Welcome To The Underwhelming Economy.
Walking past the Nokia Store, Regent Street - that inspiration for so many blogposts - I peeked in to check that I had not been unfair with my previous comments. But no, it was empty again and yet, as this picture shows, not devoid of activity.
I've no idea who the Bananarama tribute act are, but I do know that this is not what is meant by the experience economy. They danced and sang perfunctorily, the staff were as disconnected as before and customers remained a rarity. What were Nokia thinking? Who knows? But no-one seems to have remembered that for the "experience" to be worth the name, the customer must find it engaging and/or relevant.
And it's just Nokia's bad luck that they chose to do it today. I would have written the same post even if they hadn't because two hundred yards down the street, at the Timberland store, I'd already encountered this.
Now, Ashley Hicklin is a far more talented performer, but he too was being ignored (and in a shop window no less) while London's masses thronged past. As Iain Tait says of the online world, "When you’re doing distributed stuff, never forget the importance of clear signposts." It's just as true offline. Otherwise what you get is some insiders recording the event - no doubt so they can show how cool and innovative it had all been - and very little customer interest.
As I wandered around, admiring some very nice merchandising (of which more another time), someone who looked suspiciously like a marketing guy announced to me with total sincerity that "We have free live music instore today." WTF? Maybe someone had read that "free" was the new black or had signed up for Reboot? Maybe there's been some recent seminar that identified instore performance as retail's killer app? I really don't know. Can anyone explain it to me?
Welcome to the underwhelming economy.