What Retail Can Learn From the VMAs

What Retail Can Learn From the VMAs

What Retail Can Learn From the VMAs 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

The VMAs are not what we typically cover in our weekly insights, but hear us out. There’s a shift happening in our consumerism culture and it was all over the award show. Designers, brands, retailers should be paying attention. You want to know why? They just showed us, in all their colorful performances, acceptance speeches, and emoji accents, that this new generation is showing up and ready to take on the world with infectious energy.

So it got us thinking and we see key aspects these consumers are having on the retail space:


It’s been happening off-and-on for a few years, but it’s here now–and it’s loud. No matter race, gender, body size, orientation–there is room for all. And all are worthy and loved. We’ve already seen brands like Zara, Aerie, and now (finally) Victoria’s Secret not only embrace this, but elevate it to the masses. They working to make retail more relatable to consumers who are looking to find themselves personally connected to a brand.

Love is Magic

If everything is a show, then brands can learn a thing or two about how to make a deeper connection. From Camila Cabello & Shawn Mendes to Lizzo & her Soulmate, love is in the air. Maybe it is a fake romance (and we’re certainly hoping not), but consumers are eating it up.

We’ve talked about Brand Love for many years. Getting consumers to commit to a relationship with a brand is not unheard of. Apple, Starbucks, and Levi’s have found their place in this world. Becoming a brand ingrained into consumers’ daily routine is key. Make them feel good, on top of their game, and ready for whatever comes their way.

Nostalgia Meets Tomorrow

If willing to evolve, brands can show greatness overtime. Misdemeanor said so. Missy Elliot took the stage and showcased her epic catalog of video genius. Not only a revolutionary talent, she changed how videos are made. Now, we may be living in a “Podcast Killed the Video Star” moment, but what we do know is the crowd, both in person and at home, loved it.

The performance bridged the gap between old and new. A new take on “what used to be” is what we believe should be created on the retail front–everything from the department store to the mall experience. Transforming the past with a modern twist needs to be seen, felt, and heard. Experience is everything. Though today’s mall property has shifted in use, we see the traffic coming back when brands decide to evolve into the modern day. Creating spaces that encourage change and excitement. Bridging that gap between nostalgia and tomorrow.

Overall we see positivity and its power to build connections. This new emerging generation is not without a voice and they are passionate. They are ready to take on challenges, but with savviness, love, and a little fun. Every consumer has their Go-To brands that make up part of their life. They consider them part of their identity–their badges of honor. And if they are the first in their close group to suggest a brand–they are now the influencer in their own life. Small changes create big changes overtime.

Images: NBC | NYPost | CNN | USAToday | TeenVogue | Complex


A collection of insights research and observations across retail, restaurant, c-store and grocery. Helping brands provide a better experience for their customers. Enjoy.

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