Live from DMA Annual: Creative Integration

New Orleans–Keeping creative consistent across channels has long been a cornerstone of multichannel branding. Carol Worthington Levy, creative services partner with San Francisco-based consultancy and list firm Lenser, gave specific examples of how to do just that during a Saturday session at the DMA 87th Annual Conference and Exhibition here.

For instance, a product you would feature in your store window would be a good candidate for a catalog cover, Levy said, before showing examples of Pottery Barn store windows that mirrored the room depictions of a current cover, and Sharper Image windows that highlighted the same product spotlighted on its current front cover.

While catalog copy serves as a substitute for the retail ambience and the knowledge of a live salesperson, Levy continued, that doesn’t mean you don’t need any product copy in stores. Again she referred to Pottery Barn, which features shelf cards, product tags, and other placement of edited versions of catalog copy. (Competing home decor cataloger/retailer Restoration Hardware is another marketer that also calls attention to product features with detailed copy alongside its store merchandise.) Like callouts in a print catalog, the copy cards act as another point of entry or stopping point for the customer, encouraging them to pause and read rather than rushing past the product.

Translating in-store activities to direct media is also effective. For example, Williams-Sonoma offers cooking classes in its stores and recipes in its print catalog and on its Website, Levy noted. Online features that help visitors put together clothing ensembles or furnish virtual rooms are ways of translating the in-store experience–a helpful, cross-selling salesperson in this instance–to the online medium.

If you’re still skeptical as to the effective of cross-channel marketing and branding integration, and of the effect of catalog mailings on retail traffic in particular, consider this: Levy cited a controlled test run by Sharper Image in which the gadgets cataloger/retailer introduced a product only in its catalog. For every customer who bought the item via catalog, nine came into stores looking for it.

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