The Magnetism of Distinctive Charm.

Nothing excites me more than seeing queues outside shops. The buzz. The noise. The energy. The tell tale signs that a retailer is doing it right and that shoppers love it. Forget media propaganda, if you travel around the world you’ll see it everywhere. Retailers doing incredibly well and happy smiling shoppers expressing the joy of the shopping experience and gladly parting with their money.

From Apple; to Topshop; to Harrods; to Louis Vuitton; to Wal-Mart. When the customer gets on board growth is assured – whatever the context around you.

One of the really interesting sources of magnetism that is emerging around the world is based on cultural diversity and the unique appeal of provenance or the country of origin.

Desigual from Spain, All Saints from England and Hollister from California all have one thing they share at their very core.

They have a unique sense of place. Desigual is an explosion of Spanish colour and flair. It is a flamboyant brand – loud and latin. All Saints is all ‘cool Britannia’. Very sassy and very London. Hollister is like being immersed in a Californian beach shack come surf club, with the added benefit of loads of eye candy.

They are all obvious, high energy, positive and confident. They each have a unique set of fingerprints that are easy for the shopper to see in every single touch-point. They attract customers on constantly changing newness not on dependable seasonality. On fear of missing out rather than discount. On trend not replenished basics.

The care and attention to detail is palpable in everything they do. The shoppers see it, feel it and appreciate it. And they can’t get enough of it.

These retailers have no fear of offending anyone. Because they believe fear makes you compromise and makes you bland. These brands are anything but bland. They thrive on the concept of being the first choice of a tribe rather than the third or fourth choice of many.

And the volumes, profit and growth of these businesses would stagger you based on your first impression of the stores and the merchandise. They look and feel niche, but the worst you could say about their numbers is that they are ‘mass-niche’.

Shoppers have money to spend everywhere in the world. Shoppers have shopper fatigue everywhere in the world. And where shoppers find something that excites them they support it with their wallets everywhere in the world.

The universal truth of retail is that magnetic differentiation works. Provenance or country of origin may be just another form of magnetic differentiation. But is arising as a very robust one that creates an exportable potential in a world that is shrinking as rapidly in perceived distance as it is being drowned in sameness. So I ask you a simple question… well do you reflect the energy of your provenance?