Ok, on Tuesday i attended the industry form 1: Retail Detail. ohh-em-gee, seriously so worth going! It was held at the beautiful BMW auditorium at fed square, so if the talk was not your cup of tea, you could still enjoy the views of the Yarra river and/or the geometric architecture and snazzy wood panelling. Lucky for me i actually loved the talk and didn't have to rely on the ambiance for entertainment.
As i entered the venue i was greeted with a (this time opened) bottle of chinotto. As you all know I'm quite clumsy and naturally also struggled with this. As i sit down at my seat (4 rows behind Grant Pearce) I manage to knock over the opened bottle of delicious beverage. The contents cascade out and onto the polished wooden floor to my despair. Not only is it a waste of chinotto, but i look like a dick... so the entire talk i sat in a puddle. I got a tad concerned when the drink started traveling to the row behind me, the girl was frantically moving her bags around trying to save them. Awkward.
Anyway, there were four speakers, the first was Mark Ritson, Consultant & Associate Professor of Marketing for University of Melbourne & consultant to LVMH. His presentation was predominantly about brand identity. Australia is a very stable country, he was saying, and that our market is controlled by oligopolies, only 2 major competitors ie. Coles and Woolworths, meaning that companies like that are totally unprepared for competition from other countries. He was also talking about the importance of knowing your brand and who the target market it is. This means market research and analysis. Exclusivity means it has to exclude. The example he used was brand Abercrombie & Fitch and their iconic 'all American' college hunk, which quite frankly isn't that many of us.
The next speaker was Erin Mullaney, Founder & Director at ECM Fashion Consulting. Talked mostly about her experiences as a buyer for UK department giants Brown's, Selfridges and Harrods as well as well as a brand consultant for Christian Louboutin. She was saying that it is important to have a good team. Designers often don't have the business brains and may make the wrong decisions, this underlines the necessity for a business partner who can make the right decisions. People need to stick to their strengths. Erin also talked about the need to be forward thinking and innovative, she spoke about all the projects she did, ie. collaborations with designers or pop up stores and how all that is important for a company to stay relevant in a fast moving fashion world.
Peter Harris, President of the Pedder Group, Hong Kong, was the third speaker. His talk was about the importance of details. The devil is in the detail. He started with a personal anecdote about how he received a hand written birthday note when boarding a long flight and receiving a selection of macaroons in his hotel suite upon arrival after a 5 hour flight delay. His point was that personal touches like that can make an experience memorable and create consumer loyalty. He was telling us about the Lane Crawford Hong Kong flagship store, saying that the reason why it is the highest performing store is because of 6 reasons:
- Great store design
- Shopping suites
- Concierge desk
- Service teams
- Edited Product Offer
- Visual Merchandising
The last speaker for the afternoon was David Bush, the General Manager of Womenswear for David Jones. He spoke about the importance of a brand. He called it 'a collection of memories that make a purchase'. The first experience of a brand is always memorable, weather its good or bad. He also talked about how a brand must differentiate between its competitors and stay relevant to the time for it to be successful. Making long term decisions that are calculated and smart means that a brand can evolve as it needs to.
So as a whole, not too shabby...
Here are the pics.