Apple is building its newest Chicago retail store in the Clybourn corridor area. Directly next door to the planned retail location is an antiquated subway stop (or as Chicagoans refer to it: “the El”) long in need of a renovation. Chicago has been renovating many of its stations, most notably all stations on the Brown line and high-traffic stops (or those that gain high exposure by tourists, in my humble opinion). Yet, like many municipalities, this recession has hit the city coffers; the tax money is just not coming in the way it used to. The city must make allocation decisions. Enter Apple.
It has been widely reported that Apple is in negotiations with the city to fund the North/Clybourn station renovation. The cost is estimated at $4 million. In return, Apple may garner all advertising spots in the station and also gain naming rights (move over ballparks and sporting arenas) of the station.
My first reaction as a Chicago city dweller was “what will the mayor not sell?” (Disclaimer: recently our parking meters were leased for 75 years to a private company and our Skyway also privatized. Midway Airport privatization was in its 11th hour before the deal fell through.) But then I thought about it some more; this was different and potentially exciting. It is the station that would be refurbished. Apple would not own the El (or our public transportation).
The Apple experience would begin or end at the subway station for many shoppers. Potential shoppers exiting or boarding the El would also be exposed to Apple’s culture. Clybourn corrider is a popular shopping destination for the city dwellers (it is in a neighborhood that is a distance from the popular tourist shopping destination of Michigan Ave. and Oak Street). Thus, those exiting the El intending to visit another retail destination (think competitors) will be lured into Apple instead.
The experience itself? The station should match Apple’s personality and be complementary to the store’s design…sleek, simple, user-friendly aesthetics…as it becomes a seamless integration into the street-level store entrance. My mobile should notify me that I am entering an Apple area; it can provide me information on new applications and music for my iPhone (relevancy) and today’s classes. Barcodes on advertisements (specifically highlighting products) should be mobile scannable; in that manner I can either garner more information or special deals relating to products I am interested in. Sign up for the Apple Genius Bar in the station would also be a welcome addition. If I must wait 2 to 3 hours for help; then I can go right to a restaurant or book store, etc. to await the time; instead of trekking to the 2nd floor only to be told of the wait. The Apple station would be thinking of me; in turn, I love them even more.
The Apple experience in its simplest form…a sleek, clean, simple and user-friendly subway station alone would be Wow! factor. I would love to see a real-time map of the train routes tracking the current operating trains, as well as the buses for those transferring (eliminates the need to wait in the rain, snow or bitter cold for the bus). Apple can serve information about connections and stops in the city…in that manner they become an information conduit that is helping me in my daily life even more than they are today. If I have a safe, pleasant place to wait and depart for a train, then I in return am patronizing Apple. It would be my thank you for making my daily commute or errand shopping Saturday brighter.
And what about the subway riders? In the North/Clybourn station’s district, free wifi can be had (underground wifi is currently unattainable). Ads would communicate new product arrivals and new technology on the horizon. On a Monday morning or end of a long work day, who would not garner a smile while seeing the iPod dancers on the platform or an Apple spotlight on some of the better street musicians that Chicago has to offer.
Every holiday season, the El features one Santa train. It is a luxury and pleasant surprise for riders to find this as their train as it is clean, smells like fresh pine, one is met by cheerful Santa’s helpers handing out candy canes, and pleasant music is piped through. People are so friendly on those trains. Your guard goes down, your troubles are forgotten as you are ushered home on this ride. Apple…how about sponsoring an iTrain?
Walk in your consumer’s shoes…
RT @anants: “You can’t change the world, if you cannot change your perception of it.”: Powerful quote. http://tinyurl.com/ygw7sdn
Disruption campaign agst iPhone. It got my attention when it ran. RT @brandingexpert: .@bethlapierre: “Thoughts on Droid branding?”
7000 Americans run out of unemployed benefits everyday. They are still unemployed.
Join Social Media Club of Chicago tomorrow at 1st Anniv Party @KimballOffice on 10/22 http://budurl.com/smcchicago1 See you there!
Think about it: How legendary a hero is perceived is defined by how evil the villian is perceived to be. (not in the hero her/himself).
The FourSquare article I alluded to this am. FourSquare ripe for businesses to leverage. http://tinyurl.com/yfc8kxx
RT @bhk: RT @civis: “Retail Experiment” Turns Shopping Into Scavenger Hunt | Design & Innovation | … http://bit.ly/3TYKU3 #twine
Jiffy Lube promo campaign performs better on mobile than web: http://tinyurl.com/yztsyrw
Tradition not trends/fads expected to lead Christmas spend. Childhood, family, nesting, nostalgia http://tinyurl.com/yj6u7ub
The picture featured in my last post is of the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Union Terrace. You can purchase it on WisconsinArtists.com. Photo by Windsong Photography. I highly recommend it.
I often put quotes I hear out in the open onto my Twitter/Tumblr stream. They are taken right from everyday people as they talk to others in their everyday life. Where do I hear these? On the subway, on the streets, in a restaurant, waiting for the subway, shopping, on the sidewalks, in a cafe, at a street festival, on a plane…you name it. These quotes serve many reasons. They may be thought-provoking. They may display how the collective consciousness is shaping up. They may voice concerns. They may tell the consumer mood. They may show how brands are evolving in one’s life. They may entertain. Put all the quotes together…and there lies the story, the truth…what consumers are thinking.
If one just listens, you can discover treasurable insights in those mundane moments.
“What would Tinkerbell do?” meets Disney new store experience concept: http://tinyurl.com/ykmx22p
To see Twitter as art, go to www.twistori.com. Mesmorizing and speaks to collective consciousness. Highly recommend. #TCchi
RT @bhk: RT @RetailEconomy: More on Best Buy’s upcoming Twittery Christmas. http://ow.ly/sl7r
Re Gwen, homeless doll @ American Girl: would be smart for co to donate % of doll revenue to shelter/food bank, etc. Ties into empathy theme
Possibilities overcome fears. It brings a sense of happiness.
Heard on the street: “I only go to cafes with wifi. That’s a dealbreaker.” Hmm…not coffee, location, service, but connection that matters.