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behave appropriately. For example, if the mall is service- led, staffers should be proactive, attentive and helpful. Visually, as reflections of the brand, their uniforms should not be underestimated. Employees working at the center or at the tenant should be viewed as an extension of the brand rather than as a distinct entity.


Facilities The facilities within a mall contribute to its overall offer


and should, therefore, be considered as a fundamental part of the brand promise. For instance, the owners and managers might deliver exceptional service to visitors through various facilities. To mark it out from its competitors, perhaps such services as free Wi-Fi, mother and baby rooms, shoeshine machines, bicycle repairs, a lost-and-found office and hostesses to arrange taxis can be offered. Fashion-focused malls such as Westfield London offer personal-shopper and style-advice services. As such, the facilities and services offered greatly depend on the brand promise of the mall being created.


Tenant Mix The tenant mix is a primary consideration when


developing the mall brand. Often when the branding work begins, the types of retailer that will be targeted have been established following extensive research and strategizing. The leasing team may have already signed up some retailers. However, whether the desired tenant mix has been decided or not, it must be recognized that for retail destinations, a large part of the brand promise to visitors relates to the shops they have to offer. If a luxury brand has been created, there could be


international high-end stores within the mall, supported by the other elements discussed in this report. For example, Via Bellagio in Las Vegas features all of the expected luxury stores in an opulent interior environment. The marketing materials support this with sophisticated typography, colors and photography.


Key Issues Engage Throughout the branding process, stakeholders and


staff should feel involved. These people will implement and manage the brand as it enters the market, so their continued participation is key to its success. They represent an extremely effective tool in sending a positive message about the mall.6


During the research phase, staff should be mobilized to


take part in interviews. Their working knowledge of the existing brand will prove insightful in developing a new or revitalized version. Of course, they may also have valuable ideas for the new vision of the brand. Once the positioning and story have been determined, they should be clearly explained so that staffers understand and agree with the direction being undertaken.


Own When it comes to the design of the brand identity, a


small team should be chosen to coordinate with the branding consultants. Ideally, this group will be comprised of stakeholders and marketing associates who will work on the brand once it has been established. Together, this team can work closely to finalize the identity of the brand before unveiling it and explaining it to the wider company. Although not all employees will have the opportunity to influence the design, they will value the way it is explained to them and the chance to have their questions answered.


Deliver Throughout implementation, those responsible for


rolling out the brand will need to ensure its consistent application. As with the previous phases, other staffers should be updated on project statuses, as they may be required to support in the hectic run up to launch. Moreover, they should feel an ownership of the brand and love it as it evolves and its reputation grows within the marketplace.


Future Proofing The most important means of ensuring the legacy of a


brand is to keep its communications fresh and relevant. Content managers should be appointed to be responsible for communicating the brand story in whatever form appropriate, from digital promotion mail shots to managing the content of signs within the mall. The brand should be seen as needing constant nurture, much like the business itself, with regular strategy reviews to maintain performance. Branding consultants can help to provide this ongoing development framework.


Conclusion The fundamental aspect of a brand is its style and


story—engaging to ensure success, with a catchy name and attractive identity. As it influences and informs the whole retail experience, the brand story must ultimately be


6 This is in keeping with the observation that “highly engaged employees… ultimately strengthen the overall company brand.” See “Developing Stronger Corporate Brands Through Employee Engagement,” p. 1, retrieved May 22, 2013.


INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF SHOPPING CENTERS 37 4 RETAIL PROPERTY INSIGHTS VOL. 20, NO. 2, 2013


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