Laura Davis

Founder, Branded Ground

Laura has been focused on creating meaningful retail experiences that bridge home, life and store for over 20 years. Her experience is multifaceted, ranging across brand planning, digital engagement, store design and, more recently, next generation retail experience design and analytics.

She believes passionately that good brands do not make promises — they deliver experiences in unique and compelling ways. Done right, it is this that builds irrational brand loyalty. With this philosophy, she has worked with brands such as AT&T, Toyota, Best Buy, Coke, L’Oréal/Lancôme, Lowe’s, Office Depot, Foot Locker, 7-Eleven, EJ Gallo and Unilever.

Laura is an active industry speaker and contributor on the subject of digital experience design for outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Time Magazine, the MMA and MediaPost. She’s an ongoing contributor for Digital Signage Magazine and Retail TouchPoints, an executive board member of the Digital Signage Federation and her book, “Lighting up the Aisle: Practices and Principles for In-store Digital Media”, is the only existing resource for how retail brands can harness technology to reinvent their in-store experience.

To learn more, visit:

  • Posted on: 07/06/2022

    H&M discovers it’s not easy being green

    Hey, thanks H&M for knocking the global trust index down yet a few more points! I often wonder how often this same kind of thing happens with products labeled organic. If no one is checking for facts, who would know? I'm not surprised that this happened, as they are only doing what they feel that they have to do in order to keep profits up. It is NOT okay, and I hope that this bad PR makes others rethink following similar strategies.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2022

    Will Amazon’s grab-and-go tech elevate store analytics?

    I was thinking the same thing, Bob. Considering their track record doing similar "use my platform' pitches and then using the data to compete against those that bought in, who would trust them?
  • Posted on: 04/14/2022

    Will solar have its day in the sun at Target?

    My Walmart is 2 minutes away. My Target is 20. Target continues to give me reasons to happily make the drive and give them my business -- and this is another. Keep it up Target!
  • Posted on: 04/14/2022

    Are tattoos no longer taboo on retail selling floors?

    PREACH! Self expression is self expression and so many people are tired of old and crusty norms. My southern belle mother always preached that tattoos are "common" and, as an artist at heart, it drove me nuts. I got one the second I turned 18 and it's in a subtle place, but every person has a right to do whatever they want to express who they are without worrying about having to find a job.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2022

    Are perks the secret to associate job retention at retail?

    You know what perks do? They make a clear statement that leadership cares. It gives them a platform to recognize that maybe they aren’t paying employees what they would ideally desire, but they are making up for it in some recognizable way. And when you’re living hand to mouth, every little thing matters. Working in restaurants to put myself through college, getting a shift meal often helped me make ends meet. I stayed at jobs that did this, and it didn’t cost them much. Every little thing—even if small—can matter to people more than we realize ... and although better wages are ideal, these perks are better than what so many do: nothing.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2022

    Why is user generated content missing from physical retail?

    Those of us in the consultant trenches have been pressing on this topic for well over a decade, if not more. Like anything else, observing culture and human behaviors will guide us to make the right choices, and UGC has become–hands down–THE most important and trusted source for helping shoppers make confident choices. My experience, in full disclosure, has been that many retailers don’t want to make it easily accessible at the shelf because they can’t "control" it. Many like gatekeeping the selling narrative at the point of decision, not letting it run wild by random strangers. They also don’t want to tick off the brands that are paying big money for a key in-store presence that may or may not have good social reviews. All of this makes no sense as we all know, as we hold in our hands the ability to look up any review or price comparison—and it’s irritating that we have to work to get to it. I hope to see this change. On another note, UGC is an incredible source for digital content that can easily localize, contextualize and inspire the store experience. It’s used effectively on virtual shopping platforms, but it’s woefully underutilized on in-store digital screens. I hope we see more retailers embracing this use case soon too.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2021

    Will Americans give the gift of nothing this holiday?

    You know what I thought about when I read this? How many people might be gifting upcycled items instead of new ones. I'm not sure if it would be perceived as tacky, but the sales trends are shooting skyward regarding gently used purchases. So, at what point might it be acceptable to gift them too? And how might THIS affect holiday, especially given the challenges with inventory.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2021

    Frontline workers say management isn’t listening to them

    Perfectly stated Gene. At the heart of the matter, this is the issue.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2021

    Walmart’s latest acquisition to give voice to its UX aspirations

    I love this concept as well but have had some challenges when exploring it due to its ability to understand accents and different types of voices. I'd love to see this blossom -- it creates some wonderful opportunities and, as a plus, is excellent for the visually impaired.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2021

    Will Planning Studios elevate IKEA’s urban shopper journey?

    We all know that there’s no "get in and get out" at IKEA, and the categories this concept home in on are the ones that customers need the most hand holding with — and have the highest ticket value. They are clearly homing in on a big friction point here, and I’m sure that they learned a lot from the virtual planning tools that they’ve had out there for a few years. I think this move will steal category share from some of the big home improvement brands. Tandem this with the TaskRabbit assembly support and it’s a great option. I hope it comes to Atlanta soon!
  • Posted on: 11/01/2021

    Petco’s new boutique concept is a private label experience

    I've seen the same Melissa, it often ends up being a red headed stepchild and fall down from a support perspective. As much as we need to keep store traffic healthy, I'd love to see this as a store-in-store instead. This said, they may be testing it as a standalone to gather metrics to plug in as a store-in-store -- which would be super. I'd love to take my dog to this!
  • Posted on: 11/01/2021

    Will same-day deliver holiday cheer for Abercrombie & Fitch?

    I think the other comments are all salient but, looking from a wider angle lens, it surprises me that the DoorDash/Instacart/Shipt crowd haven't gotten into this and offered a store pickup option from ANY retailer for this kind of a fee. Wouldn't that make more sense? Order online, select a pickup and let the crowd logistics folks get it for you? Does anyone know if Simon or any retailers are exploring something like this? Like a Buy Online, Bring it to Me? I suppose we'd need a new acronym like BOBTM. :)
  • Posted on: 11/01/2021

    What’s really behind Facebook’s rebrand to Meta?

    Jumping in with my friend Dave here, I agree with his sentiments. Further, do any of us trust Facebook's ecosystem to move us further into new "realms of reality" from a place of concern for society and the potential implications? I have a teenager and we are most all aware of the impact social media (particularly Facebook and Instagram) has had on them. Do I really want Zuck orchestrating the next virtual world for her and her peers to immerse themselves in? And to ensure that the unknown implications will be managed responsibly for her mental health? 100 percent no. The trust has been shattered by their deeds, not words. There is no way this is happening for anything other than profit.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2021

    Should grocers take a lead role supporting weight loss efforts online?

    It may sound ridiculous to some of us, but much of the obesity crisis comes from a lack of real education around the choices that are made. I'm engaged to a medical practitioner and it's astounding how many people come to see him that honest to goodness just don't seem to have a clue that the food choices that they make are making them sick. For those of us that don't need tools like this -- well, we don't need them. For those of us that do or simply want an easier way to do better, why not? I LOVE the recipe feature that Kroger does with Instacart and use it every single week. I'm a Publix person, but I shop with Kroger because of those dang recipes. If I could select only healthy options I would. Get my drift? This is not for everyone; it's for those that want or need it -- ignore it if it's irrelevant.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2021

    American Eagle acquires logistics startup to help transform its supply chain

    This is a great example of how operations and experience are intertwined – it's an ops/logistics play but it has a serious impact on customer experience. I also applaud them and hope that smart, bold moves like this inspire others to take their challenges on by the horns similarly.

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