I have been an ICSC member for just under 30 years. Candidly I must admit that my initial reaction to receiving ICSC’s rebranding email was “this sucks”. In talking to others many felt the same. The “Innovating Commerce Serving Communities” name is a mouthful and certainly easily forgettable. More importantly after watching the 30 minute webinar announcing the change, I was unclear as to what the rebrand actually means for its members.
BUT, despite these initial thoughts, I think this needed to happen to address the evolution of the shopping center and retail business that we are all witnessing in real time.
My team at Progressive Real Estate Partners is aware that I have recently been touting the idea of using the term “Commerce Centers” or “Service Centers” to describe many of the properties that we represent because the ability to actually buy a retail product is virtually non-existent. Many of these centers are primarily filled with restaurants and service-oriented businesses versus traditional retail.
The reality is that I’d guess over the next few years we will all refer to the organization as ICSC—much as many of us do now—and when someone asks what it stands for, most of us won’t be able to recall. I for one am good with that.
I am prepared and open to giving ICSC a chance to see where this rebranding initiative leads. They have been a vital factor in the success of many of our careers including my own and I think they deserve the opportunity to rise up and become a force for the future.
As a part of the repositioning I would love to see ICSC truly become more about serving its members. They have often been challenging to work with over the years due to a lack of transparency, inconsistency, excessive costs, and poor communication.
After reviewing the rebranding email and webinar. I was unable to determine whether the organization intends to stay mostly the same but with just a new name or should we expect substantial changes in the future.
Some of my questions left unanswered are:
- Is the organization going to continue to be focused on deal making in physical spaces?
- Or is the organization going to turn its attention to be more inclusive of ecommerce with substantial education regarding Clicks & Bricks.
- Is the organization going to be a place that regional retailers (3 to 100 locations) will find to be a valuable resource for growing their business?
- Will the organization cater more towards residential developers in an effort to be more community focused?
- Will the organization become more educationally focused like CCIM (an organization that many people know but virtually no one knows what it stands for)?
- Will the organization become more planning and environmentally focused like the Urban Land Institute (ULI)?
It will be interesting to see where this leads and hopefully over the next few months we’ll learn more including the answers to my questions. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts too. And, for now, ICSC will have my support. Just don’t make me say “Innovating Commerce Serving Communities”.