A few things to consider when designing a retail pop up experience or brand activation.

Small ‘one-off’ activations are now big business for brands. Pop ups, as they’re commonly known, are opening in an ever wider variety of spaces with many different purposes. Maybe it’s to launch a new product range, or to communicate the values and ethics of a brand. Sometimes they’re simply a way for online businesses or non-retail companies to test out the world of physical retail without the long term commitments of a permanent shop.

A successful brand pop up will combine a great location with a creative concept which will result in a memorable experience for both consumer and brand.

Things to consider when designing a pop up space:

To achieve success in a temporary platform such as a retail pop up or outdoor brand activation, the first thing to consider is consider what the experience will be like from your visitors’ perspective. What does the path from onlooker to customer look like for them?

Look at the whole experiential journey from their initial contact – to attraction – to engagement – to purchase. Focus on each step of the journey and make sure there is definite and obvious direction as to which path should be taken next. It should be instinctive for your visitors. Consider both the metaphorical journey from their first learning of your brand to becoming a customer, and the actual physical movement through your space. Make it as easy as possible.

In order to make things easy for your customers, you’ll need to be absolutely defined in what the goals for your brand are. There are several valid reasons for investing your marketing dollars in a brand pop up:

  • Releasing a new brand
  • Selling a specific product
  • General brand awareness
  • Marketing and consumer feedback
  • Expanding your customer mailing list

Whatever the reason, it must be the sole focus of the complete space over the entire time of the installation. These activations are often limited to a short time …maybe even just a few hours in one day. It’s tempting to try and cram as much as you can to try and make the most of it. However, you will only dilute your key message if you stray from the purpose of the activation.

As a business owner or key player in your brand marketing, you may have many skills. However, that doesn’t necessarily make you the best person for the job of being first contact with your customers. A lot of the success of your pop  up space will rely on the people you employ to man it. One of the main aspects of the job of manning a brand pop up is the ability to relate well. You need staff who know how to listen to the customer and can make them feel they have ‘come to the right place’.

These are not necessarily easy or natural attributes for everyone. It may not fit with the personality of your existing specialist or expert in house. So, by all means have your experts on stand-by for any tricky technical questions, but employ someone who exudes confidence and affability as your first contact person.

All in all, temporary pop up spaces are a great way to get your products and brand in front of new customers. They’re a minimal investment strategy to create new sales, boost brand awareness, and get valuable feedback directly from your customers.