Apple recently made what appears to be a slight adjustment in its store branding. The word “store” is no longer used to reference any Apple retail outlet: instead, they are referred to as “town centers”.
On the surface it seems like a trivial exercise in semantics. But the real shift has a larger impact. Apple is leveraging its position as a leading global brand and its numerous "town center" locations to invite consumers in for reasons other than shopping. Apple is creating a shift in customer behavior by offering coding classes, speaking events, community gatherings, or just a place to meet up with a few friends.
By calling their stores “town centers”, Apple creates an approachable identity for their retail outlets. Other large retailers can pay attention to Apple’s move and take away two things: 1. Customers are looking for memorable experiences 2. Global brands need a local face.
We at Ilan Dei Studio successfully integrated both of these concepts in our work with Lemonade and Oliver Peoples. We push ourselves to deliver unique designs for each new location. We use branded artwork and vernacular materials to reference the project's neighborhood, allowing these brands to integrate into their community. The customers feel a sense of ownership and connection with their local store, which helps build brand loyalty. As retail experience and entertainment merge to attract patrons, memorable experiences on a personal level are becoming the distinguishing factor of successful brands.