Pop-Ups as Retail Theater: How Brands Are Setting the Stage for Consumer Engagement

At first, pop-ups were the domain of new brands with limited advertising budgets. As opposed to sinking a boatload of money into permanent stores, brands popped in and out until they found firmer financial footing and analyzed the market. At the opposite end of the spectrum, mega manufacturers made pop-up extravaganzas that blew budget from the water. Brands at the middle were abandoned handed where they match.

It can be challenging to stick out in a crowded area –especially for manufacturers that are not completely new to market. While it might appear that only brands with a booming social existence may captivate an IRL audience, a well-executed pop-up experience can be just the thing to move the needle for any brand–brand new, heritage, or anyplace in-between. And some of the best executions we have seen use pop-up as retail theatre.

Retail theatre in the people

To reach a new audience, visit where your prospects are. It is all about location, location, location. And while high visibility brick and mortar places could be from your balance sheet reach, the temporary character of a pop-up can make it possible to procure a marquee website –if only for a little while.

William Shakespeare said it best when he wrote, “All the world’s a stage.” The world is like a platform for customers to interact with brands on a deeper level than they would surfing a shop or an e-commerce website. It is not sufficient for brands to simply appear, however. The most successful pop-up integrations involve key components to create a high degree of lasting engagement: colour, texture, functionality, and takeaways. Create a multi-layered scene that brings attention, provides educational touchpoints, and converts new customers into authentic brand supporters. Implementing a multi-sensorial experience that educates and stimulates can help customers take your brand assignment and leave them wanting more.

Entertainment value

In order to successfully activate, components should exude consumers and permit them to fully experience your brand to maximize your ROI. As every marketer knows, sampling is among the very best marketing tools you have. Mix one-part sampling, one-part place, one-part drama, and you have the key ingredients to a successful pop up.

With social media use for an all-time large, a powerful photo moment will keep customers engaged and enjoys and shares growing. It is an exceptionally effective cycle of shoot, share, attract new visitors.

Successfully surprise and delight customers

Lately, Medallion Retail seen a pop-up installment for Hendrick’s Gin that checked all of the boxes of a successful mise en scène. The brand crafted a Midsummer Night’s Dream-inspired oasis out of midtown Manhattan’s Pershing Square, just steps away from iconic Grand Central Station–the excellent high-volume location to catch tourists and commuters alike.

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Hendrick’s transformed the concrete background into a dream garden with bright florals to present its Midsummer Solstice Gin into the masses. The newest partnered with floral business BloomsyBox to make bouquet takeaways for customers, entertained guests with larger-than-life actors on stilts, and served free summer-themed cocktails made with the gin. It was a midsummer night’s dream fantasy brought to full-throated life.

Hendrick’s utilized exquisitely executed display and signage to complement their surprise-and-delight minutes, such as branded umbrellas and posters which appeared like printed on parchment. All these points of participation helped customers immerse themselves in the brand’s Brit roots, while the adventures themselves introduced a new outlook on gin as a refreshing summer drink. The pop-up was only open for four hours every evening and was packaged with smartphone-wielding consumers every moment.

Dunkin’ Donuts created similar excitement with the introduction of a traveling miniature home in 2018 that visited New York City and Massachusetts. The coffee giant shot their motto,”AmericaRuns on Dunkin’,”quite literally–the home was powered by used coffee grounds.

The brand introduced the concept to customers per day before launching in NYC’s Madison Square Park–a gorgeous high-trafficked oasis in the center of Manhattan’s trendy Flatiron District. The newest amped up the pop-up buzz with sampling, interactive outdoor games, and voucher advice about a recently launching sweepstakes for a two-night remain in the house’s long-term locale of Nahant, Massachusetts (where Dunkin’ Donuts originated). Every element of this pop-up was considered, down to the dark wooden exterior which reflected the colour of fresh-brewed coffee.

The experiential house was unexpected, and fortified Dunkin’ Donuts ground coffee for a morning staple for many customers and sparked fresh dialog via the home’s sustainability footprint.

The Last act

As both Hendrick’s and Dunkin’ Donuts exemplify, creating your brand stand out hinges on believing beyond what a traditional brick and mortar store can provide. Outside the four walls of a storefront are endless opportunities to captivate customers and provide them meaningful experiences. It is placing these experiences–functionality, amusement, unique surroundings, and sampling–at the footpath of your audience that will resonate long term and build a new.

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