As I reflect on the past two weeks and the companies visited three key concepts come to mind:

1) The importance of knowing your customer

2) The quality of your product and processes

3) Indirect ways of creating brand loyalty and ambassadors

We started in Berlin with a visit to Nickelodeon where the creative brief impeccably identified the customer. This understanding coupled with their branding tactics were quite impressive and resulted in the team sporting Sponge Bob headphones in support of Nickelodeon across the rest of Europe. 

 Our next stop was Stockholm where we were enthralled by the growth and hospitality at ACNE. A company where many of the employees embody the target customer and the product quality is impeccable. The visit was such a success that over half the group purchased merchandise in support of the eclectic brand. 

We concluded our tour in Spain with visits to two amazing but very different fashion retailers, Zara and Carolina Herrera. Zara’s fast fashion operations from the designers to the carefully organized showroom had everyone (at least the women) ready to go shopping. The surprise here were the complimentary “One Day at Zara” t-shirts we received at the end of the tour. Another example that Zara pursues non-traditional methods of advertising and creating brand loyalty. We are now walking advertisements for the company. 

At Carolina Herrera we further explored what it meant to create a portfolio of brands and how to articulate non-conflicting customer audiences (Purificacion Garcia & CH Carolina Herrera.) As one of the most notable fashion houses in Spain, the Carolina Herrera team was amazing. From the hospitality to the detail and perfection in every article designed and created, our group also purchased many CH gifts as a reminder of the visit and to support the brand.  

From the Sponge Bob headphones to the hospitality we received at all the companies we visited, I’ve gained a better understanding of the importance of creating, positioning and maintaining a brand. An absolutely wonderful experience and a clear example of how customer experience can influence brand image.

I would say I am now an even stronger supporter of a few brands that were not previously on my radar. From the brands’ perspectives I would say SUCCESS!!