Spring has sprung…

Well, I’m convinced it will soon!, it does every year.

I’m personally hoping my wicker bird nester I attached to a tree in Autumn ‘20 has had viewings, and in Spring (I believe that’s the pattern) someone will take up residence. It’ll be good to have feathered tenants at the bottom of the garden.

Spring I believe will not just bring blue tits to add colour and joy, we will, maybe not with a hop skip and jump, but gingerly move towards what we have all been missing…

Most of retail and hospitality has taken a battering. And generally digital brands have come out on top (although some chiefly physical brands have weathered the storm very well). And recent examples of digital brands buying up traditional physical brands short on multi-channel, or just lacklustre and unstable, I view as positive jostling for ‘space’, in whatever resulting manifestation of space then crystallises. And an opportunity to plug physical city centre holes with new demand, synchronised purpose, experiences, rituals and services.

Physical brands do need to strengthen their multi-channel and content (and up their physical game), and equally digital brands need to think physical. City centres will remain ‘centres’ and ‘physical’ will remain a compelling proposition for us ‘complicated’ humans- needs, emotions, and audiences are very powerful drivers.

New city centre landscapes will develop, made up of:
• existing brands spring-cleaned
• brands with completely re-invented purpose, charters, offerings, and service
• digital migration into physical reach
• key concession brands coming out of department stores seeking their own front doors
• and, new exciting and agile brands (that have jumped at the opportunity to secure city centre presence alongside the stalwarts)

I also believe we will see a secondary city ‘ring of convenience’. With brands coming to their audiences, with satellite services and consumer engagement. Smaller formats, with specific purpose, and community-led, that ladder back into their larger physical or digital mother-ships.

The geography will be very different, engaging on multiple levels and channels, connected, convenient, and exciting. I look forward to continuing in a role that’s helping to shape this.

Meanwhile, as well as seeking garden tenants, I will be watching England v Scotland (Six Nations) on Saturday!: at home; on television; while hooked up to friends on Zoom. Should be fun, but woefully short of the physical and emotional jubilation of being there, in person, surrounded by other complicated cheering humans- and the treasured memories that sometimes follow. A repeat of the 2018 Calcutta Cup I was privileged enough to experience?, unlikely, but we dream…#AsOne.