John Lewis gives shoppers more at Westfield

The new, much anticipated, John Lewis store opened recently in Westfield’s White City £600m extension so we couldn’t resist checking it out.

While not as large as the Oxford Street store, this new flagship still boasts an impressive 230,000 sq ft of retail space over 4 floors (that’s almost 4 Wembley stadium pitches!). And at £33m, it’s not a cheap way to open the brand’s 50th store. So has the investment been worth it?

Westfield has dramatically extended the centre so it’s now officially the largest shopping centre in Europe with the John Lewis store a very definite anchor. We entered through the centre where the approach is pretty impressive. Located at one end of the new aisle under a magnificent glass roof, the store sits proudly, more reminiscent of a religious pilgrimage destination than a retail unit.

The entrance on the first floor is flanked by 4 window displays, each displaying a simple, bright and strong display in the iconic John Lewis style with the rallying cries of their summer campaign, ‘Time to pump up the lilo’ and ‘Time to burn the sausages in the garden’… where do we sign up?!Whippet_JL_4

On entering, the usual mix of curated fashion, beauty and home brands are available but what’s really striking is the obvious attempt to make the store feel like a true experience as opposed to a mere functional space. One of the ways John Lewis have done this is with the emphasis on service and experience as a key differentiator. And the addition of 23 bespoke services including lingerie fitting, technical support, personal styling, home design, opticians and beauty spa treatments definitely make for a dazzling mix of options designed to encourage behaviour beyond the traditional ‘in and out shop’ to a planned ‘afternoon out’ destination.Whippet_JL_2

Managing Director, Paula Nickolds says they wanted to create “a place to shop, do and learn under one roof… a new level of personalised, curated shopping which until how has been the preserve of boutique shops.” And we think John Lewis has certainly delivered on that promise.

There are daily fashion talks in the Style Studio, cookery classes in The Demo Kitchen, craft classes and interior design talks in The Discovery Room, to name but a few. And this is before you venture into the supremely chilled Sleep Studio to test mattresses, explore the Smart Home area or design your own rug and sofa to go with your unique flooring choice.Whippet_JL_3

What John Lewis has successfully achieved is a great experience – we forgot we were in a busy West London shopping centre and happily bought into the personalised, service-driven experience. That’s when we headed to new bar, Smith and Sinclair for an edible cocktail.

John Lewis, we salute you. You have certainly not knowingly oversold this one!



Sean Dwyer

How to make your brand work harder by sweating the details

We’ve all heard that when it comes to branding, the devil is in the details, but what does that actually mean today? In a world where product is no longer at the centre of the brand proposition, for the consumer, the details actually are the brand.  What do they represent? Do this brand’s values fit into the way I see myself?  When I buy something from this brand, is it a simple transaction, or can it be a real relationship? Even the smallest encounters with a brand contribute to the picture of who a brand is in a consumer’s mind, so every interaction has to be meaningful. But what does this mean in practice? We’ve gathered a few examples we’ve seen recently to illustrate how just a few small things can make your brand work harder.

Find new touch points on the customer journey to inject brand personality

By Chloe is a casual dining chain serving vegan twists on popular American foods. It’s (luckily for us!) just opened up in our neighbourhood. They literally don’t miss even the smallest moment to express their brand personality. From floor to ceiling, all the way down to napkins and tip jars, you only need to make one visit and you get a great idea of what they are all about: vegan food with a sense of humour. Everything in the restaurant is meticulously designed and planned to fit together, and that creates a really memorable and recognisable brand experience.


Use existing brand assets in a new way when you pivot

Rapha started as a luxury cycling sportswear company, making tight-fitting performance wear for road cyclists, but when they expanded their brand to include lifestyle-orientated products like wool jumpers and cotton trousers, they needed to find a way to make their new products stand out from the hundreds of other lifestyle clothing brands out there.

They did it by taking the iconic neon pink colour they were famous for using on their cycling jerseys and sportswear, and using it in a new, more subtle way in their lifestyle range. Meaning, for example, their jeans and cotton trousers could be worn in any environment, and appear to be standard, normal clothing with nothing cycling-specific about them. However, to those in the know, the tiny neon pink details like stitching, trims on the insides of cuffs only visible when rolled up, and tabs on pockets revealed that they were actually from the high-end cycling brand. Clever.


Put the little details in places your target customer will appreciate most

Millennial-targeting cosmetics brand Glossier could have chosen to rely purely on their products to create their brand experience, instead they found unusual moments in their customer journey to add surprise and delight. One of our favourites is the shipping boxes they send their products in. What could have just been a brown cardboard box like everyone else’s has instead been used as a canvas to inject some brand personality. The interior lid of the box features a piece of copy and a flood of millennial pink that perfectly represents their brand – and will appeal to their customer. They taken a touchpoint in the customer journey that many brands ignore or dismiss as unimportant, and transformed it into a memorable experience that fits perfectly into their customers’ world of unboxing videos and shelfies.

These are just a few examples of tiny, seemingly unimportant details that help these brands stand out, but there are a few key things they’re all doing that make these details really work:

1. Be real Find authentic brand values, and define how they translate across every touchpoint. Customers can spot fake from miles away.

2. Be consistent Everything you say and do should be unified in tone and visual style across all channels. This makes it easy for customers to spot and engage with your brand when you’re doing something amazing.

3. Be unique It’s all about ownability. Customers are looking for the differences that help them choose which brands to buy into, and which brands to ignore. What you say and do should be things that could only come from you.



Sean Dwyer

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