This article was originally written for, and appeared in, Fashion’s Collective (www.fashionscollective.com)
The conceptual model of pop-up retail is certainly not a new strategy in the brand and product marketing playbook. Pop-up stores have been effectively employed by a number of the world’s most recognizable brands. Most often they are used to introduce new product, gauge consumer interests, and enhance exposure through cleverly placed, transitory concept venues that are designed to generate buzz by creating an out of the ordinary brand experience.
By nature both experiential and ephemeral, the pop-up concept forces a greater degree of interactivity and imaginative engagement between brand and consumer because the timetable to create memorable impressions is accelerated. The consumer desire to experience a pop-up venue is fueled by time sensitivity and exclusive access to the brand. Customers want the opportunity to experience a unique orchestration of art and commerce available to a limited few, given time and space restrictions.
For these orchestrations to be staged and performed symphonically, however, brands must invest extensive economic and operational resources in these intentionally limited interval sprints designed to generate excitement among a limited consumer base able to experience them. The persistent question among brand marketers continues to be how to most effectively scale an innovative pop-up strategy to achieve maximum exposure impact. Enter the mobile medium, and the introduction of a new, complimentary approach to pop-up experiential marketing.
The essence of the pop-up experience is time sensitivity, location and exclusivity. Much the same is true when speaking of the differentiated elements of the mobile medium. The mobile medium is location aware, dialed-in to time, intensely personal, action-oriented, and integrated into the social DNA of the digital native consumer. As such, the medium conveys a unique value proposition to experiential brand marketing – offering a transitive platform for a more scalable and consistent pop-up retail delivery infrastructure.
The end goal for any mobile optimized pop-up engagement campaign can vary. From driving store traffic to providing game clues through QR code scans to an invitation-only event, or from delivering limited availability product and promotional offers to showcase exclusive branded production content. The true value is in the platform that couriers the message and ensures a more cost effective and consistent series of consumer encounters with the brand. These campaigns effectually serve as component extensions of a comprehensive experiential pop-up marketing strategy.
To intelligently integrate mobile for this highly scalable model, considerations must be given to the aspects of the medium that make it unique. Whereas the physical pop-up experience is spatially focused – with considerations concentrated primarily on location, staging, atmosphere, and exhibition – the success of pop-up mobile encounters is predicated on creating actionable mobile moments that adhere to the following fundamental premises:
The Mobile Consumer is a Moving Target
The mobile medium is constantly connected and often in motion. As such, it represents the ideal events-driven medium for engaging consumers in a pop-up fashion. Effective mobile events, when properly orchestrated, consist of actionable, properly sequenced occurrences and provide an instantaneous portal into the brand encounter. This ability to effectively market in the moment bridges communication lag, with precision aim focused at the moving target.
The Mobile Medium is Transitive
Mobile provides a consistent interface for customers to assist in the navigation of an ever-evolving ecosystem of digital consumer touchpoints. The transitive functions of the mobile medium provide the continuous messaging and engagement capabilities necessary to deliver a pop-up marketing model. This model ensures a balanced, timely, and relevant encounter with the brand, providing heightened degrees of interaction.
The Mobile Medium is Contextually Aware
Location and time recognition capabilities specific to the medium allow savvy pop-up mobile marketers to engage consumers in a contextually relevant manner. The effectiveness of any pop-up mobile marketing campaign is predicated on being relevant. Communicating branded messaging with an understanding of time and space creates interaction momentum and encourages consumer engagement.
Pop-up retail marketing is fundamentally designed to provide a metaphysical outlet for brands to see beyond the boundaries of their own brick and mortar and provide experiences for consumers that excite, entertain, and illustrate the innovation of the brand. The mobile medium is uniquely equipped to provide that same level of intrigue, based on an understanding of the context through which a consumer engages in brand encounters. The imaginations of marketers are free to guide consumers along a collaborative journey and create truly engaging, consistent, and scalable experiences that build intimacy and loyalty, while highlighting the creative vision and innovative nature of the brand.