Located in Stockport, Merseyway Shopping Centre was one of the first of it’s kind and has been part of the retail landscape since the 1960s. Over time, a barrage of negative publicity, competition from out-of-town developments such as the Trafford Centre, and a declining public opinion led to dwindling footfall figures, retailers leaving and the centre being placed into administration.
Merseyway needed a refresh; one that directly addressed the problems it was facing, breath new life into the old brand and re-establish its connection with the local Stopfordians.
Old Merseyway branding
Before anything new could be developed, it was important to really get to grips with the aspects that weren’t hitting home in the old branding. What really resonated was the potential that Merseyway had been missing through dated, dull visuals and a hugely inconsistent brand identity.
It was no surprise that Merseyway had lost its connection with the locals, as the vast differences in brand imagery and the lack of a clear brand message meant that consumers had no consistent identity to connect with.
The dated imagery also made Merseyway look tired, to the point of appearing as if it were shutting down, which led Stopfordians to start looking elsewhere for a contemporary shopping experience.
This research instantly highlighted our key objectives for this project:
- To develop a new positioning, one with a clear message that would remind people of all the brands Merseyway had to offer, whilst resonating with the existing opinion they had of Merseyway
- To unify Merseyway’s disjointed brand identity creating a more consistent brand experience
- To inject Merseyway with a more vibrant visual identity, underpinned by the chosen theme
Laying the foundations
To be able to build that connecting bridge between Merseyway and Stopfordians, we got to know the locals, and submerged ourselves into their mindset.
What became apparent was that many locals were surprised by the number of big brands that Merseyway had. The convenience aspect of its old positioning sent out the wrong message of Merseyway being a budget shopping location, and wasn’t communicating the array of top retail names it had to offer.
After extensive testing of several positioning statements and ways that people would realistically reappraise Merseyway, ‘Famous brands, fabulously close’ was chosen to not only become our internal brand proposition, but also the consumer-facing strapline which would underpin both our creative and communications strategy.
Bringing it to life
From a creative standpoint, the dull, disjointed brand Merseyway previously had was redesigned into one that was friendly, fresh and vibrant; one that emanated the established brand positioning and would instantly connect with the local Stopfordians.
For the logo, we discovered that the centre is built on stilts over the river Mersey. This element of heritage couldn’t be ignored, so we symbolised water with the flowing feature to the two ‘Y’s.
For the visual brand platform, the concept of ‘The giving tree’ was created as a way to symbolise the entire ‘Famous brands, fabulously close’ theme in a manner flexible enough to use in brand and seasonal events promotions.
The idea represents an abundance of choice, all within easy reach, as well as the positive message of rejuvenation and growth, which fitted the wider project at Merseyway.
To overcome the previous brand’s problem of a lack of consistency, we also developed a series of brand guidelines. This ensured that all those involved in promoting the new brand represented it in a consistent manner, which has been applied throughout all the centre’s communications.
So what did people think?
Well, the feedback received from both internally and externally has been amazing, with tenants reporting a boost in sales and consumers calling the centre ‘brighter’, ‘livelier’ and ‘vibrant’, showing a positive reappraisal.
Events have been really well supported and the new brand has also attracted new major tenants such as Primark and Costa Coffee, in addition to 100% of existing tenants renewing their leases and an overall unit occupancy level of 91%.
Merseyway has also seen an 8% increase in overall footfall in 2011 and a 78% average increase in weekly website visits compared to the previous year.
Have a look at Merseyway onlinehttp://www.merseyway.com or better still why not visit the centre yourself!merseyway, Project, rebrand, shopping, stockport