Don Mock 0:21
Right episode 107 Rob
When I say 107 What does that mean to you?
Rob Broadfoot 0:27
It means I hope your fever doesn’t get up to 107 Because then you are in bad bad shape.
Don Mock 0:32
You’re probably dead if It’s 107
Rob Broadfoot 0:34
I wonder What the highest recorded fever
Don Mock 0:37
I draw pictures for a living. I don’t do science. Wow. Yeah. Okay, well, someone Google that and send it to the hotline.
Rob Broadfoot 0:45
Alright, what’s the over under? Is it is it? Is it over? 110 or under 110
Don Mock 0:49
Alright you wanna make a note of this and return to this. Over were you saying 110? is I don’t think you can make it to 110.
Rob Broadfoot 0:56
Alright so let’s just do the under 107.
Don Mock 0:58
107 Okay, so and just to be clear, it’s 107 You’re dead? Or What? Over 107 You’re dead. Does that make sense? If you’re 107. Are you alive? Like can a human being have a 107
Rob Broadfoot 1:13
I’m gonna say yes. You’re gonna say yes. Yeah.
Don Mock 1:15
just to be contrarian. I’ll say no, you can’t make it to 107 I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone making into 106. I feel like 104 is crisis mode, right? I mean,
Rob Broadfoot 1:29
104 I mean, little kids have had 104
Don Mock 1:31
Do you know what your normal temperature is? Like your normal? I’m healthy. You know, because they say
Rob Broadfoot 1:36
We’re supposed to be 98.6.
Don Mock 1:37
Yeah, we grew up with 98.6. Okay, yeah, I am never 98.6 I’m always 97 Like, if you took my temperature right now I’d be I’d be like 97.3 I’m always cool. Cool. Like the other side of the pillow.
Rob Broadfoot 1:53
I’m gonna say I’m hot.
Don Mock 1:55
Okay, you think you like a 98.9?
Rob Broadfoot 2:01
gonna say that only because I love the cold so much. The cold doesn’t really bother me. So I’m just gonna, which is? Probably it is really inaccurate, but I don’t know.
Don Mock 2:08
Yeah, I’m always cool. I’m always cool. So all right. That is not What we’re going to talk about today. And you have no idea What we’re going to talk about today. I’m going to surprise you with Today’s topic. Well, hot off the presses of the magical New York Times. Yes. The New York Times I read an interesting article made me think about hey, let’s talk about this in the podcast. Okay. So What would the New York Times be writing about you ask, right? The headline is, or the the title of the article is Barnes and Noble sets itself free. Okay, Barnes and Noble sets itself free, right. As the book chain, as the bookstore chain mounts a comeback. It’s breaking a cardinal rule of corporate branding and store design, consistency. Okay, and I’ve got some cool quotes, we can read through the whole thing. So today’s topic is basically Barnes and Noble. Has made well here I’ll just I’ll just read a read one of these quotes here. Okay. This is the direct quote from The New York Times article, right. Okay. Any design agency would have a heart attack, if they could see What we were doing. Okay. James Daunt, the Barnes and Noble chief executive says, Okay. We don’t have any architect to doing our design at any stage. There is no interior designer. Okay. And certainly the identity people would have a complete crisis, Mr. Daunt continued to maybe chuckle Okay. Referring to branding consultants, it breaks all the rules. And basically the point of the the point of the article is, Alright, we’re done with brand standards were done with corporate identity, like they’ve got pull quotes from from other famous designers and things like that, right? They’re using 14 different logos. They basically have decided Barnes and Noble as part of their comeback story is to say, hey, F, the corporate standards across from store to store to store to store Yeah, they’re saying, hey, books are different bookstores are unique, right? They’re letting every single bookstore as they renovate and as they do, right, design their own stores. Now they are using some consistency in terms of shelving in terms of modular shelving systems and things like that, right? But they’re basically saying, hey, it’s not like Starbucks. I know, I’m putting words in their mouth right here. Like when you go to Starbucks, you know, it’s the same floor, it’s the same walls. It’s the same this every McDonald’s they build that’s new gets this, they’re saying, No, we are going to let the space be whatever the space is, and we’re going to let them be completely totally different, including, including the logo on the outside of the door.
Rob Broadfoot 4:34
That was my question. My question was, are we talking about just the interior space? Or are we talking about all the way up to the logo and the like, the corporate the brand identity?
Don Mock 4:45
Well, they’re still going to use What they have on hand. I mean, they’re still going to use the corporate Barnes. I mean, they’re not allowing teams to now design their own logos and go that crazy, right? They’re just basically
Rob Broadfoot 4:56
So it’s really just about the space.
Don Mock 4:57
Yeah, they’re saying it’s an idiosyncratic approach to mass retail they described themselves as now independent booksellers and background and ethos and is pushing the chain to act more like an indie store. You know, act more like indie stores, it was once notorious for displacing an embrace lighter, brighter interiors with modular shelving designed for maximum flexibility. You don’t need to love books. But you need to know how our customers shop for books. So they’re basically saying, hey, like the mass approach to book selling, right? And I don’t have I’m not gonna go into the whole article. But the standard retail approach that we just went through for the past 20 years, right, which is, hey, we’re putting all the registers in one spot. And we’re sending people through the gauntlet of tchotchkes and all that shit, right? All those all those considered impulse buys, there’s an F that indie stores wouldn’t do that indie bookstores don’t do that. Right? So they’re letting each sort of store manager not run amok, but design the space appropriately. For the environment they’re in, right. So even, even in New York, they’re going to have multiple different stores that aren’t going to look the same. Right? So they’re saying, hey, San Francisco, do your own thing. Austin, Texas, do your own thing, you know, that type of stuff. Right? So yeah, it was interesting, it kind of caught my eye.
Rob Broadfoot 6:16
I wonder if the store sizes are going to be as in general, I’m talking about if they’re going to be as big as they were before? Or if there will be smaller scale stores like, are they selling off the existing properties they have
Don Mock 6:36
Well they did close some stores. And they are renovating. I mean, the article talks about how they’re renovating one in Manhattan, New York Times, New York focus. But you know, the final quote, and then we can sort of talk about branding and consistency and design consistency, right. But Mr. Daunt goes on to say, the curious trick has been that if you actually let the local book selling teams do What they think they do best, right, you suddenly get much better bookstores. However, he says, Then he quickly added a caveat, about a quarter of them become dramatically better. Okay, a quarter of them become dramatically worse. Right. But from a corporate perspective, it’s much easier to focus on that quarter and improve the underperformers versus getting caught up and brand guidelines. And Here’s the new promotion, and you got to do this in the window. And you got to do that. So you know, was pushing this book or that but you don’t I mean, it’s like, hey, a quarter of them You don’t have to manage them, because they’re already doing their own thing. Right, which I think is kind of interesting. So. So you know, the question is, Hey, is that how do we feel about this? How do we feel about basically a giant retail chain saying, You know What?
I’m gonna say it’s a giant freakin breath of fresh air. And I love it. I love everything about it. I think it’s great. Yeah, I think that, you know, we’re coming out of this, you know, gosh, two decades of big box big box big box. You know, the explosion of big box retail that we all went through.
Yeah. And it’s killed all the mom and pops in the Walmart
Rob Broadfoot 8:11
And now we’re seeing the the effects of that and they’re shutting down left and right. And real estate is as they were closing the Bed, Bath and Beyond. And we’re closed down all
Don Mock 8:19
Amazon’s now killing those guys off, you know, things like that.
Rob Broadfoot 8:23
I think it’s awesome. I love it. And I hope it works. I’m fully behind this idea.
Don Mock 8:30
Do you think that this is kind of a one off specific to What they sell I mean they sell books. I mean, and bookstores are cool. Like you go to a bookstore, you go to a funky bookstore, you’re like, Man, this is awesome. And it’s a time suck. And you can kind of wander around and you look at things and books are a tangible physical thing, right? So I mean, could you do this type of approach for other categories outside of books?
Rob Broadfoot 8:53
Books are unique, and I’m going to quote a line that you say all the time, which is nobody wants to be sold to but everybody wants to hear a story.
Don Mock 9:04
I do say that a lot.
Rob Broadfoot 9:04
We’re talking about bookstores. So I think that that applies. I think about bookstores much the same as I do coffee shops. Right. You’ve got I think most people would argue that they would rather go to their local neighborhood coffee shop in principle than they would to a Starbucks. Starbucks its just so damn convenient, it’s so prolific that and not every neighborhood has his own coffee shop
Don Mock 9:37
And there’s a consistency. I’m behind enemy lines. I’m on a trip. I’m out of town or I don’t have one in my neighborhood, as you said, like, I know, I know What I can get there.
Rob Broadfoot 9:48
And a lot of people go to bookstores to browse and work and spend time like we’re reading in the corner, we’re doing homework we’re doing we’re studying we’re writing papers and doing
Going to a bookstore is different than like, oh, I ran out of toilet paper, I have to run down the street real quick.
I mean, there’s something that there’s something that felt weird about going to a Barnes and Noble and it and it, I guess at its height, and it’s oh, there’s just rows of books and signage everywhere nonfiction over here and biographies over here, and it was hard to find, and it just felt kind of cold and didn’t feel warm. So bookstores should be warm.
Don Mock 10:32
Yeah. But how weird is it that I mean, again, we’re picking on books right now, though, that like, there were hundreds and hundreds of Barnes and Nobles all over the places people going and buying books, right. But people don’t go to their own library. You can get that book at. Right. I mean, if you think about just Barnes and Noble, right, that that level of books and availability, We’d rather go to a Barnes and Noble potentially then go to the library. I don’t know What that says about us. And I don’t know why I just thought about that. But it’s kind of an interesting thought.
Rob Broadfoot 10:32
Libraries were old and clunky. And yeah, they’re stodgy.
Don Mock 11:04
Yeah. But but they’re digital now, too.
Rob Broadfoot 11:07
Yeah but they seem for whatever reason, the stigma, I think, is that they were very, very late adopters to convenience, things. And did the card catalog hang around for too long? Most people would agree.
Don Mock 11:21
Yeah you don’t go into a Barnes and Noble and have to learn the Dewey Decimal System to go find the book. And they did a great job. They got the information person kind of central, a lot of Barnes, you know, go in there, hey, I’m looking for this. I’m looking for that, whatever, you know, and they got into the cafe scene, too. And they had the weird CDs about, you know, that kind of grew and evolved.
Rob Broadfoot 11:37
And they have Starbucks in Barnes and Noble, you know, and the whole thing,
Don Mock 11:42
When magazines were a thing, man, the magazine section of Barnes and Noble was was ridiculous
Rob Broadfoot 11:50
That’s were you used to go pick up your guns and ammo magazine all the time.
Don Mock 11:53
All the time. So now I do gardening guns. Yeah,
Rob Broadfoot 11:55
I think that it’s great. I think that people, people, I think there’s a little bit of a backlash, certainly against big box stuff. We chatted about that. But I think that the notion of empowering, you know, local owners to not only do What they think is right, because they’re boots on the ground, knowing their customers, you know, the bookstore is the kind of place that you you hopefully get frequent visits to.
Don Mock 12:29
Yeah, absolutely. Oh, I just finished this. Whatever. Oh, What else is like this? Yeah, whatever, you know,
Rob Broadfoot 12:33
so yeah. So I don’t know. It’s a great, it’d be an interesting case study. Yeah.
Don Mock 12:38
I just love the quote, any design agency would have a heart attack, if they could see What we were doing.
Rob Broadfoot 12:43
Yeah, no heart attack here.
Don Mock 12:44
Well, because it is it is, well you’re focusing on localization, right? And, you know, from a branding perspective, we are so conditioned for consistency, right? is, Hey, your business card looks like Fred’s business card looks like that. You know What I mean? Like, there’s brand uniformity, we’re all marching in the same direction. You know, we’re saying the same thing. We write brand standards, manuals, so everybody understands What the brand stands for, how to utilize the brand, you know, things like that. So, I mean, do you think that this approach could work outside of books, you know, another? I mean, could Starbucks do this make every single Starbucks different?
They are almost too prolific to be able to pull it off? Yeah.
Maybe Starbucks is a bad example.
Rob Broadfoot 13:32
You know What I mean? Because there’s so many of them that like, oh, it’s, it would feel I feel like that would feel gimmicky. Right versus this, you know, Did you go to Barnes and Noble because it was Barnes and Noble? Or did you go because it was really the only bookstore?
Don Mock 13:53
We had a borders, Borders was around at a certain at a certain time.
Rob Broadfoot 13:57
Okay, did you go to either one of those because of any sort of brand
Don Mock 14:02
Because the logo on the outside of the building
Rob Broadfoot 14:03
Well not even that just was one better than the other as an experience?
Don Mock 14:09
It’s a great question. I would say that personally, my brand experience in Barnes and Noble was probably better than Boarders. I feel Barnes and Nobles, at least my interaction with them. And then What was that bookstore that was the all yellow who had all yellow branding? Whenever was like discount books or something?
Rob Broadfoot 14:27
There was one…Chapter 11
Don Mock 14:29
Chapter 11 That’s exactly What was chapter 11. The reason why I frequented barnes and noble one back when I used to was their hours they’re open late, okay, and I like that that’s when I had free time. And they had a much larger store footprint, you know that they were just huge. They were gigantic. So I sort of good bad or indifferent equated that to quantity of selection, right? So when I went into the the design section or the Art section I just felt like there are more, there are more books there to sort of peruse than than a borders Borders was a smaller footprint
Rob Broadfoot 15:07
Well, maybe one other thought is maybe they can they feel like they can get away with it. Because, you know, the, if you think about the worlds, they’re kind of one of the world’s largest companies, Amazon started off as a bookstore and then have evolved to have every single product ever under the sun ever. bookstores followed the same trajectory in that, oh, they started off as bookstores, and it was, now we carry CDs. Yeah. And they got too big for maybe their own bridges. Right. They didn’t become necessarily bookstore only anymore. So potentially they were watered down by that experience.
Don Mock 15:51
We were buying like DVD movies and things in there for whatever reason.
Rob Broadfoot 15:55
Exactly. So now maybe it’s and that was toys. I mean, I think Barnes and Nobles had like a toy puzzle section the whole thing so maybe now it’s Oh, no, we’re gonna go back. We’re just gonna do books. It’ll be interesting to see if, if it works. Well, that but it’ll be interesting to see if you know operators are allowed to sell other things. Besides books. Are we only going to do are we going to be like, Nope, we’re doing books only. That’s yeah. I mean, I’m sure we’ll have greeting cards.
Don Mock 16:21
Yeah, though, there’s still going to be that kind of stuff. You know, you know, the final quote that I have printed out here to read through, which I think is interesting, which ties into that point. I think, as Mr. Daunt says, you turn What had been a very uniform but dying business into something that’s much more unpredictable and dynamic. I tend to agree with that right? It makes it more interesting and makes each customer touchpoint more interesting.
Rob Broadfoot 16:45
I think also What What helps them be able to do this potentially is books by nature. Every single one is different by definition stories are all different
Don Mock 16:58
Yeah, that’s an interesting point.
Rob Broadfoot 17:00
So I think that helps justify no every story every experience is should be different. Yeah, is different. Now if you’re selling even though I do love a local coffee shop, if we’re just selling Caramel Macchiato like the same thing every then then it makes sense that it doesn’t have to be a localized experience to be successful.
Don Mock 17:23
Yeah, the brand stands for consistency, quality consistency, right? Yeah. Did you guys now growing up out west we had Fry’s Electronics. Was there a Fry’s electronics
Rob Broadfoot 17:33
We didn’t have Fry’s here we had Oh my gosh. Well, for a while we had Service Merchandise that was where we went for our electronics. Yeah, but then it was. Oh, I’m not gonna be able to come up with
Don Mock 17:48
if it pops in your head while I’m telling the story then interrupt me but we we had Fry’s Yeah.
Rob Broadfoot 17:58
Don Mock 17:58
Yeah I bought a car stereo there, there was one up on up at the split. Yeah, it was it was a that was like the good guys. We had the good guys out west. It was just kind of a speaker store, electronic store. You know, that type of thing. Right? Well, well, this anyway, this article about Barnes and Noble reminded me about Fry’s. Fry’s was an electronic store. So it was you know, it’s like a Best Buy. Like you got all your TVs but you got all your computer. It’s like if Best Buy and Microcenter. Like got married.
Rob Broadfoot 18:28
Okay, but we didn’t have like washing machines and stuff like that. We Well, yeah,
Don Mock 18:32
Yeah, they had anything electronic. Right. And it was very much like, yeah, you could just go buy a TV. But it also had like, like, Microcenter is like the nerd store for computer nerds, which I which I mean that lovingly right? It’s like you got every cable you got you can buy just chips, processors. I mean, you can build your own computer, like you know, just buying pieces and parts, right? So Fry’s would go down to that level. I mean, it was like I just need a washing machine, a vacuum. I just need a paper shredder. I just didn’t you know, but then you had all the super super tech now, you know?
Rob Broadfoot 19:00
Don Mock 19:00
Yeah. And everybody Yeah, right. Yeah. I mean, it was just kind of this weird blender. And it was a big sort of Price Club style, like humongous store. Right? Well, Fry’s Had this not similar approach to what’s happening with Barnes and Noble but was interesting is every Fry’s story was different, meaning they were all themed. So the Fry’s that I grew up with was the Wild West and like to the point of you walk through the front doors, and they’re swinging saloon doors that go back and forth. All the signage is Wild West, everything’s heavy wood, lacquered, like dark. I mean, there are wagon wheels or tumbleweeds, there’s cactuses. I mean, it was the whole thing was completely It made no sense. It was like why is this wild west and their logo is terrible, right? But there was another Fry’s, you know, down the peninsula. All Egypt, the entire thing like yeah, like sarcophagus like the Sphinx. You know, pyramids, like Egyptian pharaoh stuff. Everyone’s like, What the hell like it’s just a it’s just a warehouse shelves selling electronic stuff, right? But each One was completely designed to like, you couldn’t have any operational efficiency of signage, like oh, Here’s the sign and then it goes to all the fry stores like they’re all completely totally different.
Rob Broadfoot 20:11
Well, you know who else does that? Who does a really good job of that.
Don Mock 20:13
Rob Broadfoot 20:14
Don Mock 20:14
Yeah, well that will they’re independently. It’s Bates Ace or Rob’s Ace or Don’s Ace
Rob Broadfoot 20:20
Auto parts is kind of the same model too but Ace Hardware. I mean, that’s that’s where I live over in Decatur. We have the shout out Ace Hardware on Scott Boulevard. It’s the most magical place on Earth that’s saying a lot. But it’s it’s incredible. I mean, you can go there. The flower of section is just amazing. It’s great. You know, everybody there is great.
Don Mock 20:41
But it’s not designed like Egypt, right?
Rob Broadfoot 20:43
It’s not designed like Egypt. But to your point. There’s not a whole I mean, outside of the ACE logo on the door. Everything’s Totally different. Yeah. Completely different. And that model works. Yeah.
Don Mock 20:56
Yeah. I think ace is extremely successful in regards to the franchisees. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Just ask them, you know, ask the guy in the red vest.
Rob Broadfoot 21:08
Okay those are consistent. The red vests are consistent.
Don Mock 21:10
I mean, there are some brands, Same thing with Fry’s. I mean, the logo is the same. It’s just, you know, and the shelving and the vest, but everything. But again, I don’t even know that Fry’s exists anymore. I mean, this was, you know, this was 30 years ago by now. So. But anyway, this article caught my eyes sort of branding consistency. And that was kind of an interesting topic. You know, I love I love some of these quotes in here, you know, in terms of identity, people would have a complete crisis. I think that’s hilarious. Yeah. But yeah, I think that I tend to not that anybody’s asking me, but I tend to agree with you, I think. I think it’s cool. I think it’s great live within indie bookstore, you gotta have a consistent logo, you’re going to be on Google, everyone’s going to find you the way that they’re going to find you and how to get there and then go there, and especially with a bookstore, have an experience. Yeah. And trust the localization factor, you know, and the building that you’re in or whatever, you know, like, don’t force it to be a homogenized experience from Nebraska to New York to Sarasota, right.
Rob Broadfoot 22:09
It’ll be it’ll be interesting to see. We should follow this one. For sure. Where’s our local Barnes and Noble? Is it is it up on Peachtree?
Don Mock 22:18
There’s one up Parkway
Rob Broadfoot 22:21
But the one up on Peachtree.
Don Mock 22:23
Oh, yeah, that’s a Barnes and Noble. That’s Barnes and Noble. Yeah. Still, I used to go. That’s the Peachtree center.
Rob Broadfoot 22:30
That’s huge, ginormous.
Don Mock 22:31
Yeah, but the one on Cobb Parkway is even bigger. It’s like multi, like two levels. There’s an escalator.
Rob Broadfoot 22:37
Yeah, that’s right.
Don Mock 22:38
Yeah. So I used to go to that one. So my wife Absolutely. You know, in the night hated going to bookstores. hated it. Just not her jam. And I’ll be like, drop me off at a bookstore.
Rob Broadfoot 22:48
Pick me up in three hours.
Don Mock 22:51
Yeah, exactly. I call I mean, I’ll sit in a chair. And like, look through books. I mean, I’m, you know, like, that’s, that’s my jam.
Rob Broadfoot 22:57
Well Chapter 11. You mentioned chapter 11. That was a good bookstore. Because because it always, it always felt local, though. And I don’t know if that’s just just because there were fewer of them. Or where it was located and the size of it and everything, but that always felt like a smell. It felt like a local record shop.
Don Mock 23:13
Yeah, yeah. Now we’ve got the book nook. I don’t know, if you go to any of the book nooks. There’s a couple of book nooks around too. And it’s really more of a, you know, a used book, sort of vintage. And they got comics shout out to some comics and stuff, you know, but you open the door to the book nook, and you’re like, Oh, it smells like the book nook. You know? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to say musty. That’s not right. It’s not that but it’s like vintage paper? Yeah, this place is a tinderbox waiting to happen.
Rob Broadfoot 23:42
But yeah, maybe maybe record stores could do that. Maybe record stores can pull it off.
Don Mock 23:46
Yeah. I mean, I mean, I know we got Criminal Records. I never go to the other record place the record store place that used to be on Peachtree. I can’t remember the name of that place right now. But But yeah, that could be totally independent. But I mean, What do we have any coast to coast record? I mean, Tower Records
Rob Broadfoot 24:04
Tower Records is gone. Yeah.
Don Mock 24:07
I mean, people don’t buy like physical media anymore. It’s weird to me.
Rob Broadfoot 24:12
All right. Well, we’ll follow and see What happens and we’ll take a field trip up to Barnes and Noble.
Don Mock 24:16
Where can people follow up with us Rob?
Rob Broadfoot 24:19
Well, you can find us walking around the aisles of Barnes and Noble
Don Mock 24:22
First and foremost
Rob Broadfoot 24:22
But if you are in front of your computer, you can find us online at www.mocktheagency.com Or of course, on any of the socials. We’re not hard to track down. It’s @mocktheagency Yeah, give us a shout. Give us some topics, questions, concerns, comments, likes all that good stuff. We’ll talk to you next time.
Don Mock 24:37