Measuring image: shopping centre case studies
'Branding' is well known for consumer products but power has shifted from manufacturers' brands towards retailers'. The term 'image' is more common than 'brand' in the context of shopping centres, but 'branding' may become more important. In this study, the authors first investigated qualitatively, asking shoppers to describe centres in 'personality' terms and eliciting clear descriptive differences between centres. For example, one in-town centre was 'dull, boring and old-fashioned . . . not exciting, just OK'; a larger regional centre was 'trendy, prestigious . . . strong, vibrant, big and colourful'. Second, the authors evaluated six UK shopping centres quantitatively using a questionnaire survey (n = 287). The 'strong and vibrant' centre scored significantly higher than the 'dull and boring' one. Despite 'branding' being little used by shopping centres, those with the better 'brand images' tended to have larger catchment areas, sales and rental incomes. The authors contend that brand management could pay rewards in terms of customer numbers, sales turnover and rental income.
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