Yep. This is Wal-Mart.

In Springfield, Illinois, not far from where Barack Obama introduced Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate, stands an attractive, custard-colored building adorned with red brick walkways, fountains, and two colonnades with quotations from Abraham Lincoln tastefully carved into them.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library? Nope. I’m talking about a new Wal-Mart that opened in July.

The latest addition to the Wal-Mart chain takes a bold (some might say blasphemous) approach of modeling itself after the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in downtown Springfield (pictured below):

I did a double take the first time I saw the Abraham Lincoln Wal-Mart rising from the flat prairie. What is this? Here stood a large, boxy, building, yes — but one with some energy and movement in the design of its front facade, with water fountains and a pond gracing the more functional-looking backside of the store.

By making its singnage understated, Wal-Mart risks causing just a tad bit of momentary confusion (“Is this a Wal-Mart, really?”), but the building attracts your attention straight off, which is important to getting the consumer engaged, obviously.

Yes, the building cannot escape the necessity of a large, bland parking lot in front. But closer to the building, at least you can enjoy wide brick walkways clearly designed to give pedestrians breathing space. Prominent colonnades feature quotes from our 16th president, such as. “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I’m not sure Honest Abe had Wal-Mart shoppers in mind when he uttered those words, but so be it. (Perhaps a more appropriate Lincoln quote for Wal-Mart would have been, “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business.”)

The new Springfield Wal-Mart is just another sign of how marketers and retailers are responding to a cluttered world of their own making by appealing to consumers through an experience that connects with you emotionally. There are only so many ways you can make merchandise attractive. Experience-based marketing makes the shopping environment itself, whether a digital or physical store, a fun and engaging destination, which is why it appeals so much to retailers (see Nike Town and American Girl Store). And now, even Wal-Mart.

Yep. This is Wal-Mart.

In Springfield, Illinois, not far from where Barack Obama introduced Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate, stands an attractive, custard-colored building adorned with red brick walkways, fountains, and two colonnades with quotations from Abraham Lincoln tastefully carved into them.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library? Nope. I’m talking about a new Wal-Mart that opened in July.

The latest addition to the Wal-Mart chain takes a bold (some might say blasphemous) approach of modeling itself after the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in downtown Springfield (pictured below):

I did a double take the first time I saw the Abraham Lincoln Wal-Mart rising from the flat prairie. What is this? Here stood a large, boxy, building, yes — but one with some energy and movement in the design of its front facade, with water fountains and a pond gracing the more functional-looking backside of the store.

By making its singnage understated, Wal-Mart risks causing just a tad bit of momentary confusion (“Is this a Wal-Mart, really?”), but the building attracts your attention straight off, which is important to getting the consumer engaged, obviously.

Yes, the building cannot escape the necessity of a large, bland parking lot in front. But closer to the building, at least you can enjoy wide brick walkways clearly designed to give pedestrians breathing space. Prominent colonnades feature quotes from our 16th president, such as. “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I’m not sure Honest Abe had Wal-Mart shoppers in mind when he uttered those words, but so be it. (Perhaps a more appropriate Lincoln quote for Wal-Mart would have been, “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business.”)

The new Springfield Wal-Mart is just another sign of how marketers and retailers are responding to a cluttered world of their own making by appealing to consumers through an experience that connects with you emotionally. There are only so many ways you can make merchandise attractive. Experience-based marketing makes the shopping environment itself, whether a digital or physical store, a fun and engaging destination, which is why it appeals so much to retailers (see Nike Town and American Girl Store). And now, even Wal-Mart.

Don’t miss Pangea Day May 10

Indiana Jones isn’t the only movie blockbuster this summer. On May 10, get ready for Pangea Day: a first-of-its kind global film festival broadcast live in more than 100 countries to promote tolerance and understanding of other cultures. You might have heard about Pangea Day in the blogosphere. Here’s a quick overview of what it is, how you can participate, and why it matters.

What is Pangea Day?

The purpose of Pangea Day is to use the power of film to foster tolerance and understanding of other cultures. From 2:00-6:00 p.m. Eastern Time May 10, Pangea Day will broadcast 24 short films, music, and presentations to a global audience through public screenings, television, the internet, and mobile devices. The films were chosen from an international competition based on their ability to inspire us to see the world through other people’s eyes. You can view details on the Pangea Day films here. On the Pangea Day website, you’ll learn about efforts from personalities like Sumit Roy, an independent filmmaker from India who contributed Dancing Queen, a brief movie about the joys of dance (shot on a mobile phone).

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Don’t miss Pangea Day May 10

Indiana Jones isn’t the only movie blockbuster this summer. On May 10, get ready for Pangea Day: a first-of-its kind global film festival broadcast live in more than 100 countries to promote tolerance and understanding of other cultures. You might have heard about Pangea Day in the blogosphere. Here’s a quick overview of what it is, how you can participate, and why it matters.

What is Pangea Day?

The purpose of Pangea Day is to use the power of film to foster tolerance and understanding of other cultures. From 2:00-6:00 p.m. Eastern Time May 10, Pangea Day will broadcast 24 short films, music, and presentations to a global audience through public screenings, television, the internet, and mobile devices. The films were chosen from an international competition based on their ability to inspire us to see the world through other people’s eyes. You can view details on the Pangea Day films here. On the Pangea Day website, you’ll learn about efforts from personalities like Sumit Roy, an independent filmmaker from India who contributed Dancing Queen, a brief movie about the joys of dance (shot on a mobile phone).

Continue reading

Harnessing social technologies to energize sales

willitblend.jpg

This blog post comes to you live from the 2008 Forrester Marketing Forum, held April 8-9, 2008, in Los Angeles. The purpose of the event is to take a snapshot of the state of the art in successful marketing.

In an afternoon session April 8, Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, authors of The Groundswell, discuss harnessing social technologies to generate sales. The headline here: to use social media technologies effectively, figure out your strategy and approach first for how social technologies will strengthen consumer relationships. Don’t put the cart (technology) before the horse.

Continue reading

Harnessing social technologies to energize sales

willitblend.jpg

This blog post comes to you live from the 2008 Forrester Marketing Forum, held April 8-9, 2008, in Los Angeles. The purpose of the event is to take a snapshot of the state of the art in successful marketing.

In an afternoon session April 8, Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, authors of The Groundswell, discuss harnessing social technologies to generate sales. The headline here: to use social media technologies effectively, figure out your strategy and approach first for how social technologies will strengthen consumer relationships. Don’t put the cart (technology) before the horse.

Continue reading