How Brands are Taking Social Media into the Real World to Connect with Us

Fast Company – The umlaut-studded Swedish outfitter Fjällräven has been around since 1960. Back then, it was dedicated to providing sturdy Scandinavians with parkas and backpacks that could stand up to the region’s frigid temperatures and rugged terrain. Now, nearly 60 years later, you’re as likely to spot Fjällräven’s iconic fox logo on a backpack in Brooklyn as you are on a trail in the Arctic Circle. Fjällräven didn’t change, but it’s marketing tactics did.

The brand’s transformation was a conscious one. Fjällräven didn’t want to be seen as just another clothing brand; it wanted to inspire fierce devotion among its customers. That drive to differentiate was behind the creation of Fjällräven Polar and Fjällräven Classic, a pair of bespoke excursions that lets customers experience the brand in the wild. Both have been a huge success, attracting new customers while giving established ones something novel to be excited about. In an increasingly digitized world, physical experiences can create a visceral link between consumer and brand, and savvy companies are making that bond a priority through every channel possible.

THE EXPERIENTIAL FEEDBACK LOOP

The demise of brick-and-mortar retail has been greatly exaggerated. So says Scott Lachut of retail consulting firm PSFK. He points to digitally native brands that are discovering the appeal of physical stores to potential customers. “There’s a direct-to-consumer luggage company that found a 40% lift in website sales wherever they open a new store,” Lachut says. “They’ve realized they can capture passersby by having them come in, speak to an expert, have an experience, and test out a product before they buy it online.”

Those bridges are becoming even more central to social-media strategies as retailers start to realize that throwing money at Facebook and Instagram without a comprehensive plan can result in diminishing returns. “Brands are moving into physical spaces almost as a marketing channel,” Lachut says. “A lot of discovery is happening online, but that’s starting to draw people into stores where they can walk out with a product and share with their respective audiences right away.” Think of it like a feedback loop: A customer discovers a product on Instagram, visits the store in person, snaps a picture of the product, and then shares it on Instagram, starting the cycle again. The physical amplifies the digital.

Read the full article:  How Brands are Taking Social Media into the Real World to Connect with Us

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