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How pop-up owners can run rings around the Olympics?

As the London Olympics grow nearer, marketing campaigns have begun to try and catch hold of Olympics fever, while more-and-more stories warning against Ambush Marketing strategies to brands who are not official sponsors, appear more regularly. One likely marketing strategy that brands are likely to adopt, is to erect pop up shops to capitalise on the numbers flooding to the UK's capital city. Michelle Morris, senior account manager for the RPM Pop-Up Team, highlights the benefits of such a strategy.

Marketers are busily putting the finishing touches to activity they have planned around the Olympics, and that means there is still time to make the most of the festival fortnight.

Sport, retail and other brands looking to capitalise on the London Games need to create credibility and stand-out in what is sure to be a cluttered market. For many organisations, pop-ups will be a great way to achieve this.

Pop-ups allow plenty of room for interaction with consumers, including space for marketing and experience-led initiatives. However, to ensure a successful campaign that leads to brand exposure, there are a number of key element marketers must keep in mind.

Many brands find pop-ups are the perfect platform for direct and instant engagement, but to achieve this you need to draw in the crowds almost as soon as it’s set up. For a pop-up to attract the instant and ongoing attention it needs, the look and dressing of your shop is a crucial thing to keep in mind throughout the planning stages. This means establishing an appropriate theme to represent your brand, giving the pop-up character, originality and prominence. Remember to consider exactly who you are targeting. The Olympics crowd will be very family-heavy, so your pop-up has to appeal to and include entertainment for all ages.

Pop-ups work best when they create a finely balanced experience that has a mixture of retail and marketing. Given the relatively short build-up to and actual running of Olympic events, it’s essential to generate as much hype as you can from your campaign. This means investing in some further promotional activity to increase awareness of the location and duration of your pop-up.

A great way to do this is via social media which, if handled well before, during and after the pop-up’s physical appearance, can work brilliantly to complement and promote your launch. Creating a Facebook page, for example, that introduces and runs alongside the pop-up can help build a fan base, as well as providing a platform from which to run competitions that complement your shop’s concept. Once the pop-up has finished, the page can then be used to keep up the momentum and conversation with customers, build long-term engagement and drive footfall to on- and offline stores.

The beauty of a pop-up shop is that it’s neither a long-term nor necessarily a big investment – but it can have brand benefits for the long term. However, consideration must be given to the additional costs that will be incurred during the Olympics, with greater demand for staff, build and installation services, and increased rental fees.

Moreover, marketers shouldn’t forget about other issues, not least the strict sponsorship legislation around the Olympics and exactly what they can and can’t do, or they could end up facing a hefty fine. My recommendation is to download and thoroughly read Olympics marketing guidelines, which are readily available on the web, such as the ones found here.

With their ability to drive engagement and deliver ROI, pop-up shops are becoming increasingly widespread and innovative. They are certainly one great solution to the exciting marketing challenge posed by the Olympics.

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