Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pop-Up Shops Are Mainstream Marketing

Pop-up shops are no longer a passing trend--they're a mainstream marketing method used by brands, businesses, and even government groups to achieve one or more of these objectives:
  • Increase brand or product awareness
  • Introduce or test a new brand or product or line
  • Reinforce brand image associations
  • Reach new markets or segments
  • Communicate brand benefits
  • Provide a tangible, tactile brand or product experience
With the exception of seasonal retailing, such as stores selling Halloween costumes or Christmas products, pop-up shops are not necessarily aiming to make sales. Instead, communication and branding objectives usually take priority, even when revenue is involved.

For example, Kraft in Canada has planned a series of pop-up shops to reinforce the emotional connection between customers, Kraft dinner products, and fun family times. For three days, Kraft will operate pop-up shops in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, bringing the "fun" aspect of the brand to life. "It’s not enough to tell consumers to go out and have some fun," explains the brand director of Kraft Dinner. "We also want to create experiences that enable them to do so."

When the owners of Parlor Blow Dry Bar wanted to launch their new business in the Raleigh, North Carolina market, they began with a pop-up shop in a high-traffic area. "A pop-up is not something for financial gain," says one of the owners. "It’s a great way to introduce a concept and get to know people." Now the owners have a better idea of which customers prefer which services, an invaluable element in crafting marketing strategy for the new business.

The Canadian government has even used the pop-up shop concept to open a temporary office in Pittsburgh promoting trade between Pennsylvania and Canada. The space was called "Pop-Up Canada!" and remained open for four days, inviting local businesses to learn more about trade, energy, and investment. The opening featured, naturally, a hockey face-off, and the Stanley Cup made an appearance. The point was to highlight close economic ties between Canada (Canada as a brand) and U.S. businesses and of course to encourage more trade.

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