A few weeks ago, Macy’s bought Story. If your reaction was the same as mine (and I live in NY), it doesn’t surprise me. WHAT is Story? And WHY is it important enough for Macy’s, a massive department store chain, to purchase it? When I dug into this a bit more, it made complete sense and represents a positive direction for the brand.

Story is a concept shop – it’s located in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood and is famed for leveraging partnership marketing to create curated, rotating brand experiences. If you’ve been into a Macy’s department store lately, experience is NOT the first word that comes to mind. Story’s founder will now serve as Macy’s head of experiences.

So why aren’t more department stores investing in experiential branding? Today’s malls no longer focus on just shopping. They are about the experience, offering more entertainment and dining options – trying to become destinations. However, retailers notoriously do not want to share data, shopper habits or opportunities with their brand partners. This is akin to living in the dark ages.

Retailers have square footage, which doesn’t make money and what’s the best way to change this? Activate it by building partner brand relationships that can bring in new shoppers and differentiate the store’s merchandise, offering and overall narrative storytelling. Interactive displays are one thing but what often goes unrealized is that offering exposure to non-endemic yet complementary brands can have a significant effect on marketing ROI too.

Macy’s will do this with Story on board and it’s a good move. Other retailers should follow suit and consider brand partnership marketing as an avenue to bring in new customers and increase marketing ROI.

My partnership-marketing agency Regatta has been helping brands increase marketing ROI for over 15 years. Don’t miss out on leveraging your brands valuable marketing assets too! I’m just an email or phone call away.