As the lives of consumers become increasingly more saturated by various forms of media, companies are turning to their PR agencies to help them implant their brand image in consumers' minds in a lasting way.
One popular method is the pop-up store, which is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in lower Manhattan and the more stylish parts of LA. Some are just short-term stores that sell products (often limited editions); others take more creative approaches, billing themselves as a destination for plugged-in influencers and focusing on giving people a full-body experience of a brand's message.
New York-based boutique Lime PR has handled several pop-up stores for clients like Song (now merged into Delta), Sharp, and Motorola. Song, one of its earliest efforts, was a challenge.
"The idea behind it was that, to launch a new airline, people would not go out to the airports and go try it out," says Lime partner James Anstey. "We had to bring that unique experience behind Song to people on the streets."
That store tried to replicate the experience of flying six miles high while sitting in a SoHo lounge. More than 30,000 folks attended.
"This is a great way for people to directly experience what the brand is about," Anstey adds. "There are so many messages bombarding us. You can actually just demonstrate [the brand] for people, give it to them in a really entertaining and clever way."
Now that pop-up stores have become an accepted tactic, some firms are altering their approaches. Think PR, which has been setting up the stores for more than six years, has recently introduced several variations on the theme, including "mobile" stores that move around to different locations and "pop-up kiosks" that are based in shopping malls.
Still, pop ups remain a targeted strategy. "You don't get as many impressions" as a traditional media campaign, notes Think PR partner Claudine Gumbel. "But you get more time with the people you're targeting."
Pop ups are now an accepted way to reach a young, influential audience
Variations like mobile stores can provide a fresh twist on the tactic
Pop ups are good for cutting through media clutter