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Brief Published: 25 Jul 2019

Microsoft Unifies Proposition with Mega London Brandship

Microsoft Oxford Circus

Challenging the dominance of rival Apple, tech giant Microsoft has opened a supersized European 'brandship' almost adjacent to the Californian monolith's London store. Featuring a community theatre, gaming zones and business hub, it's a clear statement of its intention to unify the brand, and its multiple audiences, under one literal roof.

The 22,000 sq ft, three-floor ‘brandship’ store makes a play for the kind of pulling power exercised by Apple, located close by on Regent Street; but more explicitly targets different tech needs in different zones – from gamers and schools to partner businesses.

Designed by global architecture practice Gensler, it features huge 4k video walls (showing ads on loop or used for product demos), with each level incorporating event or retailtainment spaces. Highlights include:

  • Interactive Entertainment Zones: Spread across the first and third floors, these spaces fuse imaginative physical design with Microsoft’s latest software, such as its mixed reality HoloLens headset. For instance, visitors can try out racing game Forza Motorsport 7 whilst sat in a modified McLaren Senna. Gaming zones also feature adaptive controllers, allowing users with disabilities to play in-store (see also Inclusive Design Introduces New Market to Gaming and Empathetic Brand Engagement).
  • Enterprise Connections: The second floor, helmed by a gatekeeping reception desk,  is entirely dedicated to meeting rooms for corporate partner clients such as British lifestyle brand M&S, to demonstrate new tech and services.
  • Community Theatre: This first-floor space is used to host classes for local student and teacher groups. Tying into the Gen Z desire for self-improvement (see Powering the Brand of Self), it pitches the brand as a caring change leader.
  • Beyond Brand: That caring sentiment is echoed in a first-floor Answer Desk area, where members of the public can bring any PC for help, regardless of brand.

See also Strategies for Selling Tech.