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“It’s not where you start that matters, it’s where you finish that makes all the difference.” – Tony D’Onofrio
Maybe I have been luckier than most. Every day I am inspired by the potential possibilities to change the world. Every night, reminders swirl through my mind on how much I love my life.
In a recent internal company video I was asked how I keep my passions alive, what gets me up every day and keeps me going.
In a digital highly connected world, branding and differentiated customer experiences will define leadership. What is the correlation between brand value and being most admired? Which companies have already achieved the threshold in being on both lists? What differentiates these companies? Which industry trends are driving increased brand value and being most admired? Are western brands the future of these two lists?
As reflected on my personal website, my endless curiosity journey has focused on three topics: retail, technology, and leadership. The subplot spotlight to all three categories has been a passion for branding.
Every year, I look forward to the latest BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands Report. In a turbulent 2017 year, "brands have continued to deliver. The Top 100 brands increased in value by 8 percent year-on-year to now be worth $3.64 trillion."
A few weeks ago had the pleasure of sharing a great evening with 100+ retail attendees at the world famous Walnut Room in Chicago. Opening in 1907 and currently located in a Macy's, the Walnut Room was the first ever restaurant in a department store. The elegant interior is surrounded with Circassian wood paneling imported from Russia and features Austrian chandeliers.
The celebration was part of our two day ShopperTrak Retail User Summit. My role for this particular evening was to deliver the official welcoming toast to our special guests. Taking my endless curiosity to the next level, decided that this particular moment required a special "Chicago Way" salutation. Verbatim following are the words shared with the audience.
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the World Department Stores Forum 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Forty five retail CEOs joined 300 attendees in an industry event titled "Digital and Brick-n-Mortar: One Magic Experience".
The host for the 5th Annual Edition was the Canadian luxury department store chain Holt Renfrew. The Forum is co-organized by the Intercontinental Group of Department Stores (IGDS), the largest association for department stores worldwide. IGDS has 41 members from 38 countries on all continents generating $89 billion in total sales in 2016.
The stage for the 24 hour retail discussion was set by Craig Wright, SVP & Chief Economic of the Royal Bank of Canada when he said that the "Last time interest rates stayed low for so long was in 3000 BC." We are living in extra-ordinary age of disruption.
This post summarizes my favorite insights from this year's IGDS event.
"What a tough industry (retail), the consumer has changed more in terms of their demand preferences in the past three years than they have in the past thirty years." - Home Depot CFO Carol Tome
For the past two weeks, my youngest son was in France attending the latest edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
As part of an extended university project, he participated in a week long "producer's workshop." By the end of the week, he was instructed to throw away all his notes for the era of major studios driving the movie industry is over.
This past week had to pleasure of speaking at the Retail Risk Conference in Singapore. The audience mostly consisted of loss prevention professionals responsible for major retail brands across Asia. The customized presentation was an opportunity to reassess the state of Asia in the global retail economy.
A Brookings Institute study noted:
-- 3.2 billion people were in the middle class at the end of 2016
-- 140 million people are joining the middle class annually and this number could rise to 170 million in five years’ time