2019 has been a tumultuous and defining year for the department store sector around the globe.

With HoF, Debenhams, John Lewis, M&S, Sears, Nordstrom and others finally succumbing to the reality that simply stacking the sales floor with the same old same old doesn't quite cut it in today's digital and socially savvy multi-channel world.

With the rise of social commerce also eating away (sorry for the pun) at multi-channel retail websites we see that more and more of these struggling retailers are now looking to grow the F&B (food and beverage) part of the business all in order to attract the weary and hungry consumer with the anticipation of improving dwell time that might, just might convert into a sale - WTF?.

The definition of what we consider as “marketing” is changing and becoming broader. No longer is it just about branding and advertising, marketers must work together with other departments to focus on building great customer experiences and engaging customers for long-term relationships.

The growth of online content has given consumers more power. 

They are no longer a passive party when it comes to learning about products. 

They’re not waiting for you to tell them how great your products are. 

Instead, they’re going out and doing their own research.

So you have to offer them something more than information.

Your company culture forms the basis of everything you do. 

No matter how much time or how many resources you plow into marketing, if your audience and customers don’t align with your key values, your success will be limited.

Company culture and brand are now merging and some experts already consider them to be synonymous. To put it another way, your branding and content marketing strategy can’t be separated from your company culture as a whole.

Employees who work in a trust-based company culture are 8x more likely to say they’re proud to share where they work, which helps to promote the company brand.

However, less than half of the employees surveyed for a global study say they have “a great deal of trust” in the company they work for. 

For brands to succeed in the new era of influencer marketing, where their advocates are their own employees rather than celebrities and social media personalities, it’s vital to build this culture of trust.