Insights Technology alone cannot save the High Street – media and content skills might. Just beware the legal and regulatory challenges.

If you are a retailer or a brand there are certain questions you should be asking yourself – are you grasping the powerful opportunity to successfully build different and deeper relationships with consumers?  Are you providing entertaining and engaging environments, full of media content and experiences that could turn transactional customers into long term fans? This is what the media industry does brilliantly.  Lessons have been learned by the music, games and TV industries as the digital and technology waves hit them first.  Now Retail needs to learn from those industries, and adopt media type skills to create engaging experiences. This is more than just pumping out videos on big screens or re-hashing branded content in-store or on-line and it’s something that the Nike Fuel Stations do well. They are dedicated entertainment zones that immerse you in the world of Nike. And of course Burberry needs to be mentioned – they understand what the media industry calls ‘360 commissioning’, and create dedicated interactive content specifically for each project.  All Saints haven’t held back. They have taken a full dive into film production and live music sessions in store as an extension of their brand. The media industry is inherently good at using content to tell stories, and have learnt about technology and social changes the hard way as digital tsunamis hit the music, games and TV sectors. Common examples are companion apps used with programmes such as The XFactor, which give deeper, richer secondary content experiences; and how music and TV converge with Shazam type solutions allowing a further digital journey with the waft of an iPhone. Media organisations do not sell single products in single transactions; they create long term engagement and fans across multiple media.  Learning from those developments and translating them to the High Street can be daunting and will require different solutions in different cases. And this is not without its legal and regulatory challenges. Some of the biggest stumbling blocks, if not understood and addressed properly, include: the dark arts of content, talent and format rights; new production processes and industry rules; audience development techniques and data issues; compliance and clearance risks; not to mention media regulatory issues around video content (see my previous post on ATVOD). It may be a confusing process for retailers and brands, but adopting media industry behaviours and skills will give them an excellent springboard – just beware the legal and regulatory challenges. For more information contact David Deakin.