Sports and Experiential Marketing – What’s the new play?

Same Game, New Rules

SWISH. The atmosphere is nothing less than electric. Everyone is on their feet now. Time stands still as thousands of eyes are all fixed on the same scene unfolding in front of them. The faint swoosh of the net and blaring of the buzzer is drowned out by the eruption of roars from the crowd…Whether you’re a Sportscenter junkie or an occasional fan, it’s hard to beat the thrill of live sports. In a non-COVID world, sports and experiential marketing go hand-in-hand, but for the time being, stadiums remain empty or only partially full. Regardless, sports fans and brands alike have found creative uses of technology to bridge the gap between the couch and the court-side. 

Here’s a brief look at the landscape of sports and experiential marketing as its evolved:

IRL to AR

With consumer behaviors in constant flux, marketers are challenged with the task of adjusting along with their audiences. After a tumultuous 2019 season, the NBA was forced to halt play in March just before the playoffs. The season suspension was the first sobering moment of just how widespread the impact of the virus would soon become. At the time the season was suspended in March 2020, there were still 259 games left in the 2019/20 NBA regular season. 

Photo credit: usatoday.com

With the proverbial shot-clock ticking, the NBA and it’s sponsors weren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. After months off, the season resumed within the highly monitored Disney Bubble with relative success, proving a path forward for contact sports like basketball. With the restart, brands have been quick to employ the latest in live-streaming tech to bring the experience and excitement of sport to fans. Michelob Ultra, the official beer of the NBA, didn’t miss a beat and took their sports and experiential marketing strategy online offering the chance for virtual court-side seats to the Finals. Using its Teams “Together” mode, Microsoft has designed stadium-like experiences for 300 fans to watch their teams play and interact with each other from giant 17-foot screens surrounding the court. While of course, recreating all the excitement online doesn’t translate perfectly, features like the “Tap-to-Cheer” option on the NBA and WNBA apps give fans and players a chance to make the best of an awkward situation. On the app, brands and athletes have a natural way to interact with sports fans who can still show their support and give their favorite teams the home-court advantage from their own homes. 

Home Advantage

Speaking of home advantage — with fans unable to come to them, brands are having to get a little bit more creative when delivering experiences. And Bud Light, a brand integrated into sports and experiential marketing more than any other, is taking that challenge literally. When sports seasons were allowed to resume, Bud Light was ready to go the extra mile for sports-starved fans. After the anticipated return of the NHL season, Bud Light teamed up with Drizly to deliver some celebratory beers right to fan’s doors in true hockey fashion – by way of a big Bud Light blue Zamboni. Since the campaign’s initial puck drop, they’ve expanded their delivery offering to include Bud Light Platinum and Bud Light Seltzer through 21 different retailers. Not to mention, as part of the There’s a Bud Light There campaign, the brand hailed the return of baseball season by creating a few video spots with a light-hearted quarantine-take on the classic “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. With a little ingenuity Bud Light has been able to make it easier for fans to find something to celebrate, even if it’s just some comic relief. 

Photo credit: twitter.com

The Pandemic-Proof Sport

Esports and online gaming leagues have surged in popularity since the pandemic hit. Though the leagues had to cancel live competitions in the wake of the virus, it still thrives online through streaming platforms like Twitch. What was once an online niche has exploded into the mainstream and brands are taking notice. We’re seeing big brands like United Airlines getting in on the action and initiating esports sponsorships during the pandemic. By teaming up with sports, they’re combining something tangible AND digital. This is an innovative, fresh, brand marketing opportunity for an established brand like United. This isn’t a one-off blip — expect to see more and more brands following suit as professional gaming starts stepping center stage.  

Taking a Timeout

Through all of the lockdowns, quarantining, and self-isolation, social media, and live video have offered all of us a way to safely stay connected as well as giving brand marketers another outlet for activation. Brands like GoPro and JPMorgan Chase rely heavily on event marketing and sponsorships throughout the year, but both brands found themselves facing the unique challenge of having marketing dollars set aside to spend on events and suddenly nowhere for it to go in 2020. GoPro pivoted to #HomePro — social media-based sweepstakes challenging consumers to find adventure in their own homes and submitting their most creative at-home adventure video or photo for a chance to win free gear, discount codes, and other prizes. Chase kicked off the U.S. Open tennis tournament with Chase Sound Check, a live virtual concert with performances by Khalid, Kane Brown, and Chloe x Halle and hosted by Serena Williams. Additionally, Chase launched the #UnlocktheOpen Twitter sweepstakes where the brand is delivering more than 8,000 free boxes of branded swag and treats from local bakeries to consumers who participate. Both campaigns have been a success with thousands of submissions from all over the globe proving that with a little creativity and new messaging, brands can still connect with fans from a distance. 

Whole New Ball Game

Of course, everyone is missing the thrill of in-venue sports and with football season upon us, this fall just won’t feel the same without time-honored traditions like The Bud Light x Broncos tailgating and stadium experience. But even with all this change, those of us in the business of building creative experiences are finding ways to stay connected and keep the relationship between sports and experiential marketing alive, even if it’s from a tv screen rather than a stadium seat. Agencies, brand sponsors, and technology developers have taken the change in stride and aren’t viewing it as an obstacle to overcome, but an opportunity for experimenting with creative solutions and emerging tech. By weaving together digital and live experiences into hybrid events, brands are pioneering new solutions to reimagine the fan experience and even bring a little bit of much needed normal to our lives. 

Meet Our Intern – Katie Guy

Get to know our incredible Fall 2020 intern:

  1. Name: Katie Guy

School:  University of Texas at Austin

Hometown: Baytown, Texas

  1. Why did you want to intern at The Pineapple Agency?

Through Experiential Marketing, The Pineapple Agency has created spaces for human connection and immersive experience to intersect. The Pineapple Agency has been doing great work to enhance our digital and physical spaces through fostering meaningful relationships and I wanted to learn from an agency that has produced content and events that enrich people’s lives.

I am extremely thrilled to have this opportunity and am looking forward to a great semester!

  1. How do you stay focused working from home?

It has for sure been an adjustment! I try to find different spaces around my house to change up the scenery and create a schedule that carves out time to work and rest. I don’t even know if blue light glasses actually work but I have been using them!!

  1. What are your hobbies outside of work?
  • Watching movies has to be one of my favorite things to do in my free time.
  • I also love spending quality time with my good friends and roommates. We have been going on many walks to new places and experiencing the city a little differently during this time. 
  1. What is on your Colorado bucket list?

My Colorado bucket list may seem pretty basic to most Coloradans, but here it is!!

  • Attend a concert at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
  • Drink a coffee from a coffee shop with a snowy view 
  • Wander around Rocky Mountain National Park 
  • Make it past ski school and the bunny slopes 
  1. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
  • The best days begin when you wake up, make your bed, and go for a walk outdoors. 
  • When it comes to creative work: The art of storytelling is the greatest experience shaper that we have ever known. Technology is a storytelling tool that changes with the experience.
  1. What is your favorite festival you’ve been to, and one that you really want to go to?

My favorite festival I’ve been to is ACL (Austin City Limits) and one that I would really like to attend would be Lollapalooza in Chicago!

The Pineapple Agency Earns Spot on 2020 It List Recognizing Top 100 Event Agencies

DENVER – Out of hundreds of applicants, The Pineapple Agency made its debut appearance on the much-anticipated Event Marketer’s It List recognizing the top 100 agencies in the event and experiential industries. The agency was featured among long-time experiential marketing heavyweights as well as first-timers and diverse-and woman-owned shops. The Pineapple Agency attributes this milestone to its compelling run of success in 2019 during which the company saw a 150% increase in revenue growth by adding Michelin and Rivian to their roster of powerhouse clients highlighted by Anheuser-Busch. The agency’s work producing a fully integrated experiential marketing activation for Michelin Tires at Daytona Bike Week turned plenty of heads and proved the agency as one to watch. The Denver-based team plans on building on that momentum into 2021, even amongst a changing event landscape.

Bud Light x Broncos 2019 Stadium Activations

“Our belief is that experiential marketing has seen exponential growth over the past several years for a very important reason: humans crave live experiences,” The Pineapple Agency Founder and CEO, Justin Moss said, “We believe that deploying a hybrid model combining live and virtual tactics is the key to moving forward in addition to engaging consumers both at live events and in their homes.” 

Rivian x Honnold Foundation Pre-Order Event & Livestream

Founded in 2008, The Event Marketer Top 100-It List has become a coveted marker of achievement for those in the experiential industry and acts as a valued third-party content source for prospective new partners. This year’s winners earned their places by proving themselves to be agile, adaptable agencies able to effectively pivot strategies and produce strong, integrated marketing campaigns and events. The list reflects the agencies who are leading the charge on recognizing the changing needs of the brands they serve and depend on new-thinking agencies to lead them through this evolving marketing climate. 

About The Pineapple Agency

The Pineapple Agency is an experiential marketing agency that works with brands and other agencies to bring out-of-the-box creative ideas to life through PR stunts, pop-ups, mobile tours, technology, events, festivals, trade show booths and more. Founded in 2014 by creative visionary and veteran festival producer, Justin Moss, The Pineapple Agency is a one-stop-shop for creative and strategic brand activations. Using bold strategies, the agency works with brands to boost awareness while earning the metrics and insights needed to elevate business.

For more information, visit thepineappleagency.com or contact hello@thepineappleagency.com.

Part I: Take the Time to Think Through Art Direction

Published by O Hello Media

Photo credit: Ohellomedia.com

Brands we see rising to the top are those who engage their audience through an integrated marketing plan wherein all layers of marketing work in unity to achieve the same goal. As soundly engineered as “the catapult” ball retriever from The Sandlot; each part of the system plays a key role in moving the needle (or in this case, the ball).

Brands we see rising to the top are those who engage their audience through an integrated marketing plan wherein all layers of marketing work in unity to achieve the same goal.

The appropriate order of operations

BEFORE ANY MACHINE CAN OPERATE, HOWEVER, IT MUST BE BUILT; AND BEFORE IT GETS BUILT, IT MUST BE DESIGNED BASED ON A SET OF GUIDELINES SO IT CAN FUNCTION PROPERLY.

There is a purposeful order of operations in place to achieve the results you’re looking for, and so just as the marketing machine must begin with a set of guidelines, so too must we apply the same strategy to photography & videography coverage for your brand activation. 

Photo credit: Ohellomedia.com

Cue the shot list, right? WRONG. In comes the proverbial BEAST (yes, another Sandlot reference) to snatch up that baseball because one key element was missing for success:

ART DIRECTION.

A shot list can not be developed before the guidelines are in place, which is exactly the purpose art direction serves. These guidelines are the most valuable when they are clear, intentional, aligned and strategic. To help you think through how to begin this process, we’ve outlined some thought starters and considerations for what exactly art direction means and looks like as it pertains to photography & videography for your brand activation:

Photo credit: Ohellomedia.com

Tips for developing art direction

1. Review your brand standards

What does your brand look like visually? We’re not talking about your brand colors or fonts, but more so how does your brand translate into an image? Is it vibrant? Warm and approachable? Electric and bright? If you were to describe your brand as a person, what would he or she look like? What kind of facial expressions does he or she convey? These are questions you want to be thinking through as you define what the content from your event will look like so that it aligns accordingly and therefore appeals to your target audience to draw them in.

If you were to describe your brand as a person what would he or she look like?

Photo credit: Ohellomedia.com

2. Think through environmental considerations

You have put a lot of thought into the design of your experiential activation but in many cases, the physical setting and/or location is a byproduct of other factors such as foot traffic or involvement as a sponsor of a larger event. Those environmental factors have a huge impact on the final content. Make sure you’re looking at the lighting conditions, such as natural vs. artificial light as well as the time of day for the shoot. Guide your content creator on the best camera settings and supplemental equipment to achieve the lighting conditions that will ultimately produce content that aligns with your brand standards.

Photo credit: Ohellomedia.com

3. Identify the story you want to tell through the images or footage captured

Our team at O Hello Media takes an editorial approach to content capture, as this enables us to truly tell an authentic story of the consumer experience at your brand activation. Perhaps, however, it makes more sense for your brand to create more ‘influencer’ style shots that are posed, curated and hyper stylized. Think through how you want your photographer or videographer to approach their capture and interaction with your attendees, as each form of documentation will tell the story in a different perspective.

Photo credit: Ohellomedia.com

4. Assess the content you already have

This could be the only activation as a part of your campaign, or it could be one in a series of many. In either case, take a look at the content you already have to maximize the final product output produced by your photographer or videographer. For example, if you already a great library of hyper-stylized images featuring consumers sampling your beverage product, perhaps this shoot should focus on more organic content of consumers reacting to your product.

The end result

As an experiential marketer, you know that your cog in the machine is the emotional trigger. You create opportunities for your on-site audience to feel a deep-rooted connection to you as the brand. The photographer or videographer then must rise to the challenge and ensure the real emotion experienced on site translates into imagery or footage. 

Using all of the factors outlined above, well defined art direction will allow for the purposeful, strategic and brand-focused attention to detail you put into the physical experience to carry through to the content produced.

Meet Our Intern – Paige McLaughlin

Get to know our amazing Summer 2020 intern:

  1. Name: Paige McLaughlin

School: University of Denver

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

  1. Why did you want to intern at The Pineapple Agency?

I wanted to be a part of creating those special human connections at festivals that I have found to be so valuable over the past years. 

  1. What are your typical day-to-day tasks for Pineapple and how do you stay focused working from home?

Thus far, my main tasks have involved organizing customer leads, brainstorming ideas for social media content, and researching future festival opportunities. I work most efficiently when I change the location of where I am working in my house a couple of times a day. Coffee and LOTS of Matcha tea are absolutely necessary for good energy!

  1. What are your hobbies outside of work?
  • Cooking and trying out new restaurants around Denver (HUGE foodie!)
  • Skiing
  • Exploring the world of music and going to lots of concerts
  1. What is on your Colorado bucket list?

I would love to do an overnight white water rafting trip at some point! Skiing is one of my favorite Colorado activities but I would love to attempt snowboarding one day as well.    

  1. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When it comes to developing creative work: “Always start at the end with the story you want to tell” 

  1. What is your favorite festival you’ve been to?

 Chipotle Cultivate Music Festival 2014 (Minneapolis, MN)

Festival Fridays: Industry Leader Spotlight

Industry Leader Spotlight: An inside look at the minds behind the most extraordinary festivals around the world.

  1. How did you get your start in the music festival industry?

Being hired on to help with operational guidance and then being put in charge of vendors on site, a new initiative.

  1. What advice would you give to someone trying to get their start in the industry? 

Do not have an ego, be energetic, willing to help, and most of all…persistent

  1. Who’s your favorite artist you’ve worked with?

Z-Trip

  1. Favorite performance you’ve watched?

 Simfonik EDC 2019

  1. Who is on repeat for you right now?

Lo-Fi beats

  1. Festival or concert accessory you can’t live without? 1. As a crew member 2. As an attendee 

1. Redbull

2. Water

  1. Besides the music, what is the most interesting offering you’ve seen at festivals (i.e. yoga, talks, DJ lessons)?

Art (Pixel Forest)

Photo credit: www.dancemusicnw.com
  1. Biggest failure/lesson you’ve learned?

 Submit advances on time or early

  1. What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of this industry? 

 Reopening and culture cross-pollination

sonos brilliant sound experience

4 Experiential Campaigns That Killed It Without Using Facebook Ads

sonos brilliant sound experience
Photo credit: design-milk.com

One of the biggest challenges that marketers face is deciding where to allocate their budget. We’ve seen global brands like Patagonia, REI, and Adidas pledge to join the #StopHateForProfit campaign against Facebook and pause all ads and ad spend on the platform in July. 

With brands pledging to #SHFP, retail on its way back up after the pandemic, and brand authenticity more important than ever, now is an opportune time for brands to utilize experiential marketing. We put together a list of four notable experiential campaigns that yielded impressive results without ever using Facebook ads. 

#1 The Under Armour Drone Drop

Agency: The Pineapple Agency

It’s 2018 and Under Armour and Steph Curry need an exciting way to deliver the new Curry 4 sneakers to an already saturated market. On a windy day in San Francisco, 10 drones were launched off of yachts, each carrying a pair of Curry 4 shoes. Fans used an app to uncover hidden drop zones that were located throughout San Francisco. They arrived at the drop zones to place their sneaker orders on iPads and within minutes the drones dropped the sneakers directly to fans. 

This campaign went viral, earning 16M social media impressions, 119M media impressions, 25k leads captured, and Gold at the annual EX Awards for “Leap of Faith.” It delighted fans and had the ultimate “cool” factor without spending a nickel on Facebook ads. 

Smart Marketer Takeaway: 

The right brand, idea, and experiential agency can partner to generate noteworthy results without using paid media. That’s the value of creating an experience. You’re not only looking at viral video views and quantitative returns, but you get key insights on consumer behavior in real-time. 

Photo credit: design-milk.com

#2 Sonos’ Brilliant Sound Experience

Agency: Anyways

Sonos partnered with Google Assistant to show that their products went beyond sound, and that music is a multi-sensory experience. Sonos launched a three-day experience with interactive installations in NYC that focused on sound, music, and light. The “Physics Room” utilized hundreds of strands of individual lights to demonstrate the unique experience of every performance. “The Structure of a Song Room,” featured sculptures with hidden stems in each. As viewers explored the space, they would hear different strains of the song based on the sculpture they were near. 

While this could’ve been just another opportunity for participants to get a cool Instagram photo, Sonos went above and beyond to incorporate the latest technology to entertain and educate consumers on the dimensions of sound. The event’s free tickets were sold out before the doors ever opened. More than 3,300 people attended and it attracted a wide range of press from the New York Times to VICE to AdWeek. 

Smart Marketer Takeaway:

Consumers are looking for meaningful, educational, and authentic experiences with brands. Gen Z has more than $140B in spending power in today’s economy and they are attracted to brands that have honest and authentic identities. Lean in to experiential to help tell the truth about your brand and what you care about. As we’ve all seen in 2020 thus far, brand transparency is more important than ever. 

Photo credit: news.yahoo.com

#3 Virgin Galactic Spacewear System Unveiling 

Agency: In-house Virgin and Under Armour teams

Press events are the ultimate opportunity for a brand to utilize experiential marketing tactics, which are the most effective way to ensure people can recall your brand’s story. Virgin Galactic and Under Armour teamed up for a proprietary spacewear apparel line and unveiled the spacesuits inside an indoor skydiving tunnel. The suits were revealed by skydiving world champs performing a dance in the air in the zero-gravity simulator and it was later revealed that Richard Branson was one of the air dancers! 

This event offered attendees a first-of-its-kind fashion show and let them see the commercial spacewear system before the rest of the world. The effort generated more than 2.5 billion impressions without any kind of pre-event promotion or advertising on Facebook. 

Smart Marketer Takeaway:

Influencers (like Richard Branson) should always be considered as a tactic for your experiential strategy. With more people at home researching brands’ responses to the pandemic, influencers have the ability to reach your audience quicker and without boosted promotion. 

Photo credit: nbc25news.com

#4 The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

Agency: McGarryBowen, Olson Engage

Lastly, you can’t talk about the history of experiential marketing without mentioning the OG – the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Over thirty years ago, Oscar Mayer created the Hotdogger program, where recent college graduates apply to be selected to operate a Wienermobile. Since then, it’s gone viral, been offered as an Airbnb stay, and there are thousands of applications for Weinermobiles each year. 

When the Weinermobile launched decades ago, Oscar Mayer relied on experiential marketing in its purest form by using guerilla marketing tactics and emotional connections to drive brand awareness. The brand understood the importance of forging a connection with the public and generating lifetime value over immediate sales ROI. Mark Zuckerberg was three years old when the Hotdogger program launched – needless to say, the students did not find out about the opportunity via Facebook.

Smart Marketer Takeaway: 

Strive to be authentic as a brand, especially in today’s climate. Oscar Mayer is successful because they have never wavered in staying true to who they are and the marketing strategies that work for them. Guerrilla marketing done right is a polished skill and brands should utilize experiential agencies for the right execution. 

If you’re a brand that’s pledged to the #SHFP campaign, have you considered new ways to allocate your marketing funds? Experiential marketing is ripe with opportunity because it can break through the noise, connect with consumers directly, and get your company the insights it needs for future campaigns. With the right experience design, you can be the hero of your brand’s marketing team and execute creative ideas and strategies for your brand in a post-pandemic world. 

Are you looking to build brand awareness, but don’t know where to start? Sign up for a free brainstorm session with Pineapple’s top creative minds. 

3 reasons experiential marketing is a great value for mid-sized brands 

For mid-size brands, experiential marketing is not only possible, it’s a must. Experiential marketing is a growing trend that lets brands bring immersive, interactive experiences to consumers. The experiential marketing campaigns of brands like Frito Lay and Adidas have shown how big brands do it, and this booming marketing trend is possible on a mid-size brand scale with our nimble creative team. Let’s focus on 3 key factors of why experiential marketing is not only necessary but affordable:

Experiential marketing is designed for amplification

Experiential marketing is designed to build an emotional connection between consumers and products through immersive experiences or interactions. Personal interactions create immediate response and feedback. Engaging, memorable experiences also lead to organic social media sharing which greatly increases the value of experiential marketing. Consumers share experiences on social media, but they do not share ads or billboards.

Chipotle just crushed the experiential marketing game by launching its #FlipYourLidChallenge which encouraged users on TikTok to flip their burrito bowl lids using the base of the bowl. The challenge went viral thanks to early engagement from big TikTok stars, and the rest is history. The activation only required a few key video placements and an enticing prize, and participants had to buy a delicious burrito bowl in order to participate. Talk about a win-win!

Creativity drives results

Perhaps the greatest feature of experiential marketing for mid-size brands is that personal experiences cost a fraction of a thirty second Super Bowl commercial and they deliver much higher engagement rates.

When it comes to experiential marketing, event planning and creativity are essential. Mid-size brands have a unique opportunity to engage with their consumers in a personal way by meeting them where they gather. That might be at an event, or it might be on the pages of certain social media personalities.

Be strategic. A smart strategy connects your target audience with your products in an interactive way. Keep it simple and whimsical. Think about the Chipotle challenge. With nothing more than a smartphone camera, a burrito bowl, and some gift card prizes, Chipotle hit a Gen Z grand-slam with over 120,000 TikTok video uploads in the first week of the challenge.

Simple engagement is perfect for mid-size brands to attract target audiences, but it’s important to keep in mind the new ways to measure ROI in the experiential world. Stay focused on the end goal of creating an emotional connection between your brand and consumers. Measure engagement and brand sentiment just as much as clickthrough sales. Build your social audiences and email lists, generate organic social sharing, create brand evangelists–and get good at keeping track of these types of wins. Then the sales numbers will speak for themselves.

You can’t afford NOT to do experiential marketing

These recent statistics highlight the increasing importance of experiential marketing, which is now considered the most successful marketing tactic by industry professionals by a wide margin.

  • 74% of consumers say that engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the promoted products. [8]
  • 67% of consumers bought products straight from consumer experiences.  [11]
  • According to industry professionals, the no. 1 most successful marketing tactic is experiential/events (38.34%). This is followed by digital advertising (19.69%), content marketing (12.44%), partnerships/sponsorships (9.33%), and traditional advertising (7.25%).  [14]
  • 60% of industry professionals said that effectively reaching non-physical attendees (i.e., viewers or audiences watching live streams on social media) is critical to an event’s success.

On the other side of quarantine, people will be hungrier than ever for immersive experiences. And even during quarantine, there are plenty of ways to make a splash with audiences that are eager for good news and entertainment. Let’s create a viral video or deliver joy to frontline workers in a safe, branded atmosphere. You got this, mid-size brand. We believe in you.

5 Tips to Create a Successful Pop-Up Shop

Blog originally published by MVP Visuals

Pop-up shops have been a rising phenomenon for all types of brands for the fun and flexibility they offer.  Brands that are primarily e-commerce can test the experience of a physical retail shop without the long-term commitment; other companies that already have a permanent location can set up a temporary shop at events, or collaborate with local communities or other businesses to expand their reach.

These types of activations are also relatively accessible to brands of all sizes – meaning you don’t need a bottomless budget to make it a hit. Here are some top tips to plan and execute a successful pop-up shop for your brand.

Set Actionable and Measurable Goals

As with any marketing venture for your business, you need to have actionable goals (things you can definitively execute with the resources available to you) and measurable goals (making sure you can assess the effectiveness of your actions after the fact). 

Why do you want to test out a pop-up shop? Are you looking to increase your sales? Push a new product line? Test how your products or services resonate in a certain area? Asking yourself these important questions, and answering them, are the key first steps to planning your pop-up shop.

Location, Location, Location

The next step is, of course, choosing where your brand is going to be popping up. Location is a major factor that can make or break the effectiveness of your pop-up, just like the impact it has on permanent retail shops. The spaces available to you are dependent on your resources, but thanks to the swell in popularity with these types of activations, you can get pretty creative with your choice of venue. Some types of trendy spaces for pop-up shops include:

  • Empty storefronts. Scouting out your desired location, and you see an empty store? Vacant of long-term tenants, these spaces are perfect to set up camp for a weekend or however long you’re looking to host your pop-up shop. Connect with a local real estate agent to help you negotiate a deal on a short-term rental of a business space.
  • Inside of other stores. Sometimes referred to as “pop-ins,” this is when you coordinate with a complementary business to hold a pop-up shop inside of their store. It may be tricky to set up an initial relationship, but this can go a long way in getting you prospective customers if you’re partnered with shops they already trust and frequent. It can also be fun and mutually beneficial to build a network of support with other businesses in your community.
  • Trailers/mobile structures. These are becoming increasingly popular for brand “tours” if you want to have a more flexible way of setting up shop throughout multiple locations. Look around for companies that offer turnkey solutions for these types of structures to make it ultra-accessible for almost anyone to transport and set-up a mobile pop-up shop.

Build the Hype

You’re putting in the work to plan the logistics of your pop-up shop and what you hope to get out of it – but you need to make sure people are going to show up! Your marketing strategy is just as critical as setting the perfect location. This is where you may want some help from the pros at experiential marketing agencies to maximize your return on investment. Some critical points of a pre-marketing strategy for your pop-up shop could involve:

  • Targeted social media advertisements. Leverage platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote your upcoming shop to users in the area where you’ll be. These social tools let you tailor your desired audience by several demographics, like age, gender, and geographic location, so you can push directly to those that will be most likely to engage with your brand.
  • Partner with social media influencers. Do you have people you consider to be “brand loyalists” in your arsenal already, or a certain social media presence who has a large following and may be interested in your brand? Reach out to them! You can set up a swap of free product for publicity, or whatever is best for you, but word-of-mouth marketing is mega-powerful on social media. 
  • Connect with local media. Local media outlets are always seeking events or topics to cover, so reach out to them a month or so in advance of your pop-up shop so they can help generate buzz in the community. 
  • Leverage existing customer relationships. If you have existing lists of email newsletter subscribers or social media followers for your brand, don’t forget to make them aware of your upcoming shop, just like you would with any other special promotion. Even though social media for businesses is becoming increasingly “pay-to-play” to garner new growth, organic content still has its impact! For emails, depending on what service provider you use and how much data you gather about your subscribers, you can even segment your audience to send an email campaign to customers closer to where your pop-up shop will be.

Prioritize Customer Experience

CX, short for customer experience, isn’t just a fancy acronym or buzzword. It’s a major driving force behind the success of your marketing endeavors. You want to sell your product and make money, but it’s been said time and time again – customers don’t buy a product, they buy an experience they get with a brand. Creating an experience for your customers is the crux of a pop-up shop’s ultimate results! Some primary focuses to enhance your shop’s customer experience can be:

  • Offering amenities and entertainment like free Wi-Fi, refreshments, interactive games and contests, and a DJ or independent musician.
  • Utilizing interactive stations like a life-size inflatable replica of your product or logo for a fun photo-op spot – group selfies encouraged!
  • Free gifts for each purchase like a sticker or tote bag; something low-cost to you, but that will add that fun little extra “thank you” customers will remember.
  • Ensuring adequate staffing levels to make sure checkout remains smooth and speedy, help is readily available, and encouraging your staff to just interact with your customers and have real conversations. People appreciate it when a brand feels human.

Not to mention, engaging with your customers in real-time is priceless to gather qualitative feedback – what people like, what they don’t, and the overall impression that they’re getting from your shop and brand as a whole.

All in all, pop-up shops are definitely no minor undertaking, but they can make major positive impacts on your brand success. Now more than ever, consumers crave standout experiences from the brands they’re considering putting money into – make sure you’re ready to give that to them.

About MVP Visuals

MVP Visuals helps brands increase their return on investment for event activations with beautiful, custom displays.