Unordinary Thinking No. 24 How to achieve a 100% high street occupancy rate

Over the past few years more and more consumer segments previously believed immune to the impact of a global recession have become caught by it. Some finding it has ripped through the very heart of their worlds whilst others admitting the disturbances are inconvenient but notable all the same.

I have seen this played out in numerous focus groups involving all age and affluence groups. And the knock on effect is that whilst ten years ago the economy never featured higher than tenth place in ‘Concerning Societal Issues’ trends studies it now knocks other issues out of the park. And ‘value for money’ ambitions dominate proposition development projects we run, where ‘exclusivity’, ‘prestige’ and ‘kudos’ once featured as themes to explore.

I have accepted this economic climate is a new norm and we work within it. And assumed the rest of polite society would behave the same way. So imagine my surprise, and delight, when I took a trip recently and stumbled into a world full of happy consumers revelling in consumerism blissfully tuned out to the mood of the rest of the globe.

This was a sight I hadn’t seen for quite some time. As I looked around I realised this world I’d entered simply refused to conform to the changes demanded by the new market conditions.

Instead it had done something really quite simple instead. It had not buckled or deviated from delivering its two ‘old school’ driving motivations for existence;customer happiness and a unique brand. When I looked around I saw the advantageous signs of how this played out everywhere…

– Every street has a 100% retail occupancy rate
– Every outlet is brimming with goods and devoid of ‘sale’ signs
– Slogans such as ‘nothing makes a child happy like a new toy’ hung instead of the more familiar ‘buy me now’ desperation banners
– Every day the doors open for morning trade hundreds of waiting customers sprint in with smiles on their faces
– Customers queue for hours again and again for the experience the attractions of the town offers
– Without consideration customers purchase products they could get elsewhere for half the price
– The experience of the street has as much attention given to it as the products purchased there
– And consumers stay out until 11pm nightly to line the streets and pay homage to the face of the establishment in a firework fuelled carnival type parade.

It sounds unbelievable, but trust me, it is true. In this world Peter Pan is more real than a double dip recession.

So who has managed to keep this high street and it’s town prospering when all around them falter?

Sir Philip Green? Mary Portas? Sir Stuart Rose?

No. It’s none of the above.

It is in fact Mickey Mouse.

And along with his friends and supporting cast of thousands, they’ve created an enduring parallel world incubated from the trials and tribulations of the real one. Disneyland Paris (although I am sure the global experience at any park is the same) is a place where your recessionary evoked inhibitions dissolve and your joy for life is energised.

The customer experience is driven by satisfaction and fulfilment. Forget removing friction from the buying process. Forget price pointing. Forget competitiveness. This place proves when you think customer and act for the customer all other strategies are unnecessary. Delivered in a consistent fashion from the valet to the man at the top when he joins you for breakfast.

For brand and proposition specialists like Lexden, this magical kingdom is a reminder of what can be achieved when you choose to look at the opportunity from a customer’s perspective. And contains a bounty of ideas on how to keep customers coming back for more, happily ever after.

Posted by Christopher Brooks.

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which creates unordinary propositions to motivate customers and deliver commercial advantage for brands.

For more information on how we can help you, contact or, or call us on T: +44 (0)20 7490 9123.  And you can follow us on Twitter @consultingchris & @consultingajai.

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