In the last year, the role of Instagram has become increasingly more important and better understood when it comes to brand communication and what this means when it comes to designing a store interior.
Before the pandemic, digital marketing and social media efforts were often viewed separately to retail design and store experiences. Yet, when lockdowns shut down stores on a global scale, brands quickly turned to instagram as a way to connect with their customers in methods they simply hadn’t tried out before. Instagram has always found itself as a platform for brand communication. However, in the face of Covid19, it evolved itself beyond being a place of beautiful content, manicured into a grid of squares promoting products but rather it became a beacon for community and direct brand to customer conversations. When it came to reopening stores, many of the brands we work with approached us with the same dilemma as to how they can best optimise their community growth and engagement from Instagram and bring this into the store.
However, the role of Instagram within the store goes behind visual impact and aesthetics. Brands must consider how it informs their brand communication strategy. For instance, how can a brand use Instagram to build community and acquire new customers by generating moments of share-ability and bringing people together. How can Instagram build brand awareness through discovery, engagement and education? And finally, how does a brand create supercharged storytelling moments that wow their customer and provide a visual and visceral experience that cannot be found online?
There are a number of key points to consider when it comes to incorporating Instagram in to the design of your store and the creation of your retail experience.
First and foremost, when it comes to optimising the store to incorporate instagram successfully, brands must know their identity. When we hear the words that a store was ‘Instagrammable’, often we assume it is photo-worthy and we have elaborate, creative or well thought images in our head. However, before a brand begins to work on designing a store interior to be ‘Instagrammable’, they must start with the values they wish to project into the customer experience. For instance, Aesop is a brand that is renowned for their relationship with nature and have used this value to inform an Instagrammable moment of bringing ‘the outside in’ with an abundance of leaves scattered into a sculptural piece that is both interesting, yet speaks of the brand identity.
By definition popular culture is the recognition by a group in society as the set of beliefs, ideals and objects that are dominant at any given point in time. If we look back to 2017 and 2018, millennial pink, neon signs and indoor plants were signals of popular culture. London based bar Tonight Josephine boosted their instagram following by an impressive 32.6k followers by using all three as part of their design language for the space. Though outwardly these objects can be visual in execution, they reflect a wider mindset and depict what is cool. Fast track to 2021, the times have changed and if a brand is designing a store interior to reflect popular culture today, it would be essential to recognise the ideals driving society. Examples could include objects and viewpoints surrounding the environment, mental wellbeing and community.
People no longer come to stores to buy products. They wish to partake in unique experiences. Brands that deliver upon this promise successfully build meaningful connections with their customers. When it comes to designing a store interior, there are many touch-points in which a brand could look forwards. From considering creating a visual narrative surrounding the floor, to installation driven furniture or art backdrops on a feature wall, there are ample opportunities to create a photo worthy moment. However, given the emphasis on queueing in the last year, brands should consider opportunities to look beyond the store interior and consider how the exterior could be an iconic moment. In one of our most recent store designs for beauty retailer Morphe, we created a studio wall where customers can take their selfie. This seemed a natural evolution of the store narrative as the brand is renowned for makeup and helping aspiring makeup artists fulfil their dreams.
Lighting is absolutely essential to getting an instagram moment right and cannot be compromised in any way. If this is hard to achieve, brands could seek to create a filter that could become an own-able concept and brand asset. In addition to this, having props available, such tripods can help Instagrammers get the perfect shot. The goal is not only to make sure that people feel comfortable to take photos, but they genuinely feel invited to do so.
Having an Instagrammable store is a dream for many brands. However, there has to be a well thought out strategy and customers need to be supported when it comes to finding their instagram moment. If you are seeking to understand how you could be using instagram when it comes to brand communication and designing a store interior, contact our team.