Over the Easter weekend I took a trip up to London. Playing at being a tourist for the day, a friend and I decided to visit perhaps the most famous ‘corner shop’ of all – Harrods.
O.k., it’s still glamorous and as ostentatious as it always was and we had a great time having a look round, but I didn’t feel that I was in a store that represented the best of shopping in London, but rather at times a museum of Egypt!
What has happened to Harrods the brand? The ornate and glamorous interiors that we expect of the store are there but have no common thread or theme between them. One minute you’re faced with sphinxes and grandiose faux ancient Egyptian architecture, the next the glossy black and white of the perfumery halls or the opulence of the Arts and Crafts style food halls. It’s still an exciting and interesting place to visit but after a while I felt quite overwhelmed. What or who is Harrods?
If our homes are an extension of who we are, then the interior décor of a business, retail or corporate environment should also be designed to reflect its personality and values. (NB. not necessarily that of its’ owner).
Can you be all things to all people?
Harrods list their brand values as: quintessentially British, eccentric, pioneering, decadent, exclusive, excellence, cutting edge, luxurious, sophisticated, aspirational, elite, value, innovative, iconic, sensational, sublime.
My goodness, that’s aiming at a lot of things for a lot of people! If I left a bit dazed and disorientated, feeling as if I’d just stepped off from some theme park carousel ride. I wondered, do many people stay long enough to fully appreciate this ‘sublime’ shopping experience? Maybe that is now the attraction of Harrods – a high intensity sensory fix, a beautiful if slightly surreal fairground.
The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique—All Things for All People, Everywhere. But is that always the best and most successful approach?
Colour and branding
It is the ‘Harrods green’ which alludes to a sense of tradition that’s quintessentially British, added to which the colour gold gives it a luxurious element. But that familiar and successful combination sadly seems mostly discarded in favour of black, white and grey which feature heavily on the Harrods website and its shopping bags; colours that many other luxury branding retailers choose. Whilst those colours certainly communicate cutting edge sophistication, I sense confusion about the brand which is reflected throughout the store.
Don’t confuse the customer!
Colour is emotive and will persuade your customers to buy in to your brand. To create a great brand message that follows from the logo through all communications including a business or retail environment, consistency of your brand colours are vital to create trust. Or how can you expect your customers to understand who or what you are?
You might like to read my ‘3 quick tips for colour and branding’!