Monday, July 08, 2002

eKetchum Summer Reading List - Book 1

Bought an interesting book last week. A book about branding. A book about shopping. A book about what compels us to do what we a mall.

It's the Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping. It's about 800 pages, costs fifty bucks, weighs several pounds, and puts a lot of emphasis on book design and less emphasis on readability. It's a design-eee book with lots of color and "eye candy," but what you'll find inside is a pretty interesting history of the shopping mall, which, according to the Supreme Court is as much "Main Street USA" as we have here in the 21st century. (The Supreme Court determination is a pretty interesting story of its own - which stated that there are some freedom of speech rights for those who distribute pamphlets/literature inside of malls - even private ones.)

Learn how it was air conditioning that really created the shopping mall, why today's mall interiors are curved rather than straight (so that when you're walking from one store to another, your eyes are more likely on the merchandise in the next store than on the path in front of you), why stores strategically place merchandise where they do (purchase zone philosophy), and more. You'll even learn that our friends at Mrs. Fields Cookies have a precise schedule for when to bake their morsels - to ensure that the smell of the baking cookies hits us when we're at our most vulnerable.

As marketing professionals, we all need to understand what compels consumers to make that call to action - what makes us get up from the sofa and make a purchase. While some may argue that it's advertising (not public relations) that really instigates the call to action. I would disagree. I feel that it's our goal as PR professionals is to effect our audiences' attitudes and behaviors to make that call to action hit home.

Take a look at the book on Amazon.