Brian Walker

“In a very real way, ownership is the essence of leadership. When you are ‘ridiculously in charge,’ then you own whatever happens in a company, school, et cetera. ”

– Henry Cloud

One of the first questions to consider in working with a retailer’s business, almost regardless of size, is to consider one simple question.

A litmus test initially, that is as simple as understanding: “what do you own in the marketplace”,  effectively what invitation do you have to play in the great game of retail?

This is invariably followed by the why, what is your brand persona? And how do you implement replicable systems and frameworks required to build, delight and repeat the experience?

Lets briefly put this to its own litmus test.

Think Myer, BIG W, Target  by way of example, What is it that they own in Australian consumers’ minds?

Think Tea2, Tiffany, K Mart, Lorna Jane, Muji, Supercheap Auto, Amazon, and the list goes on – they all clearly own their space and their category.

They’re not trying to be all things to all people and are clearly understood for their positioning.  Competition brings the opportunity to refine the offer, rather than be attacked at the edges.

Its not complex. Its simple and straight to the heart of their point of difference, their positioning, brand attributes and deployment.

In fact, if your business can clearly answer these questions, then you have the beginning of the shape to your story (as distinct from shape to your story).

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

We have seen and will continue to see the large adjustment of online and offline retail, who wins and who grows. Equally who falls to the wayside.

Much will be made of the invaders and globalisation, less will be said about what we can control and develop, even less about just sharpening and refining our offer.

In format, numbers, size, reach, replicable “omnichannel” and the frameworks crucial to building outstanding customers, leaders and the retail of today and tomorrow.

So, when reflecting on your business model, in today’s changing environment, or in dealing with an advisor, simply starting by asking: “what do we own?”

That is a far more salient question than asking “what did we once own?”

Join Launa Inman (Super Retail Board member) ex CEO Billabong, & Target at our upcoming “Fit For Business” breakfast, along with Dominique Lamb, CEO of the National Retailers Association, and other senior retail leaders on July 3rd in Sydney.

First published InsideRetail on June 13 2018