Want more brand awareness? Building hype begins with your retail space.
In the era of social media and digital marketing, retailers have to use every tool at their disposal to position their brand in a unique way, getting eyes on their brand and shoppers through the door. But more than that, they have to leave customers with a lasting impression.
That means extending the reach of your brand beyond your doors, getting online customers to purchase in-store through offline experiences. Pop up events, iterative design updates and influencer partnerships can help, but creating lasting impact starts at the source: your retail stores.
More retail stores are offering up their space for content creation and community building that takes their brand awareness and customer experiences to an entirely new level. The benefits are many, but ultimately you create offline experiences that are discoverable online, and ones that your customers won’t forget. Let’s take a look at six retail stores creating content hubs for both their brand and their customers.
Creating content opportunities for brand awareness and customer experience
The Spanish footwear brand, Pewter, uses its store in Gandia, Spain as an offline destination where selfies and photos are not only welcomed by customers but encouraged. From the exterior used to capture customer attention and endorse the brand’s custom hashtag, to the minimal interior retail design meant to inspire photos and social tagging among their products, Pewter succeeds in creating an experience for customers that generates brand awareness before they even walk through the doors of its retail store. And that custom brand hashtag? It makes it convenient for customers to tag pictures and videos on social media while calling out the brand and its products directly.
A concept shopping mall based in Berlin, Germany, Bikinihaus is a central hub for pop up stores, curated boutiques and gastro offices where a range of brands and businesses can come together to sell products, showcase goods and even display art from different artists. A creative hub and mall all wrapped into one, shoppers have the run of the space, where living plant walls, rope swings, restaurants and spontaneous pop-ups provide the perfect opportunity for snap-happy visitors to show off their purchases and highlight different brands. Signs encourage photo-takers to post and hashtag their pictures with #BikiniBerlin, giving surrounding stores an excellent opportunity to co-brand with both the mall that houses them and the individuals frequenting it. This clever technique also allows stores to discover rich advertising targets by proactively searching and engaging with hashtagged posts: if posters visit the mall once, they’re likely to visit again.
The Drake General Store
Toronto’s Drake Hotel has become known for its modern take on hotel living, where hospitality meets art, culture and community, all in the heart of one of the world’s most popular cities. But what’s most interesting about the Drake Hotel is how it broadens its offline experiences for customers and drives brand awareness through its commerce store chain, the Drake General Store.
The Drake General Store has transformed the concept of the traditional hotel gift shop into a hub where customers can shop Canadian-made goods, fashion, beauty, home wares and typical hotel gift shop items like trinkets and t-shirts. All storefronts are stand-alone locations independent of the Hotel, making them individual destinations for diverse customer experiences. Featuring designs unique to each store front, the General Stores serve up everything from Canadiana to beverages, pop ups, brand collaborations and much more.
Customers can shop the cult Canadian brands they love, snapping photos in and outside of each store, using social media to tag different store locations and custom hashtags like #drakegeneralstore or #DGSfunday, creating user-generated content that spreads awareness about the General Stores. The best part? The Drake Hotel gains considerable exposure through social sharing while customers take part in driving foot traffic to each physical location, all tying back to the Hotel itself.
Bark & Co (Barkbox)
While a pop-up shop or experience is primarily designed to push products and increase brand familiarity, engagement helps cement the positive (and lucrative) impressions people form of a brand.
Case in point: the post-worthy one-week-only “Barkshop Live” from Bark & Co which was hosted in busy downtown Manhattan. Inside the experiential pop-up, volunteer pups wore RFID-tagged vests that tracked which of the freely-available demo dog toys got the most attention. That data was fed to customers and companies alike, allowing dog-centric influencers to highlight up-and-coming toys for an even bigger audience boost. A fun and playful concept that echoed the brand’s lighthearted positioning, it was a prime example of an experience tailored to customers and influencers alike that raised the profile of the brand on social media.
The decision to open a lush little cafe on the Riviera in Monaco may seem like an odd choice for the foremost experts on color. A closer look reveals, however, that this unexpected pop-up effort offers the perfect opportunity to reinforce Pantone’s brand while generating awareness for a brand name not typically associated with food or hospitality.
From the food ware and branded water bottles to the cafe’s minimalist, modular design offering up pops of color, the cafe itself was practically designed for social media, where every detail (right down to the color-coded food) served as a sensory experience perfect for offline customers and online (social) awareness. Pantone showed that even the most unassuming brand can create a customer experience worthy of a Snapchat or Instagram Story.
While food sampling works for in-store customer awareness of different food brands – like those small samples you can get when wandering the aisles of your local supermarket – tiny cups and haphazard piles of food on mini styrofoam plates don’t make for enticing social media content. What’s more, it’s all been done time and again by food brand after food brand.
UK-based brand, Birds Eye Foods turned the concept of sampling on its head with The Picture House, a pop-up restaurant that offered full plates of its popular products as part of a fixed menu. The catch? Diners were asked to snap photos of their food and post them to their social media accounts with the hashtag #BirdseyeInspirations in lieu of a bill. The travelling pop-up event even employed an Instagram picture-taking professional to offer tips on angles, lighting, and more to the diners as they created and spread free content for the brand, proving that content creation doesn’t have to occur outside of the in-store experience.
READY TO TURN YOUR RETAIL STORES INTO CONTENT CREATION HUBS?
Curating content-friendly retail stores doesn’t have to be difficult. The key is to create in-store opportunities for content that don’t interrupt your customer’s shopping experience but elevate it. And a branded hashtag or custom retail space doesn’t hurt, either. If you’re ready to transform your retail store into a space that supports your objectives (and your customers’ needs), let’s chat. Our expert team can help you design and update your retail space.