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Monday, 24 September 2012
I am a regular customer at Dundee’s many coffee houses. This is where I do most of my investigative research. In my experience of coffee houses I feel it best to stay away from the big branded company’s such as costa and Starbucks. I feel they tend attract the “wrong” type crowd. The Starbucks in the Overgate for example is a good example of the wrong place to have a coffee house that I like to attend. The Starbucks is there because the Overgate is the most popular centre in Dundee, buts it’s popular for all types of people. I may sound wrong but I don’t like all kinds of people I like my kind of people and I like tom feel comfortable in my surroundings when I’m in a coffee house, this comes from being around the “right” people. I also feel that the large branded establishments are very “busy” and by busy I mean mentally busy, there isn’t much mental space to think. There is too much going on. I get stressed easily and place like this stress me out. I prefer nice quiet neutral places such as empire state or henrys.
From sitting in Henry’s right now I can tell why I prefer this sort of atmosphere. The décor is very wooden and there is a large selection of browns on the walls. No bright colours and the feel of the space are very much in relation to the product they sell. In an establishment such as Starbucks the colour Green pops up a lot and I find that very distracting It feels sort of plastic in my opinion. I can feel that the values of places like henrys are to deliver good coffee in a homely and relaxed manner. Places like Starbuck make me think of values such as get your good coffee quickly so we can get to the next customer and make more money. I know there are probably not the values but that is how I see them.
The customers in places like Henrys seem to be much like me. They look kind of studenty and don’t look like there in any rush. You do get the odd business man come in and take away a coffee, he’s too busy to sit in. most of the customers in Henrys will sit in this is not the same for some other establishments. The Starbucks and Costa have regular young people and business men running in and out asking for a coffee or frappe to go. I believe this is mainly due to the fact that they are more well-known and more central, so more people in a hurry attend them. I’m perfectly sure that different branches will behave very differently to the local Dundee ones but for now I’ll stick to the calmer ones.
This is an establishment that clearly displays its values in all that it does. For example all there product are sitting on very plain white cubes meaning that the shop has no other detail other than the main products themselves. This means that as soon as you enter the shop there is nothing but the purity of the product, you are at no point bombarded with averts and branding related items. This creates a clutter free shopping experience much like the clutter free values of the company.
However all company’s need to advertise to sell efficiently, fortunately Lush has figured out a way to do this without too much upset to the perfect balance of their store. There are no images or flashy fonts in their advertising just simply chalk on blackboard style keywords. The keywords are meant to catch your eye very subtly and once you are interested you can read on about the deal. The adverts are all just above eye level so you have to actually look at them to see them meaning that your view isn’t cluttered. The adverts are also positioned above the items that they relate to so you can easily find and chose the product for you wisely. I like this sort of store, its calm and collected and I feel they don’t push you to buy they just help you along.
Lush have a reputation of selling very good quality handmade products and due to this the products are expensive. This kind of product is harder to sell to a larger market and so the kind easy environment is essential to their success.
As one of the biggest grossing brands in the world I thought I should have a quick look at Boots. When you enter boots you first of all see a large range of people. The largest range of people I have seen on this marketing excursion. In this module so far we have been taught that its important to target a single or small area of the market, and that if you attack all of it you will most likely not succeed. From looking around I would say that boots are doing just that, they seem to be in every corner of the market. Upstairs there are the upper-class perfumes and makeups and down stairs is the middle class creams and hygiene products. The floors of boots Dundee are very easy to navigate and are well labelled and sign posted in my opinion. If you want to find something just look up and all the isles are labelled. The isles in boots are very well designed in the sense that the male section is very manly with darker tones and all the products are lined up in easy to find orders. Out of all the shops I visited I find boots to be the most user-friendly. Much like the dark tones in the males section the hand cream isle is very pure and if filled with white natural tones that leave the customer feeling lighter than a feather. I feel these subtle mood changes do affect your judgment when buying a product. I was browsing the male isle and suddenly my eye was caught by a “new product” this product was the new Gillett Styler. It was back lit and the blue acrylic took up a whole shelf just to display this one product. The presentation was very well done and I have to admit I was thinking about buying it myself before I remembered I haven’t shaven fully in 2 years.
Another thing I noticed about boots is that it has a lot of very good deals. The products that are available in boots can be quite expensive for the lower to lower-middleclass person. This would be an issue if there wasn’t a way for people like this to shop deals bring the customer in and they buy things based on these deals. They come in to the store because it is a trusted brand and they feel more happy giving up a little bit extra for the product if they trust the source, and the deals are the bate.
I feel that boots gets away with branching out to a larger market because it keeps everyone separate. Everyone has a place in a boots store even if some places could be considered hostile territory; fortunately these territories are kept well apart.
The Burger king branch in the Overgate is a place that you would imagine to be packed with students and retail assistants on their lunch. If you did think this then well done 3 gold stars for you but there is much more to burger king and you would expect… much more. So for starters yea the age range was about 17 – 25 with a few 30 odd popping in and out, but what I want to know is why Burger King? What’s wrong with McDonalds or any other of the lower price fast food joints? Well I was thinking that when I first sat down but very soon after that I realised. I don’t really go to Burger King because I assumed it would be like McDonald’s but a tad more expensive. I’ve always thought that so maybe that’s something that burger king should look into. Anyway back to my point, the vibe I began to get from this establishment was “better than fast food, fast food” and after trying it I totally agree. The food was quite good. The burgers looked like they do on the ads, nice and juicy. So now that I know that burger king is of a good quality but I didn’t learn that from its adverts, so why do its customers get so fond of it?
This particular branch of Burger King is very interesting, as soon as I walked in it just felt… right. The place felt like it fitted Dundee very well, like it belonged. After sitting down it became apparent why. The décor was very Dundonian with a very industrial room lining. The gas and water pipes are bare to see and this gives the establishment a very industrial feel. One wall of the branch is even bare brick work and all the colours are interlinked to the city. I don’t know if this is shear coincidence or if it is intentional but it works very well. One other thing that gave the branch a very personnel to Dundee feel was that it wasn’t called “Burger King” it was called “My BK Overgate”. This personal touch just makes you feel that the company wants to be there and is happy to brand themselves slightly differently to be more a part of the community.
I making this observation I began to notice that the vast majority of the customers were sitting in to eat rather than taking it away much like they would in other rival company’s such as McDonalds. I began to think why this was and the conclusion I came to was that the customer must just feel more comfortable in this establishment. The homely feel must actually effect not only your judgment of the establishment but how you actually consume your meal once purchased. On realising that more people sat in I instantly though that there must be some subtle advertisements that make you want to buy more, as that’s why chains like this want you to stay and sit in. after a short scan around I realised that most of the advertising were conveniently situated at eye level for those that were sitting. After a while I suddenly developed the urge to have ice cream and jelly, this was strange because I haven’t has this since I was like 5. Having another quick glance around I found myself staring at a very small very delicious looking table advertisement for ice cream and jelly. The advert consisted of a very vibrant image of a perfect cube of red jelly sitting on top of a spectacular ice cream base.
God knows if the journey from me walking in to me wanting a nice portion of ice cream and jelly was intentional but it Shure implanted that idea deep into my head. Burger King and Christopher Nolan should arrange a sit down because between them I can see a bright future for inception 2.
The first thing I noticed when I entered the Overgate was that it was full of students and the elderly. Most of them were just wandering about and they didn’t seem to be in any sort of hurry. I observed this for a while and I began to realise that a lot of people were in the Overgate purely to meet others. On further examination I noticed that the people that did seem to be rushing around seemed to be older that the students but younger than the elderly. These people were the working class and they were mostly in a hurry they were using the Overgate as a passage to their destination rather than a meeting point.
The overall vibe a get from standing in the Overgate is that of relaxation and common place. I guess when you think about it, the Overgate really is a place you go to meet people or to take an optimum route onto the high street. These two reasons for visiting the Overgate are purely due to its location in town, the Overgate is situated in the optimum spot for obtaining visitors either from the university or from anyone meaning to meet anyone. And due to the fact that students and the elderly have the most free time they are the ones that the retail shops are suited to: Topshop, Primark, subway, burger king, ect. The Overgate gives people the feeling to comfort ability even if they have no intention of buying anything.