I was recently reading in AdWeek about several e-tailers that created pop up stores to extend their brand to the real world instead of just being online. It’s a trend for people to crave physical tangible environments in our increasingly digital world. Even just for a moment. Humans need to touch and feel, especially to get a real sense of a brand value proposition. So even exclusively digital properties can benefit from venturing out into the real world so that consumers experience their offerings and make a deeper brand emotional connection. Let’s put it this way, if physical environments aren’t important then why is Amazon making a play into them?

Environments Also Need to Engage

Offering a physical tangible environment is often a win in its own right – just so people can touch and feel and experience the brand outside of the digital world. But brands can’t just recreate their retail environment in real life or it ends up being lackluster. Brands need to offer people something more than just the products available through their digital channels. The environment needs to engage customers in a way that makes it worthwhile for them to visit. For example, Glossier, an online beauty destination, launched with an entirely Instagrammable space allowing consumers to capture their true selves in locations, such as Arizona’s Antelope Canyon, while browsing products.

Partnerships are one way to enhance the physical brand experience.

At Allbirds pop-up, the footwear company did a recent brand collaboration with Shake Shack, which included limited edition cobranded sneakers and a shake created especially for the occasion. These types of ‘collabs’ create a 360-degree experience that is memorable and gives consumers a strong take away that transcends a simple recreation of the existing brand presence. It’s also a win-win for both brands involved. The co-branding partner  gets exposure to a new potential customer. It offers value to the pop-up and is a draw for consumers. The two can swap lists, conduct joint promotions and extend their reach to a new audience.

A Bridge to More Meaningful Connections

The real world isn’t going away even though we live digitally. Providing consumers with a bridge between the two can be beneficial and create longer lasting connections. Especially if they are engaging and add value to one’s lifestyle. If you accomplish this, consumers are more likely to remember your destination the next time they turn on their computer.

My agency Regatta has helped many clients create engaging and profitable collaboration. If any of this resonates as relevant for your brand too, feel free to reach out.