Category Archives: Retail

Managing Major Change: How Brands Navigate Pivotal Moments

Our recent exploration of sustainability initiatives in the fast fashion industry raised one big question: faced with increasing consumer demands, how can brands make big changes without compromising their identity? For the fast fashion space, this is a tricky proposition – after all, their identity is built on providing clothing that is trendy and disposable. When consumers decide they want to support sustainable brands, how can the giants of fast fashion (or any industry) make those necessary shifts?

Incremental change is the safest approach, but when consumers are clamoring for something new, they expect brands to act quickly. The issue of sustainability is particularly time-sensitive, as reports continually surface about the environmental damage caused by industries including fashion. The change process isn’t easy, but consumers are ready to reward the brands that take the lead.
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Sustainability in Fashion: Where Do We Start?

The fast fashion model is built on trendy, cheaply made pieces that are only meant to last through a few seasons before being retired or forgotten. As a result, unprecedented amounts of clothing are ending up in landfills (or on bonfires) after being worn once or twice. We recently examined fast fashion brand Zara’s new sustainability goals, noting that while it’s encouraging to see a major brand step forward to start a conversation about sustainability and environmental impact, these goals will require enormous change within the fashion industry as a whole.

Faced with the need to make monumental changes, where do consumers and the fashion industry begin?

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Missed Opportunities: Discovering What’s Next

In an age of rapid change and technological advancement, it can seem as though every decision is a crossroads. Whether choosing where to invest or who to vote for, every choice we make can result in runaway success or a missed opportunity. In business, these crossroads might lead us to thrive or to fail. 

How can we clearly see what’s ahead of us and avoid missing out on the next big thing? Let’s start by examining one of the most noteworthy missed opportunities in business history: when Blockbuster Video passed on the chance to buy an emerging competitor called Netflix.
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Multifaceted Spaces: Bar K Dog Bar Unites Diverse Interests

There’s something special happening in Kansas City’s Berkley Riverfront Park. Bar K Dog Bar, which opened last August, is revitalizing the area by serving a unique intersection of consumer interests. The primary attraction is a “state of the art” dog park overseen by dog-care professionals, which draws dog owners from across the metropolitan area. But what separates Bar K from other dog parks is the inclusion of a restaurant, bar, and coffee shop where customers can relax and connect while their pups play nearby.
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Multifaceted Spaces: Family Tree Nursery Eliminates the “Off” Season

On any given weekend in the spring and summer, the aisles at Family Tree Nursery in Shawnee, Kansas are packed with customers seeking beautiful plants, pots, and other home and garden products. This family-owned nursery, with three locations in the Kansas City area, has been providing top-tier customer service and vibrant, healthy plants since 1964.

As with any nursery, the spring, summer, and fall are busy and full of life. But what about the winter? How does a seasonal business attract customers during the “off” season?
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Making A Movement: REI’s #OptOutside Turns Branding into Meaningful Action

In our exploration of successful, authentic brands, we’ve discovered a number of recurring themes. Brands that stand out in the minds of consumers aren’t shy about sharing their purpose. They’re aware of and intentional about the value they’re promising to their customers and how they deliver it. They know that a great customer experience really starts with taking care of their employees. They understand the power of words (especially taglines) in communicating their value, and they back those words up with action.

One enduringly successful brand, the outdoor lifestyle-focused REI (which is celebrating 80 years this year), has taken the concept of brand action to new heights in recent years. Their OptOutside movement boldly reshapes the status quo among retailers and provides a powerful model for brands that want to turn their brand image into a signifier of something greater.
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