“The merchant has always been and will always be most successful where his activity is integrated with the widest possible palette of human experiences and urban expressions - ”Victor Gruen
It is every retailer and Centre-owner’s goal to increase shopping Centre revenue. A clear way to achieve this goal is by increasing the number of customers that walk through the Centre’s door. This is called foot-traffic and is a recognised retail indicator that determines a shopping Centre’s success.
Having high shopping Centre traffic means more sales and opportunities and greater chances to create consumer engagement. Foot-traffic can provide useful insights to retailers. It can also be used to evaluate the strength of the marketing tactics, help retailers find ways to increase productivity but also create ways to boost consumer engagement.
Yet, in recent years, Australian retailers have been experiencing periods of significantly low foot-traffic. Many economists would say this is due to the rise of e-commerce stores, offshore retailers and digital technologies.
Nonetheless, there is good news in all of this as there are many ways to increase shopping Centre foot-traffic. One of our creative strategies consists of increasing community engagement and making the shopping Centre a destination for locals and neighbouring resident to engage in shopping Centre activities.
If you’re in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry (FMCG), you may find it difficult to play catch up, keep up with trends or create your own brand identity without a proper communications plan. When it comes to implementing a marketing strategy, you need to consider one that works best for you as these decisions are crucial and can make or break your business.
Yarra Valley Water (YVW) has made a huge, impressive organisational commitment to help 150,000 vulnerable customers between July 2018 and July 2024. They were looking to raise awareness of the support they have available so that when people are experiencing financial vulnerability, they can connect with and access the appropriate programs.
This was their first foray into the world of activations to connect with their customers, and they were so excited and motivated to be able to proactively promote YVW to customers in a community setting. They wanted to highlight their WaterCare program which provides support, pathways and services to help customers manage their bills. In addition, they wanted to highlight water-saving initiatives and provide a giveaway of products that can work towards this. The team had already booked 3 weeks of activation space across 3 different Shopping Centres in Melbourne for the campaign, and we also had a tight timeframe to develop the activation to suit.
Their enthusiasm was contagious. With their objectives driving the concept development, we set out to create a welcoming oasis for customers to feel comfortable and at ease, allowing conversation to flow and questions answered for those who may be eligible for WaterCare concessions. Experience tells us that customers' interest needs to be piqued by the activation in order to get their attention, so the look and feel of the design was integral to the success of the campaign.
The latest research into consumer behaviour indicates that an audience feels warm and fuzzy whenever they get a chance to share their thoughts, opinions, generally connect with another human being. We like feeling as though people are listening to us. With this in mind, we created a lush, green space that established a sense of calm and tranquillity, with high bar tables and chair settings casting a more casual tone to encourage customers to feel confident in approaching and discussing their water bill with YVW Brand Ambassadors.
Oversized signage told the story of YVW and their commitment to providing help to those who are experiencing financial vulnerability, and educating on how they can connect and access these programs.
Then we had the surprise and delight moment - three boldly branded vending machines not only provided a fun way to display the water saving items on offer , they also grabbed the attention when trying to engage passing shoppers.
To ensure the kids were included and parents had a moment to speak to a YVW Brand Ambassador, a fun activity was developed that highlighted water conservation. Kids were invited to decorate their very own rinse cups, with instructions on how to use these at home when brushing their teeth. It was an easy and accessible way for children to understand how they can make a small difference every day by not running the tap when they brush.
THE POWER OF CONNECTION
The overwhelming feedback from customers, including retailers and Centre Management was that the activation was welcoming, bright and engaging. With over 500 meaningful interactions, the activation gave YVW a public face and provided an opportunity for customers to not only engage in a fun, relaxed setting, but receive education and information that might have previously not been considered easy to access or of priority. Over 1000 giveaways were handed out across the 3 weeks of the campaign, with education provided around their use and how they can contribute to water conservation in the home.
How exciting is it when you see your audience really engaging with your property or Shopping Centre activation? Imagine being able to create that level of excitement and engagement at every activation – what a perfect world that would be!
We understand how important community engagement is when it comes to achieving your property or Shopping Centre goals. Community engagement is after all the strongest indicator of your audience’s feelings about your brand and of course, we all want them to feel great about your brand.
This is why we have drawn on our years of experience to give you our top insights and tips to get your audience excited, engaged and make the most of your next activation campaign.
Let’s get started!
1. Partner with a local charity
There are no doubts that your Centre, property or business is making valuable contributions to your local community. A great way to amplify your contribution is to partner with a local charity. We recommend teaming up with an organisation that is actively making a positive difference in a way that directly impacts your local community.
2. Connect with a local school, community group or sporting team
This is a great way to show your audience that you care about what matters to them and you are in touch with the community to which your organisation belongs. Bringing a local school, community group or sporting team into your activation and making them a part of it in a unique and creative way will result in greater engagement through their active community.
3. Connect with a local artist
Who is creating a buzz in your local area? Is there a local artist, performer or photographer that hails from the area where your Centre or property is located? This is a great opportunity to use your space to showcase their work and talent. Supporting your local community is key to gaining greater engagement, this will also encourage new and repeat visitation and longer dwell times. An activation showcasing their work and your space is the perfect combination for community engagement.
4. Engage local influencers
Have you just had a recent renovation or had a new retailer open up? There is no better time to undertake an activation and no better way to increase community engagement than to engage with local influencers. They already have an established audience that is immersed in their content and this is an opportunity to have them immersed in yours.
5. Tie your brand to stories that resonate
Your activation doesn’t always need to be directly related to your brand, often the best activations are those that are a little left of centre. Those that create a story that resonates, yet is cleverly tied to your brand is a great recipe for creating an impactful activation that leads to a whole new level of community engagement. For example, there could be an organisation seeking to raise awareness of their cause, providing your space for their activation ties their story to your brand, resulting in new visitors, greater exposure and engagement with your centre or property.
6. Promote Social Good
With the social media take over, we live in a time where awareness and emphasis on social good is paramount. People want to feel like they are a part of this movement and this tip will have an incredible impact on your community engagement. Imagine your property filled with adorable guide dog puppies or an educational and fun school holiday activation that has kids making puppets using all recycled and reusable materials. An activation centred around social good ticks all the boxes for creating successful community engagement!
7. Make it last
How amazing is it when you create an activation that continues to generate an impact long after the physical activation is finished? This is exactly what you can do when you incorporate a digital online component into your brand activation. This elevates your community engagement and carries it over to your online presence. Introducing an online component allows the community engagement that was generated at the activation to continue to be amplified, creating longevity and keeping your brand top of mind long after your successful activation is completed.
We are passionate about community engagement and see it is a vital ingredient to ensuring your activation goals are exceeded. We would love to hear how these tips work for you.
Have you seen Minority Report? No, me neither! All I know is that it’s all about futuristic stuff and looked too cool to be real. Check out the trailer!
Well, the good news is that the technology is already available and could be the WOW factor for your next brand activation campaign.
Whilst we are not as geek as it seems we are all about new technology and are in love with the endless possibilities it brings to the activation space. And let’s be real it is pretty fun too!
From mixed reality to brainwave neurosensing (I know right?!) and everything in between, we are always exploring and seeking ways to integrate new technology into the brand experience to maximise community engagement.
Let us expand a little on some of our favourite new technologies that we are excited to get creative with.
One of our favourites is gesture recognition. Imagine giving your audience the power to interact with your activation at the swipe of their hand and discover a new renovation while it is still in the making or create their own virtual journey through your property. I know I would like to engage with something that cool and this is just a few of the many possibilities!
Looking for a creative way for your retailers to do a giveaway? Then look no further than the digital vending machine – we love these! Perfect for launching a new product, these digital vending machines create an interactive experience where your audience can receive the giveaway through facial recognition. Check out the example below to see how clever this is and how it works. It will blow your mind!
Our clients are particularly loving the addition of augmented reality (AR) into their brand activation and community engagement events and so are we!
Augmented reality elevated our client, Fostering Connections, campaign to a new level of engagement when we used AR in a playful way during Foster Care week. The lobby of 530 Collins Street was abuzz with beautiful graphics that played real-life stories from foster carers when people scanned the images with their phones, helping to break down the myths about becoming a foster parent.
AR is also amazing for gaining insights into your audience and measuring the success of your activation. In addition to being able to gauge key demographics of your audience, it provides an excellent opportunity for data collection.
This is just one of the many inspired and innovative ways new technology can create a greater impact in the world of activation. Leading to greater community engagement, longer dwell times and increased brand awareness that leaves a lasting impact.
We have touched on a few of the exciting technology options that can be personalised to achieve your desired outcomes, aid in gaining awareness, increased interaction and brand recognition as well as social amplification.
The possibilities are limitless and we are excited about the creative and strategic opportunities that exist through clever implementation with technology. We will never look at a screen, a vending machine, an iPad or space the same way again and we hope you won’t either.
A property development activation reimagined, delivering 179 new sales leads and creating a new way to drive buyer interest.
Major residential developments in Melbourne’s outer west have sprung up in recent years as a direct result of the dramatic increases in property prices in the inner suburbs. Part of the sales and community engagement program for these new suburbs is a launch, generally built around a display village. So, it was with Welsh Group and the launch of the Thornhill Park Display Village in Rockbank. Welsh, however, requested two major points of difference – they wanted something fresh – that didn’t remind them of every other launch event they had been to – and, they wanted a novel way of integrating builders and driving visitors into display homes.
A bright and colourful example of on-site activation, the Equiem product launch in Melbourne’s industrial centre was designed to create awareness and build rapport. The brief was broad and we were eager to make the most of this exciting new product and relationship.
Create a community engagement event in a highly corporate environment that supports a relatively new product and promotes social interaction between client and audience. It must be immersive and grab attention. It must be social and provide escapism. The client also had two functional objectives; introduce their product to attendees and collect data. Above all, the brief was to create a space where people would stay and interact with the brand and each other. The real challenge, was the timeframe – just two weeks from first brief to execution.
A foyer activation that drove database growth, kick-started a community campaign and strengthened ties between the asset and its tenants.
A mysterious voice once told Kevin Costner, “If you build it, they will come.” If only running a successful brand activation program in a commercial asset was that easy. The truth is, they may come when you invite them at the
beginning,when everything is new, but unless building managers maintain an experiential presence in the common parts of the building, they won’t come back. And worse still, one of the key ingredients in maintaining a happy and engaged workforce or tenant group - a ‘sense of community’ - will be as defunct as Kevin Costner’s career.
Our recent experience with long-running client Equiem at 120 Collins Street came about when they approached us to activate their foyer in celebration of the Lunar New Year. They were resolute about a desk display and there was interest in an interactive experience to drive sign-ups to their community portal.
A dynamic Shopping Centre Activation to bring families to Centre multiple times over a sustained period. We brought together a team of builders, designers, and creators to make an entirely custom and sustainable maze for two distinct, interactive activations that attracted community interest and increased repeat visitation to Centre.
Nothing makes me want to break the rules more than when I see a Guide Dog and know I’m not allowed to pat it. Thanks to my best day of the job so far, I got to fulfil this dream all while ringing in the Lunar New Year!