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the genius of apple’s store patents

brand-as-business bit:  The news that emerged a few weeks ago about Apple getting approval from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for aspects of its store design got me thinking.  On the one hand the application seemed somewhat excessive — that a single brand could lay claim to a glass storefront and oblong tables with stools seemed ridiculous.

But then, I remembered the level of obsession Steve Jobs had with minute product design details, and it didn’t seem that far-fetched.  Plus, in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs,  an exchange between Jobs and Apple’s then head of retail Ron Johnson was reported in which Johnson reminded Jobs, “The store will become the most powerful physical expression of the brand.

So perhaps the patents suggest a new way of thinking about retail store design that would be instructive for other companies:  What if we considered our stores as products?  I wrote a piece for Chain Store Age that explores this idea.  Please give it a read here and let me know what you think.

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