A Few of our Favorite Things

The Best of 2017

A Few of our Favorite Things

By Tara Yavorsky

This special holiday issue of WayfinD wouldn't be complete without a list of some sort that encompasses all of the stuff we loved about 2017 – because let's face it, we're optimists; glass half full kind of people. So let's look back on 2017 with a smile, awe and a little bit of crazy for good measure. Enjoy.

  1. Walmart Buys Bonobos
    This made our list not just because we love ourselves a Riviera short sleeve shirt, but because we really love ourselves a showroom store. And we know from our latest research study that customers do too. And we couldn’t be more excited about what this implies for the future of Walmart – they’ve effectively bought a mindset, a means to jumpstart their focus on a digital-first model which will undoubtedly spur more innovation for the brand. We’ll be sitting in the front row with popcorn in 2018 to see what the retailer does next.
  2. Drones Make Beautiful Art
    While the idea of drones flying around our peaceful skies dropping packages at doorsteps, offices and neighborhood parks might be a dizzying thought to some, we can’t help but get inspired by these dizzying photographs shot by drones. What an amazing and unexpected way of looking at the ordinary landscapes around us to provide a new perspective and point of view.
  3. Yeti’s First Retail Store
    Our team was thrilled to visit Yeti’s first retail store in Austin, Texas this last spring as a part of our annual trek to SXSW. What we found would barely be considered a retail store by many standards, but more of an experience that brings a brand and their reason for being to life. The concept does this through museum-like exhibits, intense and impressive product knowledge displays and videos, a community gathering space and oh yeah, they sell a few products too. We raise a very cold drink in our Yeti tumbler to this best in class physical expression of a brand and their core beliefs.
  4. The Bro Romper
    It’s hard to pinpoint what we like best, the array of pastel colors, the fact that this was born on kickstarter or the hem length that makes you feel slightly uncomfortable if you stare at it for too long. Truth be told they had us at the name—Romphim. We joyfully passed this around the office earlier this year and might have even photoshopped a few of our fellow associates onto the frat boy like models. It’s really just too good to not share.
  5. Target’s Updated Store Design
    Any brand that listens to the wants, needs and desires of their customers and then actually delivers on them in a meaningful way gets an “A” in our hallways, make that a retailer that finds a way to bring shoppers back to their stores—bonus points. We’re talking about the announcement Target made at ShopTalk to redesign their stores to meet the needs of both the “dashers” and the “wanderers” – finding a way to serve both the “I just need a gallon of milk” shoppers and the “I want to spend hours going down every aisle of the store” shoppers. Having been both of those shoppers at some point in our lives, we are thrilled to see this customer centric approach to retail unfold.
  6. Totes Sick of Millennial Ads?
    This spoof from Dissolve on what is wrong with every ad targeted towards millennials #nailedit. Not only is it spot on but it’s somewhat frightening that you can watch this and rattle off a number of brands making these exact mistakes over and over again. We can only hope that this video is a wake up call to brands about how not to market towards this often misunderstood and oh so complicated segment.
  7. The Biggest Duh of the Year
    We can hear the conversation in the boardroom now…”so in reviewing expenses for 2017 we noticed a line item for Amazon Web Services… why exactly are we storing our proprietary data with a competitor? How about we do something about that, yes?” Major retailers like Kroger, Walmart and Target turned to other providers for their cloud services needs – preferably ones without the “A-word” in them. Kudos to you for trying to stop Amazon from taking over the world.
  8. The New Adidas Store in Chicago
    The biggest Adidas store on the planet opened earlier this fall, but the size of it isn’t even the most impressive part. This Wicker Park flagship store brings to life the local community and Adidas brand in a unique storytelling environment. A few of our associates were able to tour the space and fell in love with the subdued use of technology, the unique product assortment (with a highlight on brand collaborations) and the inspiring messages throughout the space that articulated the brand purpose. We found this space to be a beautiful mix of brand-right technology, local influences and customer-centric retail.
  9. Stranger Things Season 2
    Much like the rest of the living-breathing world, we anxiously awaited the release of Stranger Things on Netflix this year and couldn’t wait to binge season 2. We’re happy to report the show did not disappoint and our 80’s loving hearts were full this Halloween season. Cheers to Netflix and their commitment to original content, feathered hair and Eggo waffles.
  10. Insert Any Amazon Headline Here
    What 2017 year in review list would be complete without one of the myriad of announcements, firsts and betas from Amazon. Even my 7-year old was talking about the Whole Foods acquisition. From Campus Pick-Up, to Amazon Fresh, to drones, to Prime Day, the retail/e-commerce giant was the talk of the town this year with no signs of slowing down. You can tell from our WayfinD articles that we love to write about this brand and how they’ve shaken up the retail world as we know it. We’re looking forward to another year of firsts and innovation from the brand that makes us smile.
  11. Just Call Me Brother Love
    Now in super serious and hard-hitting industry news – let’s talk about the latest proclamation from Mr. Sean Diddy Combs. He is no longer Puffy, Diddy, Puff Daddy, P-Diddy or any other combination of P & D. He will only be answering to Brother Love. Cool. I mean we love Love. And who doesn’t want a sibling, someone to bond with and share family meals together. So yeah, Brother Love makes total sense. From here on out you can refer to me as Lady Glitter Sparkles.
  12. Amazon’s Drone Tower Patent
    It’s happening…all that Terminator stuff that seemed laughable 30 years ago is going to be real-life. In July, Amazon filed for a patent for a “multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned aerial vehicles”. This comes on top of Amazon testing drone delivery already coupled with patents and drawings for other varying formats including flying warehouses and mobile truck-based warehouses. The company continues to push the technology and regulatory envelope as it seeks to find better and faster ways to get products into the hands of consumers.
  13. Urban Outfitters Space 24
    If you’ve ever seen us speak at a conference or read one of our white papers you’ll know that we have real feelings for the Urban Outfitters Space concepts – specifically the one in Austin, TX. While not specific to 2017, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be on our list because we’ve yet to see another brand create a branded, experiential retail space as good as this one. This space has it all – local merchants and pop-ups, live music, food trucks, a community gathering space, a coffee shop, yoga workshops and did we mention the food trucks? This space is a perfect articulation of the UO brand coupled with the city it lives and the people that love them both.
  14. Ten Tricks to Appear Smarter in Meetings
    We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in a meeting and realize you’re now staring out the window dreaming about the Starbucks unicorn frappucino and you haven’t been listening for at least the last 12 minutes. Never fear, there are 10 simple and easy steps to achieve solutions to get you back in the meeting game. We particularly love some of these super simple tactics like pacing, nodding while writing your grocery list taking notes and encouraging everyone to “take a step back”. We’ve already started adding these to our repertoires of favorite meeting jargon words and phrases like “let’s circle back on that” or “how do we leverage the synergy from the strategy of the paradigm shift”.
Tara Yavorsky
Tara Yavorsky
Director, Marketing
WD Partners
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