By using pop-up stores, PR pros can turn an empty space into an innovative extension of a brand. Despite the popularity of the tactic - several well-received pop-ups have occurred in major cities such as New York, LA, and Miami - this technique is still an effective way to reach a new audience, as long as that store has unique aspects.
Claudine Gumbel, partner at ThinkPR, has helped to create pop-up stores for companies like Levi's and Fila, as well as the "Let's Talk Colorado" tourism campaign. Companies have to be creative with brands and experiences to make pop-up stores stand out, she says.
"Having an experience built into the space is really important, and that experience can differentiate it from other pop-ups or stores," she says. "There has to be an innovative factor; you can't just do a pop-up store anymore. You need to build something in addition to it, whether it's an experience or [selling] something very exclusive."
Eco-friendly cleaning product company Method recently opened a pop-up store in New York, and encouraged shoppers to exchange rival cleaning products for Method items. At a Mulberry pop-up store that opened Memorial Day weekend in the Hamptons, the fashion company sold products that were not available elsewhere in the US. After hosting several pop-up stores in London, Mulberry realized it could have a little more fun with the brand.
"It was good opportunity to use that blank canvas and have a product there that can speak for itself," says Sarah Geary, PR director of Mulberry USA. "Within the pop-up store you can have a little more freedom. You can be a little more playful."
Pop-up stores can be effective, but innovation and creativity is key
Stores can bring the personal experience associated with a brand to life
A "blank canvas" allows PR professionals more creativity with a pop-up store