Branches add a new dimension of physicality to a brand. They define in materials, aesthetics and by location how a brand wants to be seen in the world. At some level they complement the expansive digital presences. They can also be an effective countering strategy in sectors where there is an increasing trend towards direct and/or online channels. They provide a new reason to shop live.
Done well, a Branch expands on a brandís experience with an uber-cool environment that is inspiring and relaxing, and that offers distinctive ways to interact that add to the consumerís visceral understanding. The Branch is a statement of commitment to its customers, to the wider world and of course to its competitors.
As brands increasingly frame themselves as ways of life, Branches are the new High Street gathering points; bold environments in high footfall areas where people with similar aspirations and viewpoints can congregate or pass through. In effect, they are a tangible meeting point for a brand's population to see the brand and see each other. (The social reinforcement of such gathering points is easily played down but itís important to remember that venues have a powerful effect in defining people's view of 'who they run with')
Branches are an excellent way for a brand to take up presence in a new market and to make an immediate statement. Their very presence - even the announcement of their intended presence - shows confidence, commitment and showmanship. They epitomize call to "romance your customers". But the financial implications of establishing such a store are significant and should not be taken lightly. So the Branch needs to work as an efficient and effective retail space alongside its role of being inspirational.