Building Our Future

Lara Marrero | Studio Director & Retail Practice Leader, Gensler

September 27, 2018
Building Our Future
Lara Marrero | Studio Director & Retail Practice Leader, Gensler
Chapters
Building Our Future
Lara Marrero | Studio Director & Retail Practice Leader, Gensler
Sep 27, 2018
Bert Broadhead
Are retail stores really about transactions still? If not, what is the new purpose of the shop?
Show Notes Transcript

Are brand engagement & media overtaking transactions as the primary purpose of bricks-and-mortar retail? Where else in the build environment is brand influencing building design and utility?

Lara Marerro is a Studio Director & Retail Practice Leader at Gensler, the global architectural practice. Rather than specialising in a specific sector, Lara is interested the power brand and how it relates to consumers and built environment.

With an education that spans psychology, advertising, marketing, and cultural anthropology, Lara’s focus is on translating complex global consumer trends into understandable, workable, and profitable outcomes for her clients.

In this podcast:

  • How are shopping habits changing & what is the opportunity for retailers & landlords?
  • Is the store media or does it still have a role as the location for transactions to take place?
  • Is pure-play experiential retail really relevant outside of the prime retail pitches?
  • How can independent retailers compete in a brand-oriented, digital landscape?
  • How else is brand / the concept of “Tribes” attaching itself to real estate across other asset classes?

Lara’s innovation-to-watch is AppearHere; where she believes the best is still yet to come!

Lara’s favourite building in the Empire State Building for its enduring impact on the Manhattan skyline.



Speaker 1:
0:06
Welcome back to building our future on birth broadhead and today we're joined by lower Murray, will be talking about relationship between brands, consumers in buildings. We'll explore Doug Stevens belief that the store is now media and discuss how digital transformation and the changing nature brand identity shaping the form of bricks and mortar retail. We'll discuss which concepts are embracing change most effectively and what the future holds for independent stores. Brian isn't just about retail night and we'll discuss the growing phenomenon, brand and other sectors such as coworking and co living before ending up with some foods about keeping relevant in an ever changing consumer driven environment. Do you get involved in the debate? You can email me via the website or find me on twitter at building under school.
Speaker 1:
1:06
My guest today is Laura Murray, studio director and retail practice leader at gensler global architecture practice rather than specializing in a specific sector. Laura is interested in like eastern brand. We have an education that spans psychology, advertising, marketing, and cultural anthropology. Doris focus is on translating complex global consumer trends into understandable, workable, profitable outcomes for clients. As strategy director and a leader for guns as retail practice, Laura informs the design process through her knowledge of business, brands and consumer needs. He's focused on how users engage with brands hoping to deliver an experience that considers the role the prime service storytelling experience and environments will play in connecting customers and employees. These insights are applied to a variety of projects including retail, workplace, hospitality and entertainment experiences and large scale mixed use developments. Wow. Welcome to the podcast, Laura.
Speaker 2:
2:11
Thank you. I'm glad to be here.
Speaker 1:
2:12
So before we dive in to the changing impact of brand on the built environment, can I start by asking how you came to this point in your career?
Speaker 2:
2:22
That is a great question. I grew up in a place called Burke, Virginia. It's about 20 miles away from Washington dc where you have about 20 miles within 15 miles and so as a child I was always in retail environments. That's what we did. We hung out and retail. We were little mall rats and I started working in retail stores. I worked at the gap. I worked at Abercrombie and Fitch. I've worked in FMB. I've worked across the board because that's what you did when you were a kid living in that area. And um, I started sitting around and I'd start predicting what people were doing so somebody would walk over and I'd look at them and I'd say, all right, this person's going to walk into this store, they're going to go do this, they're going to go do that and they're going to end up buying this.
Speaker 2:
3:04
And it became a game I play with my friends. And then I went on to study at Boston University and um, I really loved this idea of looking at data before data was a thing that we all looked at, but doing psychological experiments where you had to actually interview people and start to understand their behavior and develop question sets to really understand what the effect of information was or what the effect of the environment was on people. I chose a distinction project looking at sensory experiences. And so the way you could use all five senses to really influence behavior and at the same time study in a retail context. Well, no, just in a context of university saying I bet you you can influence people if you just change things that affected senses. I mean that was just an inclination based on sitting in those malls all of those years.
Speaker 2:
3:57
And then, um, through the psychology degree I met some of the people in the cultural anthropology department and they were like, oh, we want to be involved in this. Then I started doing those courses while also doing advertising and really looking at how to cater messaging and visuals and understanding media buys and demographics and of different areas and understanding where to target those spends. And um, I ended up not knowing what I wanted to do with all of that because, you know, when you start going divergent on things and there's not a real clear path for you, what do you do? So I started working um, at a.com when I was in uni. I actually have had interned at Gensler because my mother had worked at the farm forever. And yeah, nepotism only gets you so far though, don't judge. But yeah. And so I went off, I worked@a.com, um, and then I ended up not really digging that and then had the opportunity to work at architectural record magazine and really started looking at doing all the, all of the trade shows that we did and all of these advertorials and really started looking at the built environment and just kept on thinking about this degree and everything that I had studied and figuring out, well in the built environment, this obviously has an impact and had an opportunity to go to run marketing or to work in marketing in New York and then eventually run marketing within the La Office.
Speaker 2:
5:18
And so I've been at Gensler for 16 years now and I've changed my role probably seven times. Um, but that's what the firm is all about. It's that entrepreneurial spirit of allowing you to kind of pursue your own vision and your own passions. And I saw that I'd always worked with the brand and retail teams that just an. I understood it and it was like, actually they're the client sending us an RFP and they're saying they need this, but do they really know that? Is that the symptom or is that the problem? And I'd start digging in and all of a sudden I would do it on every project that would come in and we realized why. Why are we doing this for the proposal when this actually has value that we're not tapping into? You then setting the scene for the actual,
Speaker 3:
5:58
the architects within within Gensler to work. So helping to shape the brief.
Speaker 2:
6:03
That's where it started, right? That's where it started is actually looking at the opportunity before it even walked through the door and or even when the proposal came in saying, but is this really the issue? And I'd start doing, you know, I'd go back on the day when friendster was around before in my space before it was even facebook ads start trolling those and say, but if you read what these people are saying about these brands, that's not the problem that they're faced with. And we just started following that train of thought and it started making an impact to our clients and over time I stopped doing the pitches for marketing and started working more on the projects and getting involved in the thinking behind the why and the next thing you knew after doing a lot of retail, then all of a sudden mixed use thought they could use that thinking and you know, retail centers and a workplace and Rezi and all of a sudden you realize that it's applied to everything.
Speaker 3:
6:54
Which yeah, I agree with and clearly clearly your experience suggests that, but a bit like you, it may be easiest to start off in, in retail, in discussing brands just as it is probably the most common thing we can all relate to when we. When we think about when a brand and a customer engagements is retail dying or just just changing.
Speaker 2:
7:16
We see this happen all the time. It's not that it's dying, it's evolving. It happened in the early knots. If you remember back when the Dotcom boom started at the end of the night is in the beginning of the knots where everybody said, oh, you have all of these online brands now it's going to kill a brick and bricks and mortar, and everybody was bracing themselves for the death of have bricks and mortar retail and then the next thing you know, no, no, no, no. That's not at all. What happened? The.com started to crash. All the bricks and mortar started getting stronger. Dot Com got stronger. The two coexisted for a really long time. The bigger issue is that what we understand retail to be is no longer the same definition, and that's what I would encourage everybody to kind of think differently about. It's no longer retail, its brand, its brand engagement. It's saying retail shops aren't necessarily the only way that a brand engages with their customer anymore, which is what it used to be. It's one of many opportunities and one of many settings, so you really need to look at it slightly differently and say we're no longer in the business of retail. We're in the business of brand experiences,
Speaker 3:
8:25
but that does a guy who's been beating this drum for a long time. Janine, Doug Stevens. Yes. Very much so. For listeners who are interested in a little bit more exploration. So Doug, Doug Stevens as a podcast, a and an episode called the store is media where he talks to this exact point. I know it was interesting to see a quote from you in property week where you say shops have gone from being places where transactions are made to places where brand engages with the consumer, which is really kind of dogs dogs point. And you posted an infographic on twitter which backs up this transition away from functional retail and a, and points out that 49 percent of people who show up have the intention of achieving a specific task and others maybe maybe shopping for, for other reasons. Just to have a look around or just spend time. Uh, so clearly your reasons for shopping, uh, uh, changing, you think that less than 50 percent shopping or actually doing it with the intention of buying an item. It's crazy. It's already a massive move away from what we've always thought of as retail.
Speaker 2:
9:26
Oh yeah, and I'll take that. It's funny because there are two things there. The first, I totally agree with Doug's comment, but I actually take it a step further because I would say get back to the why, like figure out why this stuff is happening and I can't stand the solution that's not rooted on something that is going to result in something that you can measure. And what I started realizing just walking around. I mean just again observational research, just walking around looking at people today and you can even think about yourself when, when I'm talking through this, it's that smart phone that we have in our hands has completely changed the way that we perceive experience. One hundred percent. So it used to be all these cumbersome things that we'd have to do. If you needed a phone number, he needed to go to the yellow pages, white pages to go find the phone number or you need to call.
Speaker 2:
10:17
You know, in America it would be four one, one, or you'd call the information to find the phone number. Well, those things don't exist anymore or they don't. They're not needed as frequently anymore because you have it right in your hand everywhere you go. Right. I mean it's amazing that they still do exist. Exactly. And like when was the last time you memorized somebody's telephone number? Right. I can't even tell you what my direct land line is like. I have to look it up in my email signature, but that's the thing is we've become so dependent on these devices, but what we forget is that that device, when it's turned off, is like the spaces we used to design. So it's this beautiful thing that's got all of these bells and whistles in it to allow you to do stuff, but when it's turned off, it's just a beautiful thing.
Speaker 2:
11:01
The real reality of what places are today are just like that phone. It's that moment. You press the button or you face id and it becomes something that you're interacting with and engaging with. So our expectations that have been created from our smartphones on how you can customize every little setting, how you can ask Siri for something and it can instantly anticipate what your needs are in terms of your travel times and be able to assess things through machine learning and ai. All of this stuff has now changed what our level of expectation is for how our time is being utilized.
Speaker 3:
11:39
Can you give us a concrete example of how a brand may be using a vacuum of physical stores to really engage with us in conjunction with with all things digital.
Speaker 2:
11:51
That's the thing is it's not even that. It's saying our for for what we want in spaces that time matters. So when you look at going into a store, what's happened is all of these people have thought, oh, we walk around with these phones, all these brands we walk around with these phones will obviously that means people want to engage with technology, a space, but what you're actually finding as we're ripping out more technology than we're putting in in terms of user experience engagement, right? Those are things that have a shelf life. If the contents not regenerated, just like our phones, if we just saw the same thing, if we went to facebook everyday or if we went to instagram and that never refreshed, we wouldn't go back. And that's the thing is the way that we're experiencing technology, the way we're experiencing inflammation is in technology in our handhelds and our computers that's now dictating what our spaces need to do in terms of refresh rates, in terms of our ability to kind of have that end to end experience.
Speaker 2:
12:49
So you know, if you want to know a great example of a store that's using technology to its benefit and really thinking about the value of time during experience, reef formation is the first one that comes to mind. And I don't know if you know the brand, I'll quickly describe it, but um, this is a women's wear company, um, that has some stores. I know there's one in New York and that there's one in La for a fact because I've been in both. But what they do, it's, it's actually quite clever. They have all of their product on the floor and just one of each product and you walk in and their sales associates standing there holding ipads and there's a counter that's kind of like a concierge desk. You walk in, you're like, okay, great, go see a product, and then you say, man, I try this on and a sales associate will say, may I have your name and what size you'd like.
Speaker 2:
13:40
And as you go through the store and you grab your items, they'll just kind of walk with you and take whatever you want and put everything right back on the, on the rail so they have a profile of what you want. So when you go to the concierge desk, you just give them your name and you say, hi, I'm Laura. I'd like to try on my items. And the concierge associate will say yes, hold on one moment. And then say, okay, Laura, you can proceed to fitting room number four. And when you walk in, what's happening is you get in there, you open your wardrobe and all of the products are there and that wardrobe has doors in the front of it that you experienced, but also in the back where the back of house as an attached to the entire experience. And then in that room you can manipulate the lighting.
Speaker 2:
14:23
You can put your phone on so you can put your own music, whatever you want to listen to, a podcast, movies, whatever you want to listen to music. And then you have a screen that says these are the items in your room, and so you can try things on. And instead of having that uncomfortable experience that many of us have, which is it's too big, it's too small. You're half dressed, you need pop your head out, say, hey, sales associate, can you help me? You just go to the screen. You press on the item and say, can I have a smaller size? Can I have a larger size? And then it says, please close the wardrobe. You clothes the wardrobe and then they add the size in and then the light goes off that says you can open the wardrobe and then all of a sudden the size is there.
Speaker 3:
15:03
That does make sense. And I can see as if you are in shopping a leisure shopper that, that would, uh, that would appeal to me. That sounds like making an unpleasant experience even more painful. Really? Yeah. You got to give your name and spell your name wrong. You've got to go through all the va and
Speaker 2:
15:20
you'll never see it. You never say the name, but do I get your point? I mean, I think what they're trying to do is say, make the conversion in the fitting room. So the whole point of that is saying how do we use technology to make the conversion of the fitting room? My two point, oh, of that experience would be if I've done all my browsing online and I want to go in to try it all on, can I just take all of my record that you already have that exists and say, actually I'd like to reserve a fitting room at this time and then when I get there at the concierge desk that can involve pulled it pulled all the clothes that I want to try on already and say, hi, I'm Laura. I'm here to try on these clothes and then say, okay, hold on a moment.
Speaker 2:
15:59
Okay, go to room five. So then you just take the step out. You know, puck underhill famously said that if you keep people in the store for 22 minutes, you can get to conversion. You get a higher level of conversion. Well, how do you start to look at all of these different methods of retail and actually look at how you stitch them together with the red thread to go through the whole experience to make 22 minutes happen even when you're outside of the store. That's, to me where I think the value of technology comes to play.
Speaker 3:
16:28
Does the UK stocks probably way out in the habit, roughly 18 percent of retail sales are done online, but close to 50 percent of sales are influenced by online, meaning that whatever someone's seen it on, on the Internet. So we're on instagram and latterly goes into the store to buy it. So I guess that's where having that experiential service within, within the store really comes into it saying because once you pull upon her and then you know, that kind of golden golden service within the, within the bricks and mortar kind of seals the seals with deal.
Speaker 2:
17:03
Yep. And you've got it. And I think just going back to the other part of the that you brought up about the twitter posts that you saw. Gensler really wanted to get to the core of understanding the why behind like does design have an impact on these experiences and you know, like when you look at it and experience what is the role that design plays in it? And um, it was, it was interesting, we embarked on this idea of saying, you know, how do we, how do we look at the why? And what we found was that there were three different modes. You have what you've heard about a space and whether or not it meets that expectation, you have that engagement that happens in the space in terms of the service quality and the intention and everything like that. And then you have the space itself in terms of is it meeting those needs that you need terms of really understanding it and is it the right kind of environment for what you see for the brand.
Speaker 2:
17:53
But really at the core of all of it. And what we found was it was all about the intention of the why, why the person was going to the space. And we identified that there are five different modes to experience. The one that you called out already was task mode, which is, I know I want something, I know exactly what it is I want. I'm going to go in, I'm going to get it. I'm going to get out. Right? That's just getting things done, which is the exact experience. You just 50 percent of population, which is probably mail a generalization, which probably getting full, but no, no, there's no. I have no guns, no guns, um, but it, it's a perception, right? So task code. Then there's discovery mode, which is, I know I want a blue jumper, but what blue jumper do I want?
Speaker 2:
18:41
What shade of blue and you know, and so now you're going in there to know that you want to get something, but it's figuring out what it is that you need. Then you have social mode, which is a meeting up with a whole bunch of friends or I want to go spend some time with my partner. I want to go run around and I'm, I'm going to use these, this opportunity to go have these experiences with this partner and socialize and have this be a new setting for that experience. Um, then you have aspiration mode, which is this idea of, you know, I'm walking around this and I want to be a part of this community. I want to learn something. I want to better myself in some way, and then you have an entertainment mode, which is, I'm really just going in there to, you know, to be delighted, to be surprised, to kind of experience, join a different way to kind of feel that time mattered.
Speaker 2:
19:27
Um, and in those five different modes and those head spaces within the retail when he started just isolating for retail, um, we found the stat that, um, that you called out, which is 49 percent of the time, people are in task mode. So wow, that was telling. But the other thing we found was that anytime you got, you did any of the modes with another mode, there was a higher level of convergence. And so the second year like, okay, so if you get task mode right, and then you add another layer on top, that's where you get a much more enriching experience in the minds of people that are going into a space to do something in one of those modes. And so that's where the Aha moment came in because if 49 percent of people are in task mode, that means that 51 percent of the time, the other 51 percent want something more than just to get something that they know they want.
Speaker 2:
20:23
And then when you start to talk, going back to the beginning of the conversation is retail dying. It's being disrupted because task mode is the thing that's being disrupted. It's that idea of knowing what you already want or even discovery mode to a point where you're going online to see what's out there. But it's the task mode is the Amazon vacation in the Alibaba suffocation of, of retail. It's about saying, hey, I can literally go up to I'm washing machine and push my dash button and have tied show up tomorrow or have you know. And that's the thing is for as long as that exists, that's now it's about delivering better service. It's getting something to somebody and taking all of the potential friction points out of it. I get that and I think that that is a compelling argument. But then just coming back to your first point, which is that shops having gone from places where transactions are made to places of experience and engagements on, we still saying that they are going to be the focus of transactions and in many ways it's, it's, you know, you're still relying on digital media to draw people in, but then often the transaction will take place in the bricks and mortar.
Speaker 2:
21:31
Well, what we're saying is that it's not just about transaction. Right. And the idea is if you think about it, do you want to go into a place that just has rails and rails and rails or racks and shelves of product or do you want to go into a place where you can see what you want and be able to have more air to breathe, if you will, in that space and see something more and feel delighted and feel like when you were there it wasn't difficult to find something. Or if you had that engagement with that brand, you'd feel more positive about supporting that brand. Yeah, and I think it's just, it's a question of degrees. So you have a new store called dockyards, some song men not selling anything in this, whatever it is, 20,000 square foot old stool. It's purely about Samsung experience.
Speaker 2:
22:20
So and also got signed pretty similar and in seven dials. So there is going to be this play element where students become purely about media brand engagement and a no transactions but about surely you can only work for these kind of premium lifestyle brands and on your average high street that's just not gonna have someone to make financial sense. But here's the best part of that, right? When you start to think of the very beginning, what I said, it's not just about retail, it's about brand engagement. It's the degrees in which the brand is trying to engage with its customer. That's not always going to be a sales experience. And more and more you look at things like 29 rooms which has taken off in the states big time. Uh, what is it? Oh, it's like basically consider it an adult theme park, but not in the way that it sounds like an adult theme park.
Speaker 2:
23:09
We'll try this again. Consider it a brand theme park, right? So there are 29 rooms that different brands and different and different social groups or different artists can sign up for and it basically the idea is you have this exhibition that people can take part in and it's really designed for that social element going in and being, you know, completely inspired. It's the selfie moment. It's the, I'm here for the Fomo because I am afraid of not being here. The fear of missing out and I want everyone to know I'm here so I'm going to load up my instagram story or my snapchat with all of these photos of me in the same places that everybody else who's Hashtag 29 rooms has been in. But you have companies like juicy couture, you have company like toilet paper companies have taken over these rooms and they're are selling tickets.
Speaker 2:
24:03
They're selling out and they're just in big factory like a big warehouses and they sell out and they just keep on. It was something that refinery 29 did just think it'd be a great experience and it's taken off so big that it's, you know, celebrities show up to the launch of these and everybody wants to be there similar to the Museum of ice cream, but even though that isn't Brandon Doris, but it's just these moments like the converse one star hotel that happened earlier this year where it's just for a couple or no for one night, only here for a couple of days only. You go in and have a massive immersive experience where it might not sell a thing, but you go home and you want to be a part of that brand. You're buying something, you're going to come and garden to go to the store. You know, it's those types of things where it's about push and pull, where knowing that you're not gonna have a million of them on every single high street.
Speaker 2:
24:51
But if you really understand your catchment and you know where everybody is delivering all of their products, when they buy them online, you can start to say, wow, we have a cluster of people you know, that live in South Carolina, we have a cluster of people that live in shortage. We should actually put an experience on for them and get them aligned to the brand and kind of make them feel like this is, this is their community, this is their space and cater to their demographic, psychographic and profile needs. And then they will be in gender even more to that brand. And if they didn't even need to buy anything by them doing all the social media that they were doing, they have now generated loyalty in their entire community of people.
Speaker 3:
25:31
If that is the case, that there's a greater need than ever to, um, pacemaker. So to make sure that your, your task focused, retailers trading alongside experiential focus. So the challenge for the high street will then be this disjointed ownership and, and you know, um, yeah, curating the space as a whole rather than just cannibalizing one another for the sake of some extra run. I think
Speaker 2:
25:58
the challenge for the high street is again, kind of rethinking what that word retail means. You know, I think the challenge for the high street is people don't shop just in one place, like people aren't in one mode anymore, you know, when you think about the way that you work, live and play, it's. When was the last time you went to work and only did work and didn't take a personal call or didn't check something out for yourself online or buy something online. I mean, nobody, nobody fragments their brain anymore. But I am in work mode. I only do work in work mode. I'm in work mode. Okay. I'm out.
Speaker 3:
26:31
Speak for yourself a little more humble about all about business. Game face on. Wow. Really?
Speaker 2:
26:39
Yeah. It's like, come on, I got to call you out on that. No, but that's the thing is our lifestyles have changed over the past 20 years and the way that we spend our time
Speaker 3:
26:48
with the rise of digital, digital media, etc. Do you think we're going to see increasing personalization, uh, and, and clearly we've already talked about the experience as you, but what will that lens and advantage to independent new brands because they can offer genuine, kind of authentic point of difference or is it just going to raise barriers to entry? You can look at it twofold.
Speaker 2:
27:13
The branDs that actually have built their infrastructure online, all these online brands that have started shaping up, you start to look at the fact that they have this seamless end to end experience in terms of delivering who they are online, what their content is, what their strategy is, and having a wholesale like whatever it is, their distribution center somewhere else, but they have that working and then when they go to physical, they already have a platform where they have a crm for their customers. They know who they are, they know what they purchased. They know all this information about them because our customer has been buying from them online, so the second you give them an in store experience. Now you're able to link all those things together and be able to leverage what you know about them and what their preferences are. All these physical retailers that came to online have had to tear down all these barriers to really compete against that because the other, the online to physical is much more efficient because everything's streamlined, but everybody who's was physical first is battling an uphill fight to be able to get efficient while changing their entire business while investing massive amounts in infrastructure of their business and there's a place for everyone at fundamentally and imagine these physical space companies that have been working in a way for a really long time with a lot of different divisions, with a mastery of being able to deliver to a client in a certain way.
Speaker 2:
28:39
Being disrupted by all these people that are able to say, no, we can push product out regularly. We can get it to people in two hours. We can do all of these things. So I have empathy for both sides because now you know, the online people are saying we have no physical voice. I mean, people can't really understand who we are because they've never really had that sensory experience. It's always just been a very digital like transactional thing. So how do we actually give life to our spaces and they, they know so much about who they are that it makes it so much more difficult to get every little detail right and honed in and physical with the budgets that they're operating under. And then you've got physical, who knows all that because they've been watching the data about, you know, how their customers we have and what they need and how they're shopping, but they can't get to a point where they can be seamless because it's a lot harder to work backwards with, you know, different divisions that aren't sharing information.
Speaker 2:
29:36
And um, and so there's empathy to both sides. And then while these online retailers coming offline or making these crazy experiences that are super amazing and it's all about just getting people to come in and get to know them because they already have that loyalty, these guys, the other guys are competing and how do I transform my business while now delivering on experience while also making sure that my infrastructure can get things to our customers in the most efficient, expedient way while also finding a new offering to make sure I'm not obsolete in five minutes. So there's a lot that people are contending with brands.
Speaker 3:
30:11
Uh, it's clearly a lot more complicated than I had appreciated in retail, but I think it's going to throw up some, some really interesting opportunities. So one of my favorite people to follow on twitter, anthony slumbers, he's, he's full of good ideas. He's a, he's a big believer of seth goo. Dan's concepts of the tribe. what I find interesting about that is as brian goes way beyond retail now, so, and we're now seeing it big time and a coworking co living and to, to give people an example of what I'm talking about. You know, we work, they've just had a recent brand festival in the uk where several hundred thousand people turned up and actually a lot of the kind of euphoria around the, around we work is really a brand thing. You want to be, you won't be working now and not just because it's convenient and an interesting space, but because it's as we work and it's got a square balls about it, how is this going to impact on what people want from their working space and how does the brand interaction kind of fit into how it building offices.
Speaker 2:
31:14
It's like you're in my head. I like it because this is the stuff that I'm constantly talking about. It goes back to that operating system we work works because it's understanding the lifestyles of its people. It's understanding that these people that are going there or going there because they're either startup brands are, they're a community of people that want to know another community of people. Um, and then they programmed ways for these people to interact seamlessly without that forced feeling of interaction. And I think that's the thing that's super interesting is that they're doing it in a way where they're looking at every single layer of the brands they're bringing in, how you look at the people that are there, you're programming the types of networking activities and culture into the space. But that's what retail brands do all the time that we've always done it
Speaker 3:
32:02
doggy. I think it comes back to the brand. You either you and the tribe, so you either you're in, in which case he love it and you defend it, or you're out, in which case you look at it slightly skeptical. So we weren't great example. Is it seamless? The name seems a little bit forced to me at times when people are wearing shirts, saying creative and stuff. But you say that to, um, uh, we weren't devotee in, you know, they'll get it. You don't get that unite apple five years ago. You've queued up for apple phones for, oh yeah, you love android or whatever it is. Um, it, it's quite kind of divisive. They're quite, yeah, it's in buses out.
Speaker 2:
32:41
I think we're going to see this more and more because as we got more digital, we kind of reverted, we, we reverted to our social networks being something that we're digital. So I mean I think about the amount of times that I'm communicating or I know aLl about my friend's kids having never physically met my friends. Kids like I can look at a photo of them as a baby and say, oh, I know who's good that is, and it's crazy. It's insane. And you feel you have this like weird sense of being a part of a community and still being in touch with people that you're not. And then you see them and then it's just like, oh my god, how are you doing? Oh my god, I loved that when he posted that. And that's the thing is that it's still artificial. Right? And so everybody hates the word authenticity, but I've got a lot of time for it and the reason I have a lot of time for it is people, people misuse it.
Speaker 2:
33:31
They think authenticity is anything that's real, you know? Exactly. but the idea that I look at with authenticity is this gut feeling I get when a brand says what it is and actually acts what it is, and so I can walk into a store or I can walk into a restaurant or I can walk into one of those each attainment experiences or I can go into any place and my spidey sense goes off when it doesn't feel right and I just know something about this. I don't like it. I don't like how it makes me feel unfair.
Speaker 3:
34:04
Regardless of how authentic you are. Brand brands get old. People get broader than I'd say how when you're thinking about designing buildings and you're thinking about catering for brands, how can you future proof the built environment against brian deterioration or you or you ultimately always going to be is is your buildings relevance? Always going to be determined by the occupying brand
Speaker 2:
34:29
cabinet. I'm going to try this slightly differently. I'm going to answer your question, I promise,
Speaker 4:
34:33
but
Speaker 2:
34:35
brands don't have the luxury of getting tired anymore.
Speaker 2:
34:40
I think it used to be, you know, you'd go back to 1918 when Henry Ford used to say, you can have any color of a car in the world that you want so long as the colors black, you know, because it used to be that the brands would dictate what a customer could have at a certain point in time. over the past seven years, brands lost control. Customers have the control because they need the customer to maintain their loyalty. Customers demands have gotten a lot higher. They want much more personalization. They want much more individualization. They, if they give you information, they expect to get something in return for it. The expectations have gotten higher. There are 100 brands out there that are doing something similar to what you're doing and if you're not doing it to their level of satisfaction, they'll peace out. There'll be gone in about five seconds and that kind of power is crazy and if a brand wants to maintain relevance to the community, that the tribe, if you will, that it's growing four than it has to constantly looking at how that tribe is evolving.
Speaker 2:
35:40
Who's coming into it, who's coming out of it, and what's core, what's sacred? And that's not an easy thing. It's really not. I've seen brands when saks fifth avenue back in the day did there, um, redesign. They alienated out their entire traditionalist space and they were focused on millennials and the traditional. So the ones that had the money, they'd been going there forever and it caused massive backlash. And sure, at the end of the day they were trying to hedge their bets. But you know, was that the way to do it, you know, is that change should happen. I mean, we need to be a little bit empathetic of understanding that everybody is on a path. Everybody's on their own journey and change happens based on the way that they have experienced technology. The way that you know, the way they grew up, where they grew up. I mean, your mindset for change is so established early on that it's understanding how to bring people along with you and not leave them behind.
Speaker 3:
36:37
The lucky thing for you is that it's pretty clear that as it stands and real estate is pretty underserved in how we think about a brand and how we really engage with what brands are trying to do. say that the future's presuming you pretty busy and it sounds like you've got an insanely busy schedule of speaking, coming up and spreading the word in terms of people who've been listening, who would like to discuss things. Vrbo is, is there a way to get in touch with you?
Speaker 2:
37:05
Sure. Yeah. Um, you can go to [inaudible] dot com and you can go to retail or you can go to people and you could find my name or you can catch me at get laura on instagram, twitter, all of the social media channels. Linkedin. Perfect.
Speaker 3:
37:20
So we're on to our final two questions, which are your favorite building?
Speaker 2:
37:25
Um, and it sounds so cliche when I say it. Empire state building, I'm going to have it. Haven't had it yet. Empire state building as is. Or you a poster refurb or there's just something about the charm to it. I've just had. There's just something about the icon that it was for New York than it is for New York, um, but there's something about how it owns what it is and it's unapologetic about it that I just love. I love just looking at it and just kind of remembering that it's been there for a long time and when you go to it you can still see all the cracks and creases even through a referral. You could sTill see the age to it on final question,
Speaker 3:
38:07
which is an innovation in real estate, which is, which is kind of excites you about how it could change the way we do things in the future. The equivalent? Yeah.
Speaker 2:
38:18
Amazon invocation of retail. I'd say I'm for real estate is the appear here of retail or of real estate. Wow. You think it's going to be. It's going to be that big. I think that temporary is the new permanent and I think it's about curating. It's looking at. It's looking at high streets and it's at places and curating the mix to match the types of people you're trying to get there and it's being understanding that people are. Their attention spans a lot shorter than ever and to really get them to want to be somewhere you've got to give them a really good mix that they feel like they can identify with and I feel like it's not just about every lease is going to be a short term lease, but it's about how sprinkling that into a retail mix and sprinkling that into a real estate strategy could help drive traffic there. Thank you very much. Thank you. Oh, you've been great.
Speaker 5:
39:10
Thank you.
Speaker 1:
39:15
If you still thought the shops are all about sales, hopefully that conversation, it's gotten some way in changing your ideas. What keeps real estate interesting is that there's never a one size fits all solution, but it's clear that the industry needs to start thinking much more about how brands are engaging with consumers. If retail focused assets to remain relevant as brand appeals spreads to other asset clauses, it's important to note that a brand may help drive value of your asset, but is there a risk that buildings may will say, become tainted by failing brands? I'll be putting this question [inaudible] next guest, when we discussed the power of tech enabled placemaking and community creation. Thank you for listening and join us here. Seen in building.
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