Bricks and cliques
By Christine Hall, Landor
Consumers have an emotional connection to the small handheld computers they carry around in their pockets; however, few brands have fully tapped into how to build relationships through them.
Clicks are, in fact, social networks. As Internet ecosystems have evolved and mobile technology has strengthened, the concept of “social” has become something that is done through computers and, increasingly, phones. Because of this, there is no separation between bricks and clicks.
When the phrase “bricks and clicks” began circulating in the business world, it was generally about driving business back and forth between physical retail stores and websites. Today, it’s not about the brick-and-mortar store or the website. When we hear the word click, it no longer necessarily connotes pressing a button on a computer mouse. Most people don’t even click anymore anyway— they swipe, pinch, tap, and touch.
Instead, when we hear the word click, we might envision its homonym, clique, which interestingly is also a synonym for social networks. Just think back to the cliques in your high school or even in your own company today. Now cliques exist virtually on social media. More important, they are looking for places to connect in person too, which presents an opportunity for brands and retailers.
Given trends toward shopping local, this opportunity is particularly strong for local retailers. Building a sense of community, where people can meet each other and have shared experiences they can’t get online, is increasing. The role of the retailer should be different today; it’s more about the human experience the consumer is going to have with your product, or the experiences they’ll have with other people who are also engaged with your brand, both virtually and in reality.
People go online to find new things to do locally and to be a part of what’s going on in their community. They can watch videos and read reviews to determine if it’s a brand and brand experience with which they might want to connect. Brands that use technology to drive foot traffic to an in-person experience are more successful in building community and loyalty around their brand.
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