A make-over for outlet shopping
A make-over for outlet shopping
Shopping habits are changing. People are increasingly looking for more sustainable, higher quality and more affordable alternatives to fast-fashion retail. Enter VIA Outlets, Europe’s fastest growing outlet shopping brand – and the owner-operator of eleven outlet centres across Europe, from Lisbon to Oslo. VIA Outlets had a bold ambition. VIA Outlets wanted to capitalise on the opportunity outlet shopping brings and redefine the experience to create retail destinations that excite today’s shoppers.
But before it could do that it needed a brand that reflected its strengths and industry-changing attitude. Our brief was to give it a makeover.
A true sense of style isn’t developed overnight. Our team spoke to key decision makers and knowledge holders from VIA Outlets, as well as industry experts, brand partners and customers. It was essential to understand its challenges and opportunities as an owner-operator brand that balances a business-to-business identity along with consumer-facing centre identities and distinctive fashion campaigns.
We distilled our findings into a unifying and focused brand promise – ‘Going Places’. This new promise highlights VIA Outlets’ ambitious challenger mentality but also its emphasis on experience-led shopping destinations, with bars, cafés and restaurants at its centres. We accessorised the new brand promise with a fresh identity, typography, tone of voice and campaign framework.
As an owner-operator, VIA Outlets wanted a certain level of consistency across its centres. But each centre has its own distinctive character, reflecting the local area, a local brand mix and catering to a different audience. And we identified that it was this ‘local’ element that makes VIA Outlets different from competitor outlet operators who roll out a generic experience across all their centres.
So, we created an identity system that enabled VIA Outlets to have the consistency which ensures that centres feel like part of a family, but also the flexibility to give each location the autonomy to create distinctive ‘beautifully local’ experiences and destinations.
Could we explain that we built a narrative around it for people internally so they could understand what we’re doing, why it matters etc? Or used stories to bring it to life for guests and build meaning into it.
Sustainability is central to VIA Outlets’ vision for the future, driving sustainability through its brand partners as well as encouraging sustainable fashion and building practices across the group and centre locations. We wanted to make it easy for VIA Outlets to bring together and showcase its sustainability activity across the audience and employee experience – both at group level and at centres, in a way that makes it meaningful and easy to understand. As an important aspect of the organisational strategy, we wanted to make sure all sustainable activity clearly links to the VIA Outlets brand. So, we created the ‘Beyond Sustainable’ identity, using the same approach to fonts, imagery, layouts and tone of voice as the core brand but with a bespoke initiative badge, distinctive iconography and some set colours to help audiences see the importance of sustainable activity throughout their experience. We also created the ‘Beyond Sustainable’ narrative to transform VIA Outlets’ existing initiatives into a clear sustainability vision that could be recognised by both shoppers and employees.