Walking into a Whole Foods or a Loblaw’s is exciting for most people for so many reasons: the food smells simply incredible, the atmosphere is electric with the chatter of happy shoppers and the ring of the registers is almost soothing. These aren’t just circumstance - they are planned. Just like the floor you walk on and the perfectly lit product you race to.
Most people don’t think of ‘marketing’ and ‘interior design’ as being in the same ballpark but in reality, the two disciplines are so reliant on each other for the right delivery to the customer, that it’s critical to understand their relationship.
Part of what makes the relationship hard to understand is marketers and designers have different roles and pressures, different people they are held accountable to. What we don’t often see is that they have the same goal – increased sales and shopper experience. The marketing professional has to work within specific constraints and spends a lot of time researching their demographics and target market, all geared towards delivering the results of a fantastic shopping experience. While the interior designer has to create the same desirable shopping experience, they have a little more leeway because their results are often aesthetic and not often measured by tangible results. You can see how – though different – marketers and designers need to be on the same page to create the same shopping experience successfully.
One of the most noticeable areas of overlap is signage. When you’re walking through Whole Foods or Loblaw’s, you may not even notice how the signage works, guiding you through the space while being visually pleasing. It’s hard to tell who created this nearly silent way finding tool. On well thought out design schemes, the interior designer would have worked with the store’s marketing manager to get the overall brand identity and signage concept. Then, the concept drawings would be given to the marketing manager for approval. Seems simple, but the in-between times of understanding the store’s brand are what is critical.
The interior designer needs to take the marketing side of signage into account – what the messages are, where the messages are displayed, graphics vs. text, etc. Meanwhile, the marketing side needs to understand the psychological side of signage – what height does it need to be hung at? What colours are best for visibility? What about sight-lines? When stores don’t have cohesive signage packages, the shoppers suffer most. And your bottom line can take a pretty good beating.
The second biggest area of overlap is store decor. The decor is the accent pieces that bring your brand to life. So naturally, your brand ambassador (aka marketing manager) is going to have an opinion on what is being used. If the brand is funky and fun but the interior designer specifies modern and clean... well, you can imagine the shopper confusion!
There needs to be open communication between the two disciplines so the goal of a fantastic shopper experience can be met. The marketing manager and interior designer will walk a fine line here and possibly start to get territorial. Try to avoid this by clearly defining roles and responsibilities. The interior designer is in charge – he or she needs to make sure the materials and decor package meets code as well as functions in a natural foods store. But he or she needs to work closely with the marketing manager to ensure that all the decor and FF&E (fixtures, finishes & equipment) are cohesive to the brand.
Marketing and interior design may be two separate design disciplines but their harmony in your store are critical to the shopper’s experience.
They’ll leave your store feeling something, so why not invest in making sure it’s something great? •