How SM keeps its relevance over time

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(Source: Manila Standard | June 18, 2018)

Every year, Filipinos celebrate Father’s Day. Certainly, families will flock to the malls this Sunday to spend time with their loved ones. After all, Dad’s Day is not complete without celebrating it at SM Malls.

In turn, this celebration has become an avenue for businesses to generate profit. So how do longtime brands, such as SM Supermalls, maintain its relevance for over 60 years?

Established in 1958, the unofficial national mall of the Philippines believes that continuous innovation is necessary to attract consumers.

In fact, the country’s top retailer has moved to a technology-based promotion and is taking advantage of the popularity of smartphones. Instead of handing out traditional coupons on special occasions, the country’s top retailer shifted to the use of Quick Response (QR) codes in promos and deals.

“The most important thing is that you never ever lose touch of the people who come to the malls,” said Jonjon San Agustin, SM Supermalls senior vice president for marketing. “You always have to talk to them, interview them to a certain degree from a marketing standpoint. You have to do the necessary market research.”

“You’ll always have that mindset to always improve what you have done last year, right?” he told Manila Standard.

In addition, for the first time, the shopping center of the Philippines offers an activity dubbed as “Tech for Dads” as part of its activities on Father’s Day. “We also have this thing in some of the malls wherein we’re going to let people operate the drone as it goes around,” San Agustin shared.

Presenting it differently

Companies have also moved to digital advertising to earn the attention of ever-changing consumers. Brands have constantly struggled to produce the best content. SM is no exception.

Last year, SM produced a tear-jerking video for Dad’s Day that became viral. It conveys that fathers, who are often perceived as unaffectionate, have feelings, too. In less than 24 hours, the video earned nearly 6 million views, over 148, 000 likes and more than 63, 000 shares on Facebook.

This year, the award-winning corporation released a heartwarming video that brings fathers to the center stage and underscores the importance of spending time with our ultimate idols.

Every year, the shopping mall is successful in presenting Father’s Day in a new light.

“And of course, even if we give away the same thing like dining deals and car shows, the way we present it will always be different; the way we present it will always be bigger,” San Agustin added.

SM received the Platinum Trusted Award from Reader’s Digest for six consecutive years. It is also the sole shopping mall brand to receive a visual merchandising award from London-based Retail Design Expo VM Awards in May 2018. RDE is Europe’s leading annual event for innovation and inspiration in retail design.

Such accolades were possible with SM’s mindset in marketing. For San Agustin, marketing makes the brand relevant to the people.

“You never tell yourself already that ‘You’re number one, no matter what happens, we’ll stay as number one’ but it’s really how can we improve in serving our customers better,” San Agustin said. “It’s all about customer service.”