High Street for Humans
We believe there is something exciting happening in the town centres and high streets of the UK. Covid has brought brutal change but from it we can see emerging positivity, vibrancy and opportunity.
Although the internet is a phenomenal force for convenience, there is still place for human beings in retail.
People want somewhere to belong - a place in their communities. If your brand can deliver on bringing people, product and experiences together, there is still a place to prosper on the high street.
Now is the time to build your independent or start-up seed in the rich soil of newly empowered communities looking for businesses with soul and local roots. Giant chains are trying to imitate the personal intimacy of independents because that’s where real people are choosing to spend. Here are three ways to play to your strengths in this special cultural moment:
Be clear about who you are and what you’re here for. Establish your values – remember the things you really care about. Be confident with your rougher edges – these could be the very things that charm and connect with your customer.
Love what you do and do what you love. Some days will be tougher than others, but if your eyes don’t light up with pure excitement when you tell people about your company, then you haven’t quite got it yet. People are seeking meaning and genuine authenticity.
Communicate your individuality and character in clear consistent branding across your website, photography, packaging, print (like brochures or menus) as well your real-life spaces.
An important difference between your business and the giants of the High Street is agility and a learning culture. You have the flexibility to adapt using your instincts, without having to convince the board first. Creative experimentation is what sets you apart, so don’t stop.
Try things, make mistakes, learn from them, pivot. That’s the cycle that brings you to the right path - the hard part is tracking, reviewing and accepting when things aren’t working and need to change. Not every decision you make will be the right one. That’s okay.
The individuality and care that makes your product or service brilliant is also what makes it Art. It’s that originality, quality and flavour that brings people to your door. It’s your job to make sure they can find you, and understand why you are special.
The huge retailers have been so focussed on capturing volume that they missed out on the engaged and loyal few. When you know your niche, and you communicate well with your tribe, you become an integral part of a living community.
Make interesting and useful places where people want to spend time as well as money. Be there for people, in whatever ways they seem to need. Make real connections with your customers; listen rather than broadcasting marketing spiel.
The combination of online presence and solid space makes interacting with your brand a meaningful experience. The human impact or a personal experience is what’s in it for your customer. A two-way relationship is what brings them back for more.
If all of this sounds easier said than done, maybe it’s time for an exploratory consultation.