Not sure about you but for me the summer flew by. We had our holidays planned a little later in the summer this year for a family wedding in Italy. The month of August in Italy I would highly recommend. We travelled to the beautiful city of Bologna; steeped in history and red bricks; pizza and wine aplenty. Bologna for me reminded me of my own home city of Cork, also full of historic wonder but not as warm and dry. I’m only home a week and I have layers of clothes on me with the cold.
While away, it is always recommended to carry out some necessary shopping. 😊 As we walked up the main shopping street named Via dell’Indipendenza, it was the usual lot of the high street chain stores that we would have in Cork – H&M, Parfois, another H&M etc. I made the decision not to waste time going into the stores I already knew. However, as I walked passed Zara my eyes seemed to have glazed over (according to my husband) and as if by sheer destiny, my legs floated in as if on a cloud. I am still positive I heard angels singing as I entered. Zara to me, is a store I would never have normally bothered too much about. Based on my past experiences, it was a store that is laid out badly, messy floor and the clothes never looked that enticing. These experiences were based on the only Zara I have entered before – the store in Mahon Point, Cork. The store in Cork seemed like a cold dark box compared to the store in Bologna. In Bologna, the clothes were laid out neatly and inviting to view; the lighting was angled to highlight certain outfits and mirrors captured the lighting and reflected it softly throughout the store. Absolute shopping paradise. I was finally able to experience the delight of Zara I had only heard about from bloggers.
It did get me thinking about the store in Cork and how my prior experiences of visiting that store had led me to believe that the store and thus the brand just wasn’t for me. They had lost a customer. The layout of this one store had unfortunately not represented itself to me to its full capability. I was led to believe that all Zara stores were the same; messy and dark and not at all inviting – so why would I then visit their website? It is unfortunate that the only store in Cork doesn’t seem to have the space required to experience the Zara brand.
I am in the business of helping people build their online presence and reputation and in essence reputation makes an impact for people as well as a business brand. We all need to make sure that our personal brand truly reflects who we are and guide the kind of experience our audience will have when viewing it. Zara are not allowing themselves to show their reputation and quality of stock through their Cork store like they have done in Bologna. I haven’t visited any other Zara store to compare but after my experience in Bologna, I will. Like this Zara store, make sure that you (as an individual or even representing a business), are represented as positively, professionally and truly online throughout all your platforms. By taking control, you are allowing your audience to find out who you are and what you stand for.
Just as with the layout of a store, think about the layout of your online presence. Is there a place where you can direct your audience to view your full story? It could be a website or LinkedIn profile. Be encouraging and inviting. Think about ways to show your quality of your work and how this creates a standing reputation. In the end, don’t leave your work in a cold, dark box like store – light it up and show it off.