SOURCE: FRCH Design Worldwide

FRCH Design Worldwide

November 10, 2015 08:30 ET

FRCH Releases 2015 Brand Actualization™ Study Evaluating 50 Retail Brands on Brand Engagement

Demonstrates 'What Matters Most to Shoppers'

CINCINNATI, OH--(Marketwired - November 10, 2015) - FRCH Design Worldwide, a leading global brand experience firm specializing in retail, architecture, and design, today released its 2015 Brand Actualization™ study rating 50 retailers across various categories. Among these 50 retailers, five brands scored the highest: The Disney Store, Oakley, Sephora, Zara, and Anthropologie.

Brand Actualization™ offers a measurable framework that evaluates the definitive intersection between people's lives and the brands they engage with.

Brands clearly understand the value of creating long-term emotional connections, but they often struggle with 'how' to establish guiding principles to achieve such success. Brand Actualization™ serves as a toolkit to measure a brand's ability to deliver on the functional and emotional building blocks of engagement.

The study revealed that brands with the highest Brand Actualization™ scores have an über-focused vision and vocabulary to serve a clear target customer. This is most evident in the fashion and beauty segments, however, even grocers like Publix scored relatively high, scoring better than brands such as Victoria Secret.

Retailers regularly monitor shoppers' behavior through complex measurement techniques that provide an overwhelming amount of data. FRCH set out to create a new way of gathering and analyzing data, one that simplifies the results; by measuring a set of core touchpoints, which identify how brands can best engage with people to deliver the true value of their interaction. Brand Actualization™ utilizes the 'Mighty 7' to measure a brand's score: Advocacy, Relationship, Corporate Soul, Experiences, Image & Personality, Craft, and Technology.


FRCH calls these touchpoints the 'Mighty 7,' but they are not equally important, as their impact on Brand Actualization scores vary.

Below, the 'Mighty 7' touchpoints of engagement are listed in order of importance along with their definition and a best-in-class brand to provide an example from the top of the Brand Actualization list. (A full list of the 50 retailers and their Brand Actualization™ scores are listed further below):


The pinnacle of engagement where consumers actively promote and help the brand engage others

Anthropologie makes their customers feel important and valued in many ways; from their 'treasure hunt' approach to merchandising and storytelling, to the monthly birthday parties they throw in store, to their seasonally-themed craft events.


The two-way communications that occur between a retailer and its customers

With a service culture bar none, Sephora listens to their customers and allows them to engage on their own terms, whether in store, or through an online channel. The wildly successful 'Beauty Insider' loyalty program tracks more than purchases, but personal preferences and needs in order to proactively send customers relevant product trials.

Corporate Soul

The underlying mission, promises social and environmental responsibility priorities of a retailer

In his letter to employees, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke says it best: "We're a different kind of company." One guided by the belief that being outside makes lives better, that's why their decision to close on Black Friday and #OPTOUTSIDE is just another instance of the brand's powerful corporate soul.


Interactions with the store that engage the senses, imagination and create a sense of place

Steadfastly focused on staying ahead of the curve, Coach stores have undergone much change in recent years, all focused on enhancing the experience, creating deeper connections between their brand and their customers. From product, to design, architecture, and service, every aspect has been examined under the lens of innovation, resulting in a space that's more elegant, with hi-touch service and technology that enhances the environment.

Image & Personality

The visual and verbal tone of the brand

As bold and iconic as the man behind the brand, Michael Kors signature 'MK' is instantly recognizable, and unmistakable as a symbol of everyday luxury. Expressive of the American sportswear lifestyle, the brand's tone is polished and sleek with a jet-set attitude.


The assortment of products & services offered and their overall quality

With a laser-focus on product technology known as 'The Art of Innovation', Oakley consistently pushes themselves to break new boundaries, optimizing their products for the uncompromising demands of professional athletes. From high definition optics, to glare, impact, and UV protection, Oakley's patented tech earns them high praise for mastery of their craft and attention to detail.


The collection of web, mobile, in-store and social media touchpoints that make up a brand's digital footprint

When Disney embarked on a new chapter in their parks history, incorporating digital experiences throughout, they made a conscious decision to humanize the interface in the form of a bracelet lovingly called the "Magic Band." An enhancement which adds richness of storytelling, contextualizing each park-goers experience and drawing them closer to the characters.

The 50 Retail Brands

  1. The Disney Store 76.65
  2. Oakley 74.69
  3. Sephora 74.02
  4. Zara 71.16
  5. Anthropologie 70.85
  6. Fossil 70.65
  7. Michael Kors 70.65
  8. Coach 70.34
  9. Bath and Body Works 69.86
  10. REI 69.71
  11. Nordstrom 69.18
  12. Saks Fifth Avenue 68.98
  13. Urban Outfitters 68.60
  14. Pottery Barn 67.50
  15. Crate and Barrel 66.94
  16. Publix 66.33
  17. Ikea 66.23
  18. Justice 65.46
  19. Whole Foods 65.33
  20. Sunglass Hut 65.11
  21. Costco 64.82
  22. H&M 64.25
  23. Toys ''R'' Us 63.79
  24. PetSmart 63.19
  25. Victoria's Secret 62.90
  26. Ann Taylor 62.58
  27. Menards 62.45
  28. J.Crew 61.55
  29. Petco 61.44
  30. Bed Bath and Beyond 61.22
  31. Forever 21 61.11
  32. Michael's Arts and Crafts 60.64
  33. Eddie Bauer 60.32
  34. Lowe's 60.21
  35. Kroger 59.32
  36. Dick's Sporting Goods 59.16
  37. Express 59.14
  38. Macy's 58.90
  39. Gap 58.54
  40. Abercrombie & Fitch 58.39
  41. The Home Depot 58.19
  42. Target 56.76
  43. Best Buy 55.22
  44. Staples 53.90
  45. CVS 53.60
  46. JCPenney 53.55
  47. Walgreens 52.04
  48. Safeway/Albertsons 51.92
  49. Walmart 47.70
  50. Dollar General 45.64

FRCH Design Worldwide has 47 years in brand strategy, design and architecture with over 230 employees that span three offices, located in Cincinnati, New York City and Los Angeles


FRCH studied the responses of 2,500 consumers across the United States in an online survey (which rated the performance to 50 different retailers in various categories) with the end goal to develop a framework and methodology to measure how people and retailers interact.

Respondents rated the performance of 50 different retailers from a variety of categories including: apparel and accessories, home improvement, grocery, department stores, and sporting goods. Respondents were asked to rate the retailers on a total of 40 different attributes that aligned with each of the 4 utilities of Brand Actualization™.

FRCH used a combination of factor analysis and variance modeling to measure the relationships between factors and their collective ability to differentiate performance across the retailers surveyed.

The scores were calculated at an individual respondent level for each brand, meaning that FRCH can look at how a retailer's performance varies by demographic, or psychographic segments.


FRCH Design Worldwide is an international brand experience firm.

We collaborate with our clients to see things from a new and unique perspective. We innovate and inspire to create amazing environments where people shop, eat, work, relax and play.

Our team of 230 passionate experts in brand strategy, architecture, interior design and graphic design transform the ordinary into extraordinary places people love.

FRCH is privately held with offices in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles and over 47 years of experience specializing in the retail, hospitality, retail mixed-use, restaurant, corporate office and higher education. FRCH has been recognized as a Top 10 Global Retail Architecture Firm by Building Design + Construction and Retail Design Firm of the Year by design:retail, among many other accolades. Clients include Macy's Department Stores, Saks Fifth Avenue, Disney, Hilton Hotel Corporation, Luxottica, Dick's Sporting Goods, Target Corporation, Liverpool Department Stores, General Growth Properties, The Cordish Companies, DDR, Glimcher and Macerich ..... Visit to learn more.

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