It is becoming increasingly difficult for brands to make a mark and leave some sort of impact with customers in way that creates lasting loyal clients out of them. This is partly because we have too much to choose from, which is a good thing mind you, but it has led to a culture of restlessness, as we flit from one new concept or trend to another, be it in fashion, makeup or lifestyle. Now in Malta there is a particular situation that I have observed over the years. Whenever a new store or mall opens, there is a mass frenzy to shop and spend countless hours looking for something fresh and intriguing. Mind you, even I get lured into this activity from time to time, if only to ward off the humdrum of everyday life and its routines.
Then there is the longstanding store that is more than that. It is a warm, welcoming place if you will, as you know that whatever it is you are looking for will be there, whether it is a product or service, or the type of friendly but informative demeanour of the salespeople you have grown accustomed to and can rely on. Now that is something rarer these days. It is all well and good that you have a spanking new shop, but if the people who run it are dismissive, uncommunicative, or worse yet, hardly know how to speak English (let alone Maltese) then how do you expect return business? It is old school but goes without saying that a lavish luxurious interior is pointless if the people pitching the sales are hopeless – investing in one’s employees is a better way forward to ensure a solid clientele.
Now what am I on about, you might ask, especially if you have read this far? Well, this narrative of sorts is important as it underlines the qualities that I find ring true to the Franks company, which now boasts not ten or twenty years of service but 124: a store that offers not only top notch products but long-lasting good service. The latter quality has been the backbone of the shopping experience for scores of families and generations throughout the years.
The team behind Franks are now gearing up for their 125th anniversary, which promises to be somewhat special. To partly celebrate that but mostly to launch their 2017 campaign, Franks (at the Plaza) opened its doors after work hours to a select group of such loyal customers for an 80s/90s themed party, complete with Rubik’s cubes and all. It was indeed a very pleasant surprise, given that my childhood/teenage-hood spanned these two decades. As usual, the Franks store was tastefully decorated to mark the occasion, if only to give space to the myriads of brands and their delicious-looking displays to speak for themselves.
During the presentation, before many people took to the impromptu dance floor just outside the store to shimmy away to the nostalgia-inducing 90s tunes, the lovely Francesca spoke articulately of the theme behind the 2017 campaign: an homage to the Heritage, to the clients who were born in the 60s and reached the prime of their life at the same time Franks did. A concoction of style and vibrancy, this campaign is characterised by colour and life, and one that promises to bring back fun to the table. It is also a tribute to simultaneous growth and togetherness, embodied in the slogan: We are the Franks Generation. So that brings us full circle to the opening arguments of this piece, for Franks has been a store/concept/brand that has indeed touched many lives and still continues having an impact, 125 years on since inception.