Tuesday, 8 July 2014

What company does your brand keep?

One of the main arguments against the wholesale adoption of online shopping has to be that of the shopping experience. I don't just mean all the super techy gizmos and gadgets that you get in some shops these days, but the aura of the shop itself - the smells, sounds, sights and tactile experiences that the shopper has while they are there, which become traces on the memory associated with buying that brand, whatever it was.

Take the shop above - a quirky place if ever there was one - Gewürz-und Teehaus Schnorr - in Frankfurt, established in the immediate post-War years. It comes into the niche retail category of "Spice and Tea House" but the product range doesn't stop there. There are teas, yes, from distant shores, from Sri Lanka to Japan, as well as Fortnum & Mason. And every spice known to man and woman,  mysterious and beckoning.

But in addition, there are shelves of jams and preserves and chutneys and lemon curds, stacks of shortbread. Nougat, nuts and honey. Joss sticks, china and tea accessories. Even ornaments, small items of furniture and fans.

It's an emporium of the exotic.

But is it? There are some familiar brands here for me - Walker's Shortbread, and sauces from Stokes and Lea & Perrins. And somehow, the value of these increases when bought from such a shop. In comparison to an English Tescos, you feel as if the products have earned their right to these exclusive shelves via a gourmet tasting, rather than some buyer's deal.

It's worth remembering that the company your brand keeps has an influence on how it is perceived as well as what it says or does.

And on that note, I'll leave you with my discovery from Schnorr. This is absolutely delicious!

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