Changing 'bricks & mortar' to an experience approach

How the Myer Centre changed up its brand and marketing

How does a marketer go about a rebrand of an iconic building, which has its own brand and is home to a multitude of different brands? This is what the Myer Centre in Adelaide had to contemplate earlier this year.

Myer Centre Adelaide is one of Adelaide’s most iconic buildings, has been in operation for 28 years, and is the largest shopping centre in the CBD. The Centre underwent a significant upgrade during 2013 and 2014, including a complete refurbishment of Mall finishes.

It realised it needed a rebrand to not only reflect the different tenancy mix within the Centre, but also to reflect the new experience economy that is now driving bricks and mortar retail back from the brink. Marketing manager at the Myer Centre, Jess Bright, said she really wanted to create a brand identity that was impactful, bold, and innovative, yet still honours the nostalgic past of the Myer Centre.

As a result, it partnered with Showpony and drew inspiration from the iconic Myer Centre windows to create a new colour, the ‘MCA (Myer Centre Adelaide) Coral’. This is now being featured in all assets rolled out across in-store, outdoor, print and digital platforms.

Bright told CMO a different retail mix and a change of ownership were the catalysts for the rebrand.

“After 28 years, we needed to change our branding as it was becoming static. Now we have, we are committed to ensuring it’s a living thing; we want to keep evolving it and adapting it. We will keep looking into our market research and tweak it to reflect our tenancy mix and customers moving forward,” she said.

“However, we also needed to capture that nostalgic past, while being modern and innovative. So we, along with Showpony, incorporated elements of the past and the building design, to evoke fond memories," she said. "There’s a lot more accountability when it comes to the rebrand of an icon, we have to really mindful of past and not go too far, but also modernise. We are confident this has been the right decision.”

Myer Centre Adelaide’s new brand identity is now live across in-centre window displays, outdoor advertising, print and digital advertising, website, Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Prior to launch, Bright said the marketing team did an analysis on what value each marketing and advertising channel does, and tweaked its strategy accordingly to incorporate more digital, data and targetability/personalisation via category.

“We’ve come from strong print base, but digital is too great an opportunity for us to pass up, particularly now it’s so measurable," she continued. "We adjusted, and now our engagement rates are doing very well, particularly for social media. The ability to target each customer based on their interests has been invaluable for us, so of course our engagement rates are going to increase.

“We do a lot of data analysis, which leads us to create a better and more targeted experience for our customers. We target on category, so food or toys, as opposed to anything store-specific. We get really strong results from social, SEO and PR. We still use some local print, and radio stations, but we’re predominantly in the digital space now.

“We can now personalise content across channels, depending on category.”

Like many retailers are finding, the younger demographic is demanding experiences, rather than sales-focused marketing. Bright said offering a soft, more experience-based approach is working well.

Millennials are a really big demographic for us – we are surrounded by unis, so it’s a huge target market. As a result, we’ve increased the amount of platforms we use, we now use all of them,” she explained. “Our marketing campaign now mainly involves experiences within the Centre, which might not correlate with any particular brand, but focuses on getting them into the Centre for the experience. If they go on to shop, that’s great, but it’s more a soft sell now."  

A recent example is a beauty weekend with beauty tutorials. This was one of the first activations with the new branding.

"It was informative and gave back to the customers, so it was highly successful," Bright claimed. "We have a partnership with Glasshouse Candles in our new Coral colour, where consumers spend over a certain amount a get a free candle, so they are getting something back, which goes well for us.

“It is really about getting people in for different reasons and allowing them to experience what we’ve got on their own. We are also creating Instagram-able moments, which is working well for us too. It is these little moments we are hoping to become unique for.”

It’s early days in the metrics journey, and the Centre is measuring word-of-mouth from customers, retailers, and media, and carrying out social advertising to get an idea of engagement. Future marketing will involve a lot more of those experiences and possibly other metrics.

“So far we’ve had really great feedback, and it is in line with where we hope to be going,” Bright added.

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