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Rebranded Blacks aims for retail photography’s future

A new online and in-store concept

Blacks is re-picturing its brand with a major overhaul that includes a new logo, website, mobile app and store design called the “Playground for Photography.”

The Telus-owned photo specialty retailer embarked on its brand transformation more than a year ago with help from consumer research from Boston Consulting Group, and began to closely examine some of the marketplace hurdles it was facing.

Lisa Richardson, general manager and vice-president of Blacks, acknowledged that the photography industry is evolving, and the retailer not only has to move along with it, but also stay one step ahead. The advent of digital changed the traditional camera, and the arrival of camera-equipped smartphones was yet another game changer. But the beauty, said Richardson, is that people are taking more photos than ever before because of these advancements.

The problem, however, is that consumers aren’t aware of what exactly to do with their photos once they’ve been shared on social media, or they’re starved for a creative idea. For Blacks, it was about tapping into this consumer insight, and creating an experience that’s relevant for them, Richardson told Marketing.

Using Blacks’ recently launched mobile app, consumers can load pictures from their smartphone to quickly create books, calendars, collages, calendars and cards that can be shipped to the nearest Blacks location or the user’s home. And of course, shoppers can also order prints.

On its new website, designed by Forge Media + Design (currently operating in beta), consumers have a few more product options to choose from, including metal and canvas wall art, phone cases, mouse pads and more. The website also features DIY advice from well-known bloggers.

 

The physical store has been divided into three zones: Devices (cameras you can talk on and cameras you can’t, joked Richardson), the Inspiration wall that provides framing ideas and gives shoppers an idea of what particular products might look like at home, and the Create and Knowledge area, where consumers can learn more about their devices and create products using their images. The majority of products are created same-day, in-house.

The store is designed to be “a one-stop destination where you can get inspired by all the things you can do with your pictures,” said Richardson.

So far, five Blacks locations have been refreshed with the new look. An additional three locations will roll out by year’s end. Richardson said the retailer hopes to have all 92 locations revamped within the next two years. Blacks will support the new store concept with advertising from its agency of record, Taxi 2, as more locations get refurbished.

Taxi 2 is also responsible for the new logo. The type switches from upper case to lower case and moves from black and red to a light teal.

Figure 3 designed the new physical store format, which is brighter, more modern in appearance and aligns with the look and feel of the app and website.

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