Brand owners are increasingly using experiential marketing to get their branded products in front of as many consumers as possible and pop ups are one of the most popular tactics.
While not especially new, in an increasingly online retail environment, pop ups can help brands to make a direct connection with customers in order to test new products or marketing approaches. They appeal to people’s desire to touch and trial new products and, for the brand owner, they provide an opportunity to glean information about consumer likes and dislikes in a controlled and low-risk setting.
If in any doubt about the power of pop ups, one of their earliest claims to fame was helping to establish the drinks brand, innocent. The company’s founders have stated that they decided to start making and marketing their branded smoothies only after trialling them at a music festival in 1999.
Nowadays, pop ups are making an appearance in virtually every location where there is high footfall as brands use them to trial new products or to promote a new range. In a bid to grab the attention of consumers and build brand loyalty, companies are also getting more imaginative about the pop ups they develop.
Drinks brand, Kronenbourg has recently opened a pop-up bar in Soho where instead of being served by bar tenders, consumers are served at their table by some very well-trained alsation dogs. As well as helping to generate some positive PR for the brand, the uniqueness of the experience acts as a draw for consumers. Called the Bar Alsace-tian, the pop up is also helping to promote Kronenbourg’s latest ad campaign, which features Eric Cantona and a pair of dogs.
As well as being drawn by the experience on offer, the temporary nature of pop ups is also appealing to consumers. The fact that the products are on offer for a limited time period creates a sense of urgency in the mind of the consumer – a get-it-while-you-can sentiment – that inspires them to take action. Organising a series of mini or interim events to take place whilst the pop up is open can also help to drive footfall.
Earlier this month, Baileys launched an experiential pop up inside the new Waterstones in Tottenham Court Road. Promoting the ‘Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction’, the pop up is located in a basement bar where visitors can relax and enjoy a tasting while perusing one of six shortlisted novels. The pop up is effectively a brand experiment that is attempting to combine a love of reading with the pleasure of drinking Baileys. Such initiatives can help to reinforce brand perceptions and strengthen brand loyalty.
Of course pop ups don’t have to be short lived. The beauty of a pop up is that it is an affordable way to test the market with a new idea or business proposition and millennial entrepreneurs are increasingly using them for this purpose. If they hit on a good idea that generates strong consumer feedback, the initiative can be a stepping stone to a more permanent business model.
In the world of online retail, businesses understand that real world experiences can add significant value to their brand and pop ups are here to stay.
Vince Kerrigan is Strategic Solutions Manager at brand communications agency, Vital Communications.