In the saturated world of retail marketing, how can you ensure that you will be seen and heard?

There has been a noticeable shift in Retail space over the past five years: a face-lift, if you will, on mass retailers such as Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), Holt Renfrew, and several other major brands. Along with the refresh in storefront appeal, a lot of these brands have also created Smartphone applications and social media fan pages to reinforce their image and sales strategies.

For these retailers, what does it mean to have new competition enter the arena? With emerging brand re-designs, it just takes that much more to stand out. This is where a succinct and detailed brand strategy and an effective social media plan can ensure a more fruitful ROI. Design an effective retail marketing strategy today:

Bonnie Brooks, President and CEO of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), has completely turned the department store into one that deserves an honorable mention. Adopting big name designers, gaining exclusivity to having Top Shop in a couple of HBC locations has already put them ahead of the game. In 5 short years, Brooks has managed to re-position the department store and make it a must-go destination when shopping.

Retail Marketing and more specifically, promotion doesn’t stop at POP banners and weekly flyers, however.

The Hudson’s Bay has a 6.5k following on Instagram. Holt Renfrew has 38k followers on Instagram.Retailers know that to expand their reach, they must turn to the Internet and create an online community to reinforce the offline one.

For a retail company, it’s arguably easier to gain a following on social media sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook – and a little more difficult for those who are marketing services (in some cases) to gain traction amongst followers. But in tandem with my previous post (communication in the social age), knowing your audience and understanding their interests and behaviour will give you a vantage point in marketing to them.

Even in social media, there must be consistency and a call-out to one’s brand image. It isn’t ever just posting for the sake of posting. Remember: everything that is viewed in the social media will lead to conclusions being drawn and will either reflect positively or negatively on your brand. Make sure you understand this before posting.

So how do smaller, specialty stores make an impact on the social community? Arguably, social media has afforded smaller brands to make a big impact simply by designing an effective communications strategy that reinforces their brand. I’m convinced that successful social media plans have less to do with the product/service they’re selling and more to do with the impression they leave with the community.

Consider for a moment Canadian fashionista Jaclyn Genovese (Owner, JacFlash, 1036 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1H7, With a knack for all things fashion and trendy, she has managed to run a flagship store in Toronto as well as a successful e-commerce site. To reinforce her business, she has a substantial 7.2K following on Instagram (@jaclyngenovese) where she doesn’t only promote product but she also promotes herself as the face of JacFlash – and rightfully so, she’s gorgeous.

Running campaigns with hashtags: #fallcontest #HBCrewards, for example are effective ways to trend on sites like Twitter and Instagram. This has proven effective for more than just marketing campaigns; hashtags have been used to organize guest photos at events like weddings.

Although a lot of brands have caught on to this trend and manage excellent social media plans, there are still a lot of companies that need to get on board.

What are some of your favourite brands to follow?