How to Make the Work-Anywhere Model Work

A new norm brings new challenges.

Hybrid workplaces are becoming the new norm, and while the structure provides flexibility and balance for team members, it also presents some new challenges for productivity and workflows.

Consider the WHAT, WHERE and WHEN of your work.

To help maximize productivity in the various workspaces the model allows for, communication and planning are crucial to success. Teams should consider WHAT work is happening, WHERE the work is happening, and if a workforce is spread across multiple time zones, WHEN the work is happening. All are equally important factors in the equation.

When teams are working in an office, think about prioritizing relationship-building, collaborative work (like brainstorming), and workshops. Days spent offsite can focus on independent, routine tasks like emails, research, and heads-down work.

For example, kicking off a new project or brainstorm is a good reason to come together in person. Once the work is laid out and teams know what’s expected, the project can shift to a workflow that can be managed remotely.

Build openness and inclusivity into your model

Having open conversations and continuous feedback loops with teams about these expectations can help ground employees, and provide clear guidelines for independence. This will ultimately free them up to focus on the work, leading to smoother operations and productivity. 

Here are some things to consider when building a hybrid model to make sure it feels inclusive for all types of workers:

Availability: Establish a core set of hours when teams should be available for meetings, and make sure it’s comfortable for all times zones

Training: Develop training and onboarding resources that will work for both in-person and remote employees 

Culture: Plan inclusive cultural activities that allow employees to participate from anywhere and feel like a part of the team

Mentorship and growth: Ensure that all employees have access to the same level of coaching and opportunities

Creativity and collaboration: Cultivate strategies to foster an open dialogue and free-form thinking, even when employees can’t be in the same room

Building Engagement Into Your Content Strategy, Part 2

In part one of this two-part series, we explored ways to build engagement into your content strategy on a tactical level—with actionable tips and best practices to create content that will resonate with your target demographic. 

In part two, we’ll look at how brands can influence people along the customer journey with different types of content. What kind of content works best at the beginning of the journey? What resonates most with someone nearer the end? We can think of our possible approaches in three distinct buckets: conceptual, purposeful, and featureful—each of which makes sense at different phases in the purchase funnel.

Conceptual Stage: Selling an Idea

There are so many brands selling so many “solutions” that it can be completely paralyzing—especially when the consumer doesn’t recognize a problem. And for marketers, it’s tremendously challenging to attract enthusiastic attention in our content-flooded world. When consumers begin the customer journey, they need an idea to convince them to continue down the path. This portion of your content strategy is all about building awareness. 

This content should be highly branded—selling the big idea behind your product or service, as well as the emotion you want your audience to feel. To define what that big idea should be, go back to your vision or mission statement and brainstorm creative ways to demonstrate it. 

This is not the time to sell all of your benefits (more on the danger of that in part one). Instead, think of it as an awareness play at the loftiest level, showing how your brand can improve lives. This is the time to pull on your audience’s desire to be a better version of themselves and live aspirationally. Consider the recent FitBit campaign “What’s Strong With You.” Here, FitBit challenges consumers to find their inner strength, aligning with their mission “to empower and inspire you to live a healthier, more active life.”

At this point in the journey, Fitbit refrains from any mention of products or services; instead, they focus on the big idea of recognizing your own strength to instill a sense of motivation and encouragement with consumers, setting the stage for product marketing later in the consumer journey. This approach allows them to cast a wide awareness net, building their case with consumers as they continue down the purchase funnel.

Purposeful Stage: Answering a Specific Need / Exploiting an Opportunity

As they move along in their journey, consumers should now know about your brand or a solution that your brand provides. They get the big idea. They are inspired and poised to take action. Here, they simply need a little convincing to take a strong step toward purchase. In this case, they might even have entered the customer journey a little further downstream, perhaps from the recommendation of a friend. This portion of your content strategy should be designed with a certain level of specificity to solve a problem, or exploit an opportunity.

However, your content and the message it carries should still include a healthy dose of your brand. With Old Navy’s “Bodequality” campaign, the international clothing retailer promises consumers a fashion revolution in the form of size inclusivity.

Aidy Bryant serves as a spokesperson, offering a brand-forward message that solves a multitude of sizing problems for consumers “because you deserve it.” As an accessible, affordable fashion brand, this campaign ladders up to Old Navy’s mission of “imagining a place where everyone feels like they belong, and all the clothes are made with love”—communicating a critical benefit without offering info about specific products.

If conceptual content is all about awareness, then purposeful content is a unique proposal that invites the customer to become a part of your brand in a more specific way.

Source: Old Navy's BODEQUALITY Initiative

Featureful Stage: Selling Value

Once your content pulls customers in, it’s time to close the deal and keep them in the loyalty loop. At this point in the customer journey, you’ll want to develop content that creates repeat customers and brand advocates.

The strategy here hinges on a combination of your brand’s DNA and a strong understanding of your customers, which you should have when they are this far down the path. Are you a value-based organization, like Patagonia? You’ll probably want to express those values repeatedly in your content to remind your audience that you care about the same things they do. Do you constantly innovate? You’ll want to consistently show your customers all of the features and achievements in your products, no matter how small.

At Apple, their brand advocates are artists, creatives, makers, and sophisticated tech-forward consumers. What is Apple selling with their latest product release, the iPhone 13? “Oh. So. Pro.” The new Macbook? “Supercharged for pros. The most powerful MacBook Pro ever is here. With the blazing-fast M1 Pro or M1 Max chip—the first Apple silicon designed for pros—you get groundbreaking performance and amazing battery life.” This is content designed to give consumers the information they need to believe and invest in the latest innovation. The aim is to be so well-aligned with their audience that they will never consider a different brand.

Third-party validation also matters at this stage in the journey. Testimonials, reviews, and influencers can make a real difference in the minds of consumers. Make sure your featureful messaging is as relevant to industry thought leaders as it is to your target demographic.

These days, the customer journey is seriously fragmented (more on that in our next post). But one thing remains true across every experience and every platform the modern consumer uses: content drives them down the path. Ultimately, your opportunity lies in having the right mix of content for each and every step.

How to Connect from a Distance

We learned to stay connected as an agency.

At Simon/Myers, all-agency interactions became more important than ever. While they were also harder to organize, we learned that regular interaction with our team was crucial to feeling connected and supported.

In addition to our weekly all-agency calls, we made a point of hosting monthly Zoom happy hours, which allowed us to connect casually as a team. It may sound obvious but seeing each other’s faces and chatting about things outside of work really does help us create stronger bonds and grow together as a group. It also reminds us that what we do as an agency is a team effort. To spice things up from our day-to-day Zoom calls, we organized activities like we would for our in-person gatherings. Making cocktails together, building terrariums, and playing themed games are among the highlights from this year.

Maintaining good relationships with clients.

Not seeing our clients in person has been extremely frustrating. But from now on, thanks to Zoom, we may benefit from more client face-time than ever before. Pre-pandemic, Zoom was not even close to being a regular part of our meeting routine. When we couldn’t see clients face-to-face, we had conference calls—complete with the awkward pauses, talking over each other, and hand gestures that couldn’t be seen.

Zoom minimizes opportunities for awkward conversations, and even miscommunications, thanks to facial cues and body language you simply can’t get over the phone. For these reasons, we plan to continue using Zoom even when the pandemic is over.

Dealing with digital distraction and screen fatigue.

While working from a distance has certainly made it harder to connect with colleagues and clients, in some ways it’s become harder to disconnect. Utilizing Zoom and other conference calling software comes with its downsides. We’ve grown accustomed to hopping on calls rather than sending an email or Slack message, and have had to navigate being strategic about when each mode of communication is appropriate to use (and for how long).

Something we are all too familiar with after this year is the fatigue that comes with spending all day on a screen, trying to squeeze work in between the many calls that Zoom has seemingly exacerbated. While we like Zoom from a communications standpoint, we still need to consider the costs and benefits of it from an efficiency and budget standpoint. Plus, protecting our team from the fatigue that comes with it is something we’re working to do better.

How to connect with remote coworkers.

While we’re still navigating this problem ourselves, we’ve come up with some strategies that have helped us in this area. A big one was creating a system to set statuses that alert team-members when you’re “Interruptible,” “In the Middle of Something,” or “Heads Down. No Distractions, Please.” While working in an office provides everyone with visual cues of when would be a good time to interact with team members (spinning in your desk chair vs. headphones in, focused-face on), it’s not so easy to sense in a virtual setting. These simple green, yellow, and red circles next to everyone’s face and name on Slack help let our team know when would be a good (or bad) time to reach anyone. 

What strategies has your team implemented to help connect and disconnect during this time?

How to Build Engagement into a Content Strategy, Part 1

There are few topics as hot as content marketing in the digital marketing world right now, and for good reason—great content sells. But it can also be a trap. Too often we see businesses creating content simply because they’ve been told they should do it. Without a strategic plan, businesses can spend huge amounts of time and resources on content that never resonates and never makes an impact on the bottom line. That’s a tough call to answer when marketing budgets come up for discussion.

Our solution (and opportunity) is to build engagement into content strategy right from the beginning. You want content that has a goal for the business, a purpose for the consumer and a clear roadmap to get there. With that, here are five ways to ensure your content strategy has engagement built in.

1. Content's Top Job is to be Useful

Let’s start with the obvious but most important point: Your content should help solve a problem, spark an idea, ease a burden… anything that your audience will find imminently useful in their lives or business. Of course, we all want to be helpful. But it’s not just an altruistic goal—consumers who read a brand’s educational content, for example, are 131% more likely to purchase from that brand.

The key is to understand your audience and their needs and desires. Do research, ask them questions and produce varied, targeted content, then look at the analytics or just plain ask them if they found it useful. Pretty soon you’ll find a few sweet spots. And when you do, you’ll reach the point that makes content soar—sharing and word of mouth. 

2. Great Content is Unpredictable

This might sound counterintuitive. After all, you should always meet the expectations of your audience, right? Yes, and no. 

It’s true that your content should be useful, as noted above, to the specific needs of your audience. But it’s also true that people crave variety in their content. It’s best if they can satisfy some of that variety with your content, rather than finding it somewhere else. It’s also a great opportunity to show your audience that your brand is a living, breathing, multi-dimensional being—just like them. Besides, how many times have you visited a store with a list in mind, only to see something new on the shelf that you just had to have? Content is no different—it’s why Netflix works so hard on their “suggestions” algorithms.

Seek to find the balance between the content that your audience wants and expects, and what kind of useful distractions they enjoy, and that adds depth to your brand.

3. Take the “Red Thread” Approach to Content

If we understand that content needs to be useful, meet expectations and also be unpredictable at times, how do we maintain consistency? 

Think of a great tapestry on a wall woven together with various shades of blues and greys. Now picture one red thread running through it, end-to-end. Even with just a quick glance, you'd notice it. The same goes when producing multiple types and themes of content—something throughout each piece of content should be recognizable. Commonly, this is the main value proposition of the brand itself. For example, Disney produces a ton of varied content and storylines but one thread runs through all of it. “Magic.” For that reason it’s impossible to watch anything Disney without feeling an underlying sense of magic unfolding before your eyes and ears.

4. Content Needs to “Feel” Good

People make decisions with their gut, most of the time. Daniel Kahneman’s work, Thinking, Fast and Slow, goes into great detail about the psychology of how people make decisions. One of the biggest takeaways is that people react to how something makes them feel when making a decision; it happens fast; and we don’t put nearly as much thought into our decisions as you might think. (It’s a fascinating read.) 

Your content should "feel" good. That’s not to be confused with “feel-good” content. After all, there are plenty of serious issues in this world and your brand might have something important to say about them. But your content should always make people feel like it’s coming from a place of authenticity and trustworthiness—from the narrative to the way it’s designed.

‍5. Simple Content Sells. 

We all suffer from information overload and it’s only getting worse. Oftentimes, that results in businesses feeling like they need to cram as much messaging, and as many selling points as possible into every piece of content. It can be tempting to do, especially because content can take time and significant budget to get right. But resist the urge—saying everything all at once in every piece of content is a great way to get users clicking and scrolling away to something else. 

One of the great things about the endless advance of technology is that you can produce, edit and publish a lot of strategic content quickly and consistently. That means you can target very specific messages to specific audiences. Avoid giving audiences “paralysis of analysis” and give them one clear, solid idea to take with them—it goes back to the previous point about people making decisions with their gut.

Coming up in Part 2 of Building Engagement Into Your Content Strategy, we’ll explore how your business can use content to account for every part of the customer journey—getting them what they want and need at the right time to lead them down the path of discovery and, ultimately, purchase.

Going Phygital: Not Just For Retailers Anymore

Physical and digital experiences need to connect.

At the core of any digital business transformation strategy are the rewards of going direct to the customer. For companies, that has often meant breaking silos, introducing new processes, and launching new digital experiences. Since “all-things digital” became the focus, many companies with brick + mortar spaces were slow to react and saw their footprint dwindle. Their omnichannel strategy became a data challenge rather than an experiential one. Marketing platforms proliferated in hopes of more consumer data, but in the end, only offered more targeted coupons. Often companies were drowning in data, losing sight of what their customers were doing or telling them. Their digital and physical experiences were disconnected.

Pop-up experiences build brand authenticity.

E-commerce sales, which now total $135B of retail sales (15% of total retail sales), are growing +12.4% YOY. However, physical retail sales have significantly rebounded since the economic recession of 2008. Physical retail sales, which total $750B of retail sales, still command the lion’s share and are steadily growing +2.0% YOY (1). We’ve also seen a proliferation of pop-up experiences with some touting that we are reaching the peak of experiential marketing (2). Millennials may have influenced this trend, but Gen Z (3), which is the first generation of digital natives, will take it from an experiential marketing gimmick to a more permanent one.

Source: WNDR Museum

Those in Gen Z, with an estimated $143B in spending power, are seeking authentic experiences more than ever. Influenced by their Gen X parents, they are more practical, skeptical, and independent (4). They are not looking for millions of fans and followers, only ones that they know and trust. The way they interact online is truer to themselves, and their offline experiences are becoming necessary to confirm a brand’s authenticity.

Phygital means a more complete shopping experience.

Phygital is now a popular buzzword around the retail world. It’s essentially focusing traditional brick + mortar retailers on connecting the best aspects of their online and offline environments to create a more complete retail customer experience. At Simon/Myers, given our roots in designing experiential environments, we take a phygital approach to our work whenever appropriate. Tying our consumer insights strategy to the design of creative customer experiences takes us out of the sea of data and right into the customer experience journey. By focusing on the customer experience journey, we are able to put ourselves in their shoes – seeing online and offline opportunities.

Highlighting experiential insights is key.

When we do this, we are developing insights using both qualitative methods, like ethnographic research, and quantitative methods, like online surveys. Our strategy and research teams map the entire customer experience journey and highlight key experiential insights. Since we design digital experiences by prioritizing user stories from the customer’s perspective, we are able to quickly connect them to the offline experiences we create. These opportunities are then prioritized based on ROI and operational considerations. We move clients to action and work with them on continuous improvements. To see the process in action, here is how we helped Delta Faucet Company reimagine their event experiences.

We design phygital experiences with some key principles in mind:

Supported by online data that help brands to:

Source: Promotion1

The result? Highly impactful, authentic phygital experiences. Since these experiences are “connected,” brands have a continuous feedback loop to always optimize and improve – new SKUs, new experiences, new reasons to go, etc. While the world continues to wrestle with online experiences, like the proliferation of fake news, data breaches, privacy concerns, etc., offline experiences will play an increasingly important role in delivering authentic brand experiences. A phygital strategy isn’t just for retailers anymore, it’s a company’s customer experience 3.0 strategy. Whether you’re a B2C, B2B, or B2B2C company, ensuring that your physical experiences catch up to your digital ones is a worthwhile investment toward winning the hearts and minds of your existing and future customers.

(1) St. Louis Federal Reserve FRED Database. Note: Physical Retail includes all retail sales excluding food services, motor vehicles/auto parts & fuel. (From “Internet Trends 2019 Report” by Mary Meeker)

(2) AdAge article on experiential marketing.

(3) Generation Z is the demographic cohort after Millennials (born early 1980s to ending mid-1990s). Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to early-2000s as starting birth years. There is little consensus on ending birth years. It comprises 25% of the US population, making them more numerous than either Baby Boomers or Millennials.

(4) Bloomberg article on how to attract Gen Z consumers.

Learn How the Best Brands Find a Brand Voice

Every brand speaks. But not all have a voice.

Like endless items on a vast, cruise ship buffet, brands vie for the attention of picky, jaded consumers. The best earn preference with a brilliant mix of brand credentials – colors, fonts, story, campaign, and more. But the critical ingredient that makes the recipe work? Brand voice.

Brand voice is the element that is woven through all aspects of a brand, including (as we will explore shortly) its social media, in-person touchpoints, even packaging. In a nutshell, brand voice defines the personality of the brand. It speaks for the brand’s persona, it humanizes the brand’s communications, it empowers the brand’s consumer appeal. Without a distinct voice, brands go unseen and unwanted in this grand, brand buffet, outflanked by the king crab legs and dripped on by the ice sculpture.

Well-known brand voice examples.

Let’s look at a real-world example: insurance. It ain’t a sexy category, but it sure gets its share of brand time. Without even realizing it, we’ve all been heavily influenced by brand voices across the insurance industry. In fact, here’s a little test: Think about the way these five insurance brands speak. Go ahead, we’ll wait…

Flo from Progressive Insurance - Source

1.   Geico

2.   State Farm

3.   Progressive

4.   Allstate

5.   Farmers

Surprised? Yep, even in this traditionally low-interest category, each of these brands has an extremely well-defined, highly crafted brand voice. From Geico, with its crazy-quilt mix of irreverence, to State Farm, with its sports celeb-fueled cadence of endorsement, to Farmers, with its drumbeat of “seen-it-all” reassurance, these brand voices speak with cohesion across campaign, social media, and even (when done right) at the agent-outreach level.

How to build a brand voice.

So how can you create a brand voice that cuts through, clarifies, and drives preference? At Simon/Myers, we start this quest like all others: With research, data, and a resulting strategy. By employing our Digital Insights Suite™, we unleash modern tools for social listening and data mining.

If the brand under revitalization is an existing brand, we learn about current consumer sentiment, the competitive set, and macro trends in the consumer ecosystem. These tools allow us to tailor-craft brand transformation – and particularly brand voice – to properly empower the brand to be relevant, competitive and embraced going forward.

If the brand is fresh and new, the tools shift. We go in search of the most lucrative white space among the pantheon of competitive products, then carve out a distinctive space for the brand to live for the long term. Again, a deep understanding of the audience – their motivations, expectations, and unmet needs – is the trigger for success here.

With a tight strategy in hand, the fun begins. Personas (the humanized personality/skills of the brand) are explored. The traits that our consumers will find most desirable are brought to the fore. And piece by piece, brand voice takes shape.

What is the true litmus test of a well-crafted brand voice (beyond consumer acceptance, of course)? It’s how readily and naturally it can be adapted across all touchpoints of the brand. If all agency partners and internal stakeholders can speak like the brand, comfortably, naturally, willingly, then congratulations – you’ve earned the brand voice medal.

Your brand tone of voice should be consistent.

As brand communications have evolved from monologue to dialogue, the opportunities to speak in the brand voice have multiplied exponentially. For example, Sprout Social reports here how a brand should speak with consistency across its social media, from Instagram captions to DMs to bio summaries. In fact, we advocate that a brand extend that cadence to its Help Desk replies, pop-up experiences, store design, packaging and more.

After all, a human doesn’t switch personalities moment-to-moment (OK, some of us might, but that’s a different post…). For a brand to be seen as rock-steady, relatable and lovable, an endearing and unwavering brand voice is a true separator. Otherwise, life in the great brand buffet may be one of soggy anonymity.

If you find yourself in search of a powerful voice for brands new or established, Simon/Myers is your guide. Just reach out here.

We’re Here, But we’ll never Fully Arrive

We talk about their goals, dreams, ambitions, and they ask me about Simon/Myers and what made us successful. However, I hesitate to focus on the success of Simon/Myers. Partly because I feel As a business owner, I’m often approached to provide feedback to a budding entrepreneur looking to create their own start-up. We talk about their goals, dreams, ambitions, and they ask me about Simon/Myers and what made us successful. However, I hesitate to focus on the success of Simon/Myers. Partly because I feel like we’ll never reach that “destination.” It is really about what we do each and every day that matters.

Tomorrow, when we get up and start to work, there will be another amazing client to serve, a shopper to delight, or a teammate to mentor, if we are so lucky. And there is always room to improve. So, I like to focus on our journey, where we are today and what we’ve learned about running a business along the way. 

Our business development path.

We’ve been in business since 2007, and rebranded to Simon/Myers seven years ago when Jim Myers became my business partner. Over that time, we’ve evolved from a pure creative firm with a laser focus on Shopper Marketing to a brand strategy and creative agency that executes in several verticals.

When we founded the company, it was in response to a need we saw in the market. As has happened in many markets, the in-store display industry was becoming commoditized. Procurement was driving efficiency into the development and purchase process. I found many of my clients -- the most honorable ones -- had the desire to purchase creative development independent of production, so they could then send the production out to bid. The less honorable ones would simply take the design work for free and bid it anyway. So, we launched on the premise of decoupling design and production, and as an Industrial Designer I knew where our immediate opportunity was to make an impact.

The early business lessons we learned.

Right at the launch of the company, as we established our positioning, we did some things right and one thing definitively wrong. Let’s start with the mistake. Since the entire system was being reengineered to drive costs out, I assumed that being cheaper than our competition was a valid selling proposition for our prospects. Well, it turns out that within reason, saving money was absolutely NOT a primary decision driver in the development end of the business. The bulk of the spend was on the production, not the creative. And superior creative is where brands were going to differentiate themselves from their competition. And frankly, they understood the price that was associated with that. It was a relatively low investment that could provide a good return from increased sales.

What did we do right? Deliver a superior product. Be smart. Ask deep questions. Listen. Challenge preconceptions. Serve. And along the way build a culture that reflects these attributes. Today at S/M, we call that combined skill set intellectual curiosity. It’s central to our culture; it guides all of our decisions as we grow. It determines which clients are a good fit, how to structure our agency, and perhaps most importantly who we should have join our team.

Growing into a digital marketing agency.

At a certain point, a “start-up” becomes a “company” and seemingly takes on a life of its own. Growing up for us came in response to the dramatic shifts in the marketing landscape. Shoppers began experiencing brands on their terms, so we evolved the agency accordingly. As important as the “final foot” still remains, the journey has changed and is infinitely more complex. Better input is needed and wider knowledge on how to reach audiences is required.

Despite our historically strong creative background, we knew we needed to grow through strategy and digital activations. In full humility our team understood our limitations, so we added the most talented folks we could find. Specific experience in what we needed was less important than the ethic of intellectual curiosity. We have a crazy-quilt of people, but they are what make S/M unique. 

Our creative agency is collaborative.

Our goal is to steward brands through critical points of their growth, while helping them to Today, we’ve certainly expanded, but we don’t try to be all things to all people. Our goal is to steward brands through critical points of their growth, while helping them to understand and reach their audiences. We have a complex mix of needs to fill for our clients, and it’s only through our combined talents we are able to meet them. We don’t do it perfectly, but every day we strive for egoless collaboration. As a result, spectacular ideas come from every corner of the agency. Sometimes to address client needs, but also to further build our culture from all aspects of how we play, grow and learn.

We’ll continue to make mistakes, learn from them and evolve, but we’ll also stay true to our principles. Hopefully this approach resonates with soon-to-be entrepreneurs. The industry needs your intellectual curiosity and new ways to solve problems.

How an Intangible User Experience Fits a Tangible World

Shake up the user experience.

They now need to offer intangible goods, a service which provides value, a reason for the consumer to make the trip into the store. A value through which the consumer can develop an emotional connection with the brand and an opportunity for the brand to (further) show its personality to the consumer. It’s about making connections in a more meaningful way.

Pushing the limits on traditional shopping can be done while still fitting the needs of the consumer and community. Whether it’s placing stores within stores where it’s convenient, humanizing the omni-channel journey with a customer service person to talk and engage with, experiencing the product out of the box or in an aspirational context, or creating a social and shareable interactive environment for social media.

Capital One Cafe - source: tampabay.com

A store within a store can drive in store traffic.

One of the best examples of this is Capital One Café. Capital One partnered with Peet’s Coffee and used the store within a store tactic to meet the consumer where they already are, making the experience more convenient for the consumer. They also aligned with a changing behavior habit: Millennials don’t share the same traditional banking experience as their parents or grandparents. To bridge this gap, Capital One pushed the limits of traditional banking by providing a comfortable café where you can enjoy a cup of coffee in an on-trend co-working space while engaging with your community. Last but not least, this new experience humanizes the omni-channel journey by providing a person who will sit down with you 1-on-1 to go over your needs.

Nike House of Go - source: runnersworld.com

Start with a smart user experience design.

Phygital is now a popular buzzword around the retail world. It’s essentially focusing traditional brick + Nike also recently reimagined a traditional experience with the launch of their new Epic React running shoe. They created an engaging experience with their “House of Go” pop-up placed in major cities around the world. Consumers experienced the product out of the box and in context by being able to test drive the shoes on a treadmill. However, the magic happened due to the environment being fully-immersive with its colorful, wonderland-meets-art installation surroundings. This creates a social experience and a photo-worthy, shareable social media moment to generate buzz and excitement. This tactic is so successful that these experiences are popping up all over, such as: Google Home Mini Golf, Hermès laundromat pop-up: Hermèsmatic, 29Rooms from Refinery29, Benefit Cosmetics Roller Liner Diner, and IKEA Play Café to name just a few.

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Liner Diner - source: benefitcosmetics.com

There are multiple opportunities for retail to bridge the gap between the digital and physical world. But in the end, it’s about giving the consumer an intangible, meaningful experience that can only occur, ironically, in a tangible environment.