Supporting Retailer-Consumer Identity

Consumers are agents of change. So how do retailers respond to, design and market product and services to an evolving audience with a retail strategy to suit? peckvonhartel’s National Practice Leader Rebecca Daff brings it back to the gestures that support consumer-retailer identity.

Consumer behavior has moved faster towards experiences that are personalised in the last 12 months than in the last 5 years. Brand messaging that is intrinsically diverse, a supply chain that is transparent on its ethical practices, and sustainability in packaging, physical stores and product all form part of this jigsaw of socially conscious consumers.

“This is a stronger wave of socially conscious consumers that need to understand your brand’s relevance to them, how your story relates to them, and how your values align. And it moves beyond a shop front, this is a consumer mentality that we align to retail precincts, workplaces, and learning spaces.”
Rebecca Daff, peckvonhartel

Rebecca Daff and Tim Giles from peckvonhartel have led some of Australia’s most innovative changes in the retail landscape. Together, the duo has reimagined retail destinations including Melbourne Airport’s Duty-Free experience, Sydney Airport’s Luxury Retail Precinct, and
award-winning retail hubs for Suncorp and Telstra.

They understand that while some retailers remain cognizant of the growing congruence of retailer-consumer identity, some may simply not understand how this can play out through their retail strategy, communications plan, and physical retail and services environment. 

“Retailers need to understand every brand interaction is an opportunity and ensure it is
showcased in a genuine and exciting way.”
Rebecca Daff, peckvonhartel

Consumers are beginning to look deeply into the character of brands and what they stand for, and brands that support this congruence of their identity with their consumers’ identity flourish. The opportunities to do so are endless – inherent in retail store formats, and even in the retail precincts we choose to align with.

“We see missed opportunities every day. We noticed that in the Centerway Arcade, architects Cocks Carmichael and Whitford’s unique graphic message has recently been painted over. The message was a cryptic piece of public art, made up of letters read “we live in a society that places an ordinate value in goods and service.” This irony meant to make statement of the commercial retail precinct below. A perfect example of Melbourne’s sense of sublime and surprise.  

“Now it’s a blank wall, and a huge missed opportunity as a drawcard for Melbournians to experience a piece of history. What could have been a potential tool to build on the narrative of this unique arcade, bring to light local history, reinvigorate the tenancy mix to complement the unique story, and to create a thriving precinct has been diminished to a whitewashed wall.”
Rebecca Daff, peckvonhartel

These small gestures in the built environment build equity and trust, and drive consumers towards aligning their strong belief systems with that of your brand. Ultimately, we know that consumers will passionately advocate for brands and visit precincts that support their sense of self. Our role is to use design as a framework to question and respond to these opportunities in innovative, compelling and meaningful ways.