Moore and Moore in Nashville, Tennessee, adds a touch of whimsy with colorful lanterns in the greenhouse.

June 2024
A store by any other name By Kim Baker

Telling a compelling brand story for your store creates more than just a shopping experience for customers.

Want to learn more? Explore the art of visual allure and compelling narratives with Kim Baker and Ali McKenzie during The Garden Center Show, Aug. 6-7 in Rosemont, Illinois. During this session, you’ll learn to blossom year-round with an impactful logo, engaging graphics and resonant storytelling. Attendees will walk away with templates and tools to help tell a successful brand story all year long. Their session will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6, on Education Stage 2.

Kim Baker also will be speaking Wednesday, Aug. 7, about crafting a yearlong narrative and the important role a written marketing plan plays for successful IGCs.

Learn more about The Garden Center Show and register for free at

Bring Your Brand Story to Life

Keep your message consistent across all customer interactions. That includes:

  • Displays: Creative display arrangements, use of branded signage and graphics, and attention to color schemes and aesthetics.
  • In-store design and layout: Use branded fixtures, furniture and décor elements that create a unique and cohesive atmosphere.
  • Signage: Incorporate branded signage and graphics throughout the store to reinforce the brand’s identity and communicate key messages. This could include logos, taglines, product information, and promotional messaging displayed prominently throughout the store.
  • Staff: Ensure that store staff are trained to embody the brand’s values and provide a consistent brand experience to customers.
  • Packaging: Use branded packaging materials, labels and tags to enhance the perceived value of products.
  • Consistency across channels: Ensure that the brand experience in-store is consistent with the brand’s presence across all of your marketing efforts — including social media.

— Ali McKenzie

As the creative director for Great American Media Services, Ali brings over seven years of service and expertise to the role. Her passion for graphic design and leadership drives her to nurture her team, ensuring excellence in every aspect of the design process. Through her meticulous oversight, she maintains a professional standard that elevates GAMS brands and fosters a culture of creativity and professionalism throughout the organization.



Your garden center is more than just another store. By nature, it’s a place people shop to help create an environment they want to come home to — they create part of their own story with the plants, flowers, décor and other items they buy from you. And, for most, it’s an experience. How you tell your store’s story builds upon that and creates loyalty and engagement with your shoppers.

If customers wanted to just buy their items and get home, they can find that at countless big-box stores. But IGCs bring more than that to the table. But you have to let them know that — by showing, not just telling. It is at the heart of your brand story.

“A brand is more than just a logo or a product, it’s the overall perception and reputation of a company and their product or services in the mind of the consumers,” said Ali McKenzie, creative director for Great American Media Services, publisher of Lawn & Garden Retailer. “For IGCs, a strong brand serves as a powerful tool for differentiation, fostering customer loyalty and commanding perceived value. It allows retailers to stand out in a crowded marketplace, build trust with customers and justify premium pricing.”

Your brand is in your logo; it’s in your signage. More than that, it carries through every aisle and every product you carry. It’s even in the way your employees interact with your customers — and the way your customers feel when they make a purchase with you.

That consistency is going to give customers a particular feeling when they come to your store. So, how do you create the feeling you want — and how do you share that with your customers?

First, you need to identify who those customers are and what they need from you. Everything you do needs to speak to them. This is your who.

Then, explore what your purpose and values are as an IGC. This is your what.

Next, figure out what makes you different from your competitors — why should customers come to you? This is your why.

From there, you need to get your story out there and tell it throughout every touchpoint with your customers. This is your how.

Are you committed to a fun and whimsical shopping experience? Bright colors, pops of whimsy and upbeat music all contribute to that in-store experience.

Or, maybe you focus on a highly personal customer-service focused experience? Consider greeters at the door, easy-to-read signage and a large, open customer welcome area.

Are you in a walkable downtown area with a customer base that thrives on community engagement and social activities? Build in ways for them to share their ideas and thoughts with each other — maybe test out some customer-recommendation shelf tags.

There really are no limits to how your brand comes to life and how you communicate that with customers. Consistency is key.

“Just like in any relationship, you want to know what you’re getting,” McKenzie said. “Consistent brand messaging builds trust, makes you feel like you’re part of something special and keeps you coming back for more.”

For an enhanced reading experience, view this article in our digital edition.

Kim Baker

Kim has over 20 years of experience in journalism and marketing. With degrees in journalism and anthropology and a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, she believes in the power of storytelling and information to create connections and bring people together. Her specialty is in combining data and heart to build a compelling brand story, and she loves working with clients to set a unique marketing strategy to drive their businesses forward.