From Shopping Centers to Social Hubs

You remember a third of what you hear, half of what you read and 100% of what you feel.

Three years had passed since the last Congress, and the excitement of the reunion was palpable in the atmosphere. An overflowing energy of illusion in the XVIII edition of the Spanish Congress of Shopping Centers and Shopping Parks.

This meeting, finally in person, with more than 1,200 professionals representing the main companies in the real estate and retail sectors, as well as all the activities related to shopping centers and retail parks; many of them clients, colleagues, partners, friends. And with the honorary presidency of HM King Felipe VI.

The TOTEM Branding team, probably the most important company in Branding for shopping centers, has participated in this prestigious event and we have had the great honor of having Andy Stalman giving the inaugural conference of this congress.

Retail is one of the most attractive and dynamic activities in the world.

The Internet did not cause shopping malls to close. What it did was to point out that many centers had forgotten the importance of connecting emotionally with their customers and therefore their value proposition was simply to sell, nothing more. What happened, then, was that consumers became bored with unattractive malls.

Many believed that the internet would make the physical space disappear, but they were wrong. What has happened since the advent of the internet is that physical space has regained its magic. Good, successful shopping malls are an unmistakable part of people’s lives in this digital age.

Surprising the customer, making the visitor fall in love, seducing people, serving them in an extraordinary way has become important again. Positive emotion grows when it is shared.

The customer of the 21st century does not want to buy products but to live experiences. They want to be part of stories.

Our whole world is perceived through the senses, through emotions. Shared emotion is a memory that remains. Shopping malls have a lot of information, but in many cases little knowledge of their audiences. People are not data, they are emotion. And of all emotions, the deepest, most lasting, inspiring, and the one that gives meaning to much of what we do is love.

Today, brands are alive, they are part of our daily lives. Brands need us almost as much as we need them. Therefore, the most successful products and services will be those that have meaning and experiential richness for the consumer’s lifestyle.

What is happening is that innovative malls are becoming more popular, and non-innovative ones are becoming less and less attractive. The divide between bad malls and great malls is widening. Innovative malls are learning a few things from e-commerce companies and adopting new strategies based on data, personalization, apps, services and memorable positive experiences. Approximately 90% of retail sales still occur in the physical space.

Digital technologies are transforming businesses and physical spaces and, contrary to what many believed, the physical space will not only not disappear, but its role will be increasingly prominent.

The malls of the future will be more like social hubs, living spaces, environments where people gather to interact with family and friends, seek unique experiences, reaffirm shared values and interact interactively and immersively with brands.

Transactions will be a by-product of socialization and engagement. Love inspires, generates lasting bonds, establishes relationships based on generosity and trust.

At TOTEM Branding it is clear to us that the common focus of tomorrow’s malls will be to contribute to improving people’s lives, inspiring, connecting with their communities, inspiring their employees, shareholders, business partners, suppliers and customers, co-designing platforms that facilitate not only sales but also improve people’s quality of life. Recognizing, understanding, pampering and connecting people authentically.

Our purpose is to create or transform brands that bring people together. And it’s hard to find a more human and uniting aspect than love.