small goods to huge, more disparate warehouses from which customers are happy to carry hefty building materials, they should be safe. Such a shift seems unlikely.

    How is this likely to expand, then, and what are the lessons for brands? Firstly, Tesco's move demonstrates strong principles for retail leaders – be useful to customers, be ambitious with your brand and be innovative with your space. We have seen Burberry leading the way for fashion, blending the physical and digital experience; now Tesco is doing the same for the convenience sector.

    Secondly, experiment with new technologies. 3D printing is not an immediately obvious move for supermarkets with the use cases that are touted in the media. But, just as Apple saw the advantage of being the distribution network for apps, Tesco will own the distribution network for small, cheap household parts. The opportunities for its supplier partners are attractive.

    Thirdly, don't compete: make your own market. While its main UK competitors, Sainsbury's and Asda, wage constant price wars on supermarket items, Tesco is reaping profits on a global battlefield all of its own, alongside Walmart and Carefour. Easing this cross-market stretch is both a healthy approach to technology and a smart brand strategy that complements its business goals, carrying it beyond just groceries to becoming the ultimate convenience brand for daily life.

    Michael Quirke is a Consultant at Interbrand London.

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