Brand & Marketing Strategy
ICP is a program partnership between the International Institute for Higher Education Morocco (IIHEM) and the VCU Business School where graduate level students can travel to a new country to experience different cultures while working with companies abroad.
Our team of VCU and IIHEM students conducted a business and market analysis with consideration to the unique local culture, and provided suggestions which were implemented immediately. We also presented our marketing and communication plan after the 2 week project to a panel of board members from the IIHEM and VCU professors.
Project: Small business owner, Rim, was about to open her second store location in Rabat, Morocco when she came the International Consulting Program for a business audit.
Ask: Rim was looking to differentiate herself from other stores in the surrounding area as well as develop a marketing plan to communicate offerings at her new store. She asked us to develop a plan to attract new customers while continuing to communicate to loyal customers via familiar channels.
Identifying the problem
During our first interview with Rim, we learned that the products she brought for sale were EU certified and unique from goods found at other mass retailers in the area. From gifts and home gadgets, to quality European home goods exclusively available at her store, there was a lot offered in a moderately sized retail space.
Our team observed that her first store was in a location with low foot traffic, and when people walked in, they were often confused by the product offerings. From the outside window, Rim places trendy, lower-priced gift items which she found attracts walk-in customers. We also knew from interviewing employees that many people who came into the store for the exclusive offerings did so because they saw the products posted on her Facebook page.
The second store location is located at a new walking mall on the edge of the river, facing the beautiful skyline of Rabat. This area was becoming increasingly popular for young families and teenagers to walk in the evenings. Our branding also needed to communicate that this store was different than the others on the marina path, which were high-class and high-priced galleries, clothing stores and cafes.
We saw an immediate opportunity to use the wall and window space to tell customers what was in the store and the quality to expect from the product lines.
Our team saw an opportunity to place a brand positioning statement visible upon entering each store above the cashier counter in all three languages spoken in the area. We also saw surrounding stores not only had their store name and logo on the outside window of their store, but also stated what was expected inside. For Le Comptor de la Maison, we identified the phrase "of trend and quality" and tags of decor, gadgets, and gifts placed under the logo at the store's front door.
Our audit of current business practices revealed there was no standard visual branding for the store. We also found that most customers discover new products available in store through social media, however, with the owner managing these accounts and now two stores herself, we needed to create a communication strategy for her to not only talk about the new store but differentiate product offerings between the two locations.
I created differing color pallets for her logo and marketing materials. Each color pallet was chosen to speak to the location. The original, Rabat City location already had a red facade and used a two-color logo with a navy blue accent. With two primary colors identified, the yellow was chosen as an accent, if the store owner wanted to change the circle color seasonally.
I choose a coordinating color pallet from the dark blue accent of the logo. The brighter blue spoke to the fact that this store was adjacent to the river and that this store would have a more light-hearted nature with their product offerings.
Within our communication plan, we advised that Rim post the corresponding store logo as the first image when posting new product offerings per store paired with a location map to how people can get to each store. Though google maps are available in Morocco, Facebook is more widely used to find information about local business and events around the city - much like asking your neighbors in traditional community settings and culture of the country. Providing as much information in one post was imperative to streamline information given to clients. We suggested that Rim included a map to the corresponding store when she would post photos new products.
Our team also noticed that there was more foot traffic at the beginning of the mall, where more established cafes and restaurants sat, and her store was after a break in the buildings where patrons assumed the development ended. We wanted to provide concepts for additional marketing tactics which would call attention to the new store down the path.