Brands are important in retailing. Whether you’re talking about own-brand labels or big brand names that get regular high profile air time on our televisions (think Cadbury, Heineken, Mars) they all have a role to play in how retailers market their goods.  But what’s your brand? I was recently talking light-heartedly with some colleagues about what it meant to have your own personal ‘brand’. After some thought, we decided that a person’s ‘brand’ is basically corporate-speak for what people say about you behind your back.

I thought back to some of the retailers I have met over the last year. I wondered what their brand would be and how it affects the atmosphere of their shop and how customers feel when they enter it. The first retailer I met when I started this job was Budgens store manager Steve Johnson in Yeovil (pictured, having a laugh). He told me the overall mood he wanted to create for both his staff and his customers was the ability to come in and ‘have a laugh’. It was true – his staff were all good natured and enjoyed talking while they worked –both to each other and to their customers.

If you’re going to work in a job with long hours like retail, then why not at least make it a fun place to be? This was a definite brand that Steve had created for himself and the store, and it worked for him. On a visit to Market Harborough I met Best-one retailer and IAA winner Vipul Pabari. As well as the fact his shop is obsessively well-presented, one of the first things you notice is the emphasis on serving customers quickly and making sure no-one is kept waiting. You might say this is just good customer service, but I would say Vipul’s brand is definitely ‘immaculate and efficient’, which creates a great impression.
So what three words would sum you and your business up? Would your staff describe you as ‘determined, fair and enthusiastic’, or are you more ‘maverick, unpredictable, creative’? What do you think – how important is it to create a brand for your business?