Southcentre is a well-loved super-regional shopping centre in the south end of Calgary, Alberta. The centre is home to 180 retailers, including a stable of heavy-hitter international brands. In keeping with an established, family-focused shopper, Southcentre had relied for years on “comfort shopping” – the promise of better amenities, easier parking, and an altogether friendlier experience. This was a strong draw for a while. But with relentless area competition for market share, Southcentre needed to rethink its positioning to defend its standing as the fashion destination in Calgary.
Southcentre worked closely with Toolbox to create a vivid brand identity that exuded refinement and subtlety, while reflecting the shifting tastes and expectations of its primary audience. The core idea revolved around a tone of assured confidence, in both self, and the suburb we call home. (Internally, we thought of Southcentre as an "Ambassador of Style" in this south side neighbourhood) To reflect this, we combined the perfect model with hand-drawn environmental cues, for both style and substance. Together with strong tactics, this culminated in sales increases of 26% per month during the first one-year period.
“The campaign is getting great reviews from customers (and better yet, huge compliments from the management teams at other malls!!!)”
Cliff Stoakley, Marketing Director, Southcentre
The new brand was calibrated to make shoppers feel at home and intensely excited at the same time. A colourful palette with hand-illustrated environmental scenarios enhanced the sense of location while framing striking fashion photography with a clear sophistication. The effect is one of open simplicity, and unmistakable refinement.
Leasing strategy is the white-hot core of retail centre success. It’s essential that prospective new tenants understand the brand value of any given centre in its market context. Southcentre’s elegant new brand was powerfully combined with statistical grit to drive the hard facts home, in an arresting way.
The spring campaign harnessed the magnetic new brand to draw shoppers into the centre in droves. The message – “Bloom Right Here” – was clear: This centre is for you, your life, your neighbourhood. Each week throughout the campaign, 70,000 shoppers gathered to see fashion vignettes in Centre Court.
Mailers and other advertising channels generated 4,941,600 impressions, all loudly proclaiming Southcentre’s renewed brand promise. Most importantly? The campaign resulted in April/May same-store sales increases of 3.7%.
To gain market share in today’s digital landscape, one must first gather a strong online audience. To harvest a commanding database, Southcentre embarked on a monster holiday event. The prize: $50,000 + a 2013 Ford Escape. Radio ads, billboards, and extensive online initiatives plastered the marquee prize all over town.
In addition to giant holiday traffic spikes (46,342 shoppers entered the mall in order to enter the contest), Southcentre also collected 18,044 unique e-mail addresses – grist for the mill of future online intiatives.
When 2013 rolled around, the time was right to refresh the brand subtly. A reconfiguration of the key brand components – warm, bright backdrops, stunning fashion, and illustrated elements – brought new life to the still-young brand.
In this case, strong consistency of visual profile linked one season smoothly to the one before. This was about an inspiring, optimistic feeling – a perfect alloy between refinement and excitement.
A refined Lookbook brought the excitement of the Southcentre brand out to the trade area. It also allowed us to fuse that brand with the real heart of the matter – the retail merchandise itself. Such was its popularity that it became a seasonal keepsake for the style hungry.