Gerhard Jenne dwells on the importance of proper marketing and learns a lesson on in-store lighting. 

After last week’s blog, I hope you all watched Comic Relief’s Celebrity Bake-Off. It certainly had me in tears of laughter, from Lulu’s cake falling through the tin to Joanna Lumley’s mix-up of coffee and chocolate — and let’s not go anywhere near Dame Edna. I’d say anyone who uses shears to prise their cake out of a tin needs to be approached with caution.

The fun continued with our fantastic Valentine’s campaign. This year we did really well with our ‘Animal Attraction’ theme, and we also gave our teams the option to dress up for Valentine’s Day and wear something red. Each shop was also given a small budget to decorate their store with balloons or garlands and, while we had never done this before, I think it will become a regular fixture since footfall increased and our Valentine’s products accounted for 25% of all our sales.

Seasonal campaigns give us a great opportunity to talk about our products and services – and features in the Evening Standard, Metro, The Guardian and Elle Decoration are proof we got our marketing right.

Successful marketing

Anyone who has been following Alex Polizzi on BBC Two’s The Fixer, will know how important marketing is. It’s all well and good to offer great products, but you’ve got to get out there and tell the world about it – whether it is fantastic bread, indulgent cakes or pet accessories (check out the last episode on the BBC’s iPlayer). And it’s no good being lacklustre about marketing either: I nearly kicked the telly when this week’s subjects appeared rather sluggish after they had been given a really good makeover.

Getting the customer through the door is only one part of the story. We should also think about the customer’s journey: signage, displays, offers, use of shelf space, lighting… At Konditor & Cook we ponder over these quite a lot, but perhaps not scientifically enough yet. This week’s Fixer was an inspiration in the way she transformed a cluttered retail space into a warm and welcoming environment. Plenty of lessons to be learned there, I thought.

Attention to detail

This wasn’t the only light bulb moment I had last week. I actually had the real thing when, in one shop, we changed our spotlights from energy-wasting heat-producing halogen bulbs to LEDs. Despite the fact I had insisted on “warm” light, with the flick of a switch we wiped out all that’s good about our super-chocolatey brownies and freshly-baked muesli muffins, which all appeared to have acquired an unappetising green tinge.

These days you have to know your kelvins from your watts and I learned that the difference between 2,800k and 2,700k is the difference between fusty-looking wares and tempting deliciousness.

Since lighting is such a big part of retail design, I think I have also learned that employing the services of a lighting consultant or designer is the way forward. One architect customer told me that LED often works better with darker wall finishes juxtaposed with a lighter counter, as this provides more contrast for the eye.

Just as well, then, that our next shop, due to open before Easter, will not only have our plummy purple colour on the walls but on the ceiling too. It appears that, in order to stay competitive, these things make the difference.