Even before COVID-19 entered our lives, pop-ups and temporary activations had found their way into the toolkit of brands looking to connect with their customers. Brands use these to test new products, encourage engagement, promote customer loyalty, increase awareness and, ultimately, to let their customers experience their brand, not just see it. Terry Roy from MNR Constructions believes retail’s transition from bricks-and-mortar to online is now making its next move into physical connections and experiences.
It’s been widely documented that as the restrictions of this pandemic begin to ease in Australia, the retail industry will be forced to adapt to a new way of marketing to the consumer. Previously, both big name brands and small businesses had used pop-ups and brand activations to connect with their customers quite successfully. Now, as the world craves human connection and interactive experiences, these avenues to market are more important than ever.
As many retail stores have closed during the past 12 months and redesigned how they sell by moving online, a large piece of the customer journey has now disappeared. This is the touch, the atmosphere and the connection to a brand that people feel when a brand brings customers into their world.
It’s all about the experience. Brands seeking to connect with their customers and engage them in memorable experiences will be leading the new retail movement.
Traditionally, pop-ups and activations would have been found in communal areas of shopping centres, markets, festivals and other public spaces. These past couple of years, governments and local councils have promoted this concept strongly. In addition, venues and spaces for hire are providing even more locations for brands to reach their customers. The latest opportunity that has presented itself is the use of vacant retail space within shopping centres. These spaces are the perfect solution for creating fast, cost effective and fully customisable customer experiences.
From concept to reality
So once a brand or marketing agency has created a concept and strategy, what are the next steps that need to be taken to make this happen? How do they bring their concept to life?
MNR Constructions is working with brands, agencies and shopping centres to give their customers experiences to remember. In a market that was previously dominated by cosmetics, jewellery and food stations, the pop-up scene is now being adopted by home builders, the education sector, augmented reality, entrepreneurs as well as small businesses. The list goes on as the possibilities are endless. They have a strategy and a concept and now they need the support to make their vision a reality.
During the initial meeting with brands and agencies, the team at MNR Constructions gains an understanding of the campaign goals. From here, we can work through the initial concept to figure out how to bring it to life. Some of the most important considerations are how it will fit within the space, the direction and flow of foot traffic, what the highlight moments for customers are and how the pop-up/activation will operate. All of these elements have an impact on how a space needs to be designed. The branding and theming of the space to suit the colour palette, look and feel is crucial to get right. Then the magic can begin.
MNR works internally to design construction methods and select materials to best suit the campaign’s requirements.
The main goal of a pop-up/brand activation builder should be to pre-fabricate as much of the build as possible off-site, to minimise the on-site installation time.
One of the great advantages of pop-ups is how quick they are to install and remove. Brands want to maximise the amount of time they’re live during the booking or shop lease, so the goal is always to install the pop-up in one night. This means that brands can avoid ‘dead time’ and the need to put hoarding around their area while it is under construction.
When it comes to the installation process, MNR works closely with the venue and shopping centre managers to ensure the smoothest possible access, delivery and setup. When it comes to quick installations, it’s extremely important to minimise or eliminate any possible delays. Once the fit-out is complete and a final clean has been done, the space is then handed back to the brand or agency to launch their campaign. On the completion of the campaign, the build team returns to clear the space to return it back to its original state. But it’s not over just yet…
A sustainable approach
One of the biggest challenges in the pop-up industry is the issue of sustainability. This can be tackled from a few different angles. One option is to create pop-ups and activations from recycled materials. A great example is Modibodi’s pop-up, which was created 100% from up-cycled and biodegradable materials.
In an ideal world, it would be great to make everything out of recycled materials, however, it’s completely understandable that some brands require unique high-spec finishes, so using recycled materials isn’t always possible.
To try and minimise waste, MNR Constructions donates timber off-cuts to schools and the Australian Men’s Shed Association, who use the donations for community projects. Excess paint is also donated to school art and drama programs to support their learning and to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill. Other common materials used in these projects are steel and aluminium, which can also be melted down and recycled.
MNR Constructions recently worked with Your Studio to create the Pandora Hive. This was largely made from stainless steel and was melted down after the campaign ended. The project was a huge success for Pandora, creating an amazing experience for its customers. People were brought into a fully enclosed hive that stimulated all five senses (sight, smell, sound, touch and taste), bringing their customers into a whole new world. Made predominantly from stainless steel, the hive was able to be melted down and recycled after the campaign.
Campaigns that focus on physical connections and experiences will have a huge role to play in the retail landscape moving forward and MNR Constructions is supporting brands to bring these experiences to market. Our vision is to push pop-ups and activations to the next level and give customers an experience to remember.
For more information about how MNR Constructions can help you, visit www.mnrconstructions.com.au