I love Tommy Hilfiger - but don't look at these pictures!

I've just returned from chairing a session at the World Retail Congress in Berlin. I was talking about the vital  importance of engaging the people who work in retail, making sure they 'feel' what the brand is trying to stand for. My expert panel had some really interesting perspectives on this and we had some great questions from the floor too. Thank you to everyone.

But I have to say when a talented bunch of individuals are led and inspired by the genius that is Tommy Hilfiger, the heights that they and the brand can climb are limitless. I had no idea just how charismatic and 'connected' this fashion guru was - Tommy Hilfiger is in a league of his own! Do please check-out his websites and blogs, the man's a walking, talking business empire.

So inspired by his keynote chat and interview in Berlin, I decided to look again at his brand positioning, look again at the physical manifestation of his thinking. I decided to make a special trip to visit his wonderful store in Berlin. Like a moth drawn to light, I was attracted to the energy radiating from the entrance - especially the wonderfully quirky brand 'family' poster beckoning me in. I immediately knew I had to share this with the 'world' so they too would understand how this timeless genius keeps his brand relentlessly relevant. Indeed at the Congress Tommy talked about the power and energy he draws from his customers' observations (good and bad) and how powerful this is in keeping his finger and the company's finger on the pulse - he particularly spoke about social media and the importance of this 'sharing' medium in shaping his thinking.

Imagine then my supreme astonishment when, standing on the sidewalk taking a photograph of the store, I was greeted by an employee standing directly in front of my camera signalling that I couldn't take a photo!

Why I asked?

Because other people might see it and copy it!

But everyone walks passed the store on the sidewalk - it's the ultimate form of public access?

Yes but we don't let them take photographs!

But Tommy says he wants the world to know and share their thoughts about his wonderful brand?

I said, please don't take photographs!

A naughty quick click and I did....because I believe Tommy Hilfiger would want me to not only tell the world about the energy emanating from his wonderful store but he would want me to show it too - just like he wants people to talk about his wonderfully quirky fashions and his wonderfully relevant brand on Facebook or whatever.

I hope I'm right and the misguided employee is mis-interpreting a company position.

I hope Mr Hilfiger would love a fellow retail enthusiast with several thousands of people in his audiences around the world and several thousand hits on his blogs, to celebrate one of the grand masters of fashion - not only on his work but about his work. 

This whole episode speaks so eloquently to the unbelievable importance of an engaged retail workforce - because as I always implore in my lectures - if your workforce don't 'get-it', don't intuitively understand the grand ambitions of a business, how can their customers be expected to 'get-it'!

Maybe I'm missing something about celebrity, exclusivity or self-elevation and importance but I doubt it, Tommy Hilfiger doesn't seem like the architect of one of those brands. BUT I'll take the posting down if the sales assistant was correct - I just can't see that's what Mr Hilfiger would want for his adoring disciples: existing or future!

Not wanting people to take photos from the side walk?....nahhhh surely not!

In the meantime, please don't look at these pictures until someone lets me know it's OK to do so!

.....sorry about the quality of the photos - but now you know why!