We are often asked by brands, “what do you think of collaborating with other brands for a pop-up?” Off the cuff we say it’s great and there are many benefits, but before going down the collaboration path there are a few key questions every merchant should ask themselves.
First let’s start with the benefits! As a group, you can share the costs, pool efforts on acquiring fixtures to help merchandise the space, split responsibilities of store hours, and co-market the pop-up experience. Sounds like a win-win right? It can be. However, in order for the preceding benefits to come to fruition a methodical approach must be taken.
How to tackle sharing of costs: the benefit is pretty straight forward and there is little downside here. Factors of consideration before joining forces on a budget is first deciding the dynamic of the group. For example, is one brand the headliner and the others highlights of the pop-up or are all brands equal parts of the story? Which brand is signing the lease and is everyone getting their own liability insurance, which we always recommend.
This leads us to our main, key question, who should your brand align with to create a truely branded experience that is going to elevate your message and amplify your reach to the right audience? In order to produce a successful pop-up shop that serves the purpose of building brand awareness and ultimately results in notable sales, a merchant needs to ensure all aspects of the shop serves the purpose of reaching their target customer with messaging, merchandising and the overall consistent experience. Before gravitating to partners that can just help pay the rent, search for strategic alliances with brands that have a product that sits in a similar price point range and targets customers with similar values, yet doesn’t compete with a customer’s wallet share for what you are offering. For example, a luxury scarf brand (as featured above) sits well with Italian leather handbags and an eyeglass brand; or a bike shop goes well with a coffee (as featured below) and backpack brand. Both create a complete offering and deliver an in-store lifestyle experience, but a customer isn’t necessarily choosing to by one category over the other.
Once you have assembled your pop-up entourage, it’s then time to tackle a general checklist of shared responsibilities beyond costs, and best practices to consider to be sure goals are aligned:
- Fixtures: what aesthetic serves the purpose of the overall branded message? what lifestyle elements (books, art, etc) can you incorporate into the space?
- Staffing: if you are sharing store hour responsibilities, be sure all parties involved not only know pricing but understand and can share each other’s story, design process, key selling points, and unique factors to customers.
- Co-Marketing: create a calendar of events where each brand has a spotlight night outside of the opening reception and prepare a cheat sheet document for all parties to use throughout the duration of the pop-up shop ensuring the overall messaging is consistent via newsletter marketing, social media channels and press outreach.
The outcome of collaboration can be powerful, but only if the customer is receiving a clear and cohesive message from the pop-up experience.
(Images courtesy of Payal Luthra Pop-Up Shop and Bidon Coffee & Bicycle Pop-Up)