Street Teams Build Pop-up Patronage
Some of the most effective retail pop-up marketing is done nowhere near the actual pop-up. Smart marketers deploy street teams – merry bands of brand ambassadors acting as 21st-century carnival barkers – to build buzz and drive attendance.
Street teams are effective because they can literally personify a brand, giving shoppers entities with whom they can interact. It’s an aggressive yet non-threatening approach to pop-up crowd building that doesn’t rely on walk-ins and chance meetings.
Building a street team to support your retail pop-up is not difficult, but there are a number of critical questions to ask before sending your squad out into an unsuspecting world of shoppers.
Pop-up Street Team Questions
What is the team’s objective?
Do you need to tell people about a new company, or do you want to build your existing market share? Are you inviting people to your pop-up to launch a product, introduce a concept or just to celebrate your brand? Even though street teams can be somewhat unscripted, having a clear and concise goal will help your brand ambassadors understand what their success should look like.
Who is the target audience?
Establish a solid understanding of your target consumers. Who are those most likely to be interested in your brand and your pop-up? Develop personas. Those are the people the street team needs to work with.
Who should be on my street team?
An incredibly important question. First, these people must be confident in their abilities to identify and engage your target audience. Second, they must personify your pop-up and brand in the exact way you want them to. Extra skills may be necessary to qualify individuals, depending upon the pop-up theme, costuming and the story you are telling. (Vetting and background checks are also a good idea; there are agencies that can help with that.)
What permits do I need?
Depending upon where you decide to activate your street teams, permits may be required. Play it safe and check with your local government or, if in a mall, business park or other public or private location, the management.
What is the message?
Ensure that your street team knows what to say and how to say it. They shouldn’t be scripted, but key messages should be part of their patter. This year’s SXSW featured great examples of clear messaging. Bravo promoted its new show “Stripped” with a roving band of nude men and women inviting folks to screenings. And the creepy Handmaids from Hulu delivered their story without saying a word.
What if _____________ goes wrong?
Even the most meticulously planned pop-up may face unforeseen challenges. Sickness, bad weather, permit issues and more can affect your street team marketing activation. Be prepared to communicate issues with your street team. Designate a point person, collect contact information and have extra staff on stand-by. Put a system in place for staying in touch before and during the activation.