From Bobbi Brown’s wellness supplement Evolution_18, to Tom’s shoes launching roasting coffee, brands have been taking risks, expanding into unprecedented markets and appealing to the wider interests of their consumers. Brands have been exploring this space for a while, our attention now turns to media and publication as they delve into retail, subverting and redefining engagement with consumers.
This holiday season was littered with publisher pop-ups. NYmag launched ‘I found it at the Strategist’ featuring products picked by the editors, including beauty and homeware products, 80% of which had received editorial coverage in the publication. “The goal behind the store is to get The Strategist brand out there in front of a mass audience… We don’t see the pop-up as that much of a revenue play, although we do intend to move product’’ Camilla Cho, the GM of e-commerce at New York magazine told Digiday.
Rachel Shechtman opened concept store Story in Manhattan, reinventing the publication model in 2011. Structured in a similar fashion to a magazine, Story changes like a gallery and sells like a store, recreating itself every 6-8 weeks. A matchmaker between brands and consumers, each redesign takes on new themes and brands, indulging consumers in an experience beyond the transaction, much ahead of its time. Macy’s has just bought the store with Shechtman still attached, a nod to its innovative success.
Camp, a new store backed by Buzzfeed, also enters the highly experiential and curiosity conducive realm. With Rachael Shechtman sitting on the board, the store boasts an immersive experience aimed at children and families, hoping to invoke the joy of being at an American summer camp. With over 2000 products and 11,000 square ft, Camp will follow a similar format to Story, with seasonal changes in decor, product and experiential moments.
Media companies have also followed suit, with Facebook partnering with Macy’s to bring new brands to pop-up. Expanding the brand to brick and mortar store brings a new feat to Facebook, featuring real life ‘news feed’ and ‘like button’ imagery to reality. Though less experience than many of its competitors, Facebook is embracing merging reality and media.
Publications will continue to forge connection with customers, breaking down barriers, as they give a twist to the brick and mortar format. With the competitive edge of knowing the habits of their consumers, publications just need to create a reason to visit the stores, allowing them to broach a new type of connection and merging their online platforms to physical manifestations of their brands.