What is psychogeography? According to TATE, ‘Psychogeography describes the effect of a geographical location on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.’ In other words, the term describes how different places make people feel and behave. (TATE, no date)
This week’s first task is to do some observations of retail outlets in Westfield Stratford City. We have an hour to choose and record our thoughts and feelings, then choose one of them to analyse. I believe the purpose of this task is getting us to look at the real life examples and to experience how brands try to deliver their message regarding the following points:
- Voice (Brand Identity – aesthetics)
- Message (Brand Identity – “sexy” “aloof” “dynamic”)
- Values (Brand Values – what the brand stands for/believes in)
- Bottom Line (Brand Promise – supposed benefits of engagement with the brand)
Although we were only required to analyse one store, I would like to analyse a few just to give a comparison. The stores I have chosen are Apple, Lush and Boots. I made this decision because they are in very different styles and yet have very strong branding influence.
Apple located on the top floor. The store has a high ceiling and very bright lighting, with an illuminated logo on the transparent glass exterior. There are sample products displayed on wooden tables, allowing people to touch and try. Overall it gives me the feeling of high-tech, cool, brand new, smart, young, expensive. Unlike other Apple Stores, this store has a long queue outside, where people are queueing for customer service rather than purchasing, despite the store looks not that full. Normally I like to go into tech shops that allow me to try new products, but this particular store made me feel less attempt to enter. It might be caused by they kept people waiting outside, or the too bright and less warm lighting in the store.
Lush is a store with strong scents. I rarely buy their products but have to admit they left me an unforgettable impression. This Lush Store located on the first floor, with a strong smell and unusual way of product display, it will certainly catch people’s attention. The exterior is mainly transparent, except the black wood door frame, which matches the style of price tags and blackboards inside the store.
As showed on the pictures, Lush display some products on ice, and others on wooden boxes and tables without packaging. The lighting is very warm, handwriting style font is used for prices and product names. The outlook of the interior is almost same as a food market. I believe Lush is trying to deliver the feeling of freshness and natural. When I look at the interior environment of the store, I think about words like fresh, handcraft, organic, dynamic, young and colourful. Although the special way of presenting delivered a lot of positive information, it also confused me a little: Since it was set up as a food market, products with colours that are so bright and artificial, and strong non-food smell, somehow make them look unhealthy to me.
The Boots store located on the ground floor. It doesn’t stand out of all the other retail shops at the first sight, but I found it helps people to navigate in a smart way when I observe carefully. I can easily divide the store into 3 parts according to the lighting and product display. On the left side, the colder tone light gives a clinical feel, that is the area for buying medicines and picking up prescriptions. On the right, there are brighter warmer lights with shiny glass counters and cupboards, it offers cosmetic products. In the middle where those cold and warm lights met is the shelves filled with daily necessities. The white but not-too-shinny floor, the wide opened entrance with baskets on the side, and the red promotional signs, for me they are saying ‘the store has a rich product range and the prices are very reasonable’.
In conclusion, all the above stores showed their brand’s unique personalities. The Apple Store has a very modern interior design style, the Lush store emphasises on their freshness, and the Boots store is organised and gives a sense of reliableness.
How do brand behaviours define us as individuals or as groups? It really depends on what people think about the brands. It is important not to stereotype people by their brand and consumption preferences.
TATE. (no date) Psychogeography. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/p/psychogeography#introduction (Accessed: 20/01/2017).