A message to brick and mortar retailers – you have a great opportunity to create buzz and excitement for your brand in a way that your online-only counterparts do not. It’s called physical presence. Your presence in-market is one your biggest advantages in generating awareness for your brand on a local market level.
To do this, you need the help of our friends in the media. Now, I know what you are thinking, the media only cares about retail during key times of the year, like back-to-school and holiday. This statement is both true and false. They do care about retail during those moments because they have to. Retail drives the news cycle during these buying periods. It seems as though consumer perception of the economy can be measured by whether or not spending levels are more or less during these critical times of year. But how do you make the media pay attention to retail during non-peak times of the year? What can be done to drive a steadier drumbeat of awareness throughout the year vs. just spikes during the key seasons?
As a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, here are few things to consider in your quest to create news for your brand and locations year-round:
- Let the Calendar Guide You – the calendar can provide a roadmap for opportunity. There are numerous holidays, milestones, seasons and celebrations that happen every year. Identify those opportunities that align with your brand and develop a plan to take advantage of them. For example, as a children’s apparel retailer, position your in-store representatives as experts with the local media that are able to discuss the newest styles kids will be wearing this Easter, etc.
- Opportunity Around Every News Cycle – having a pulse on the news and pop culture is a great way to uncover opportunities for your brand. After all, you never know when an event might happen that will allow you to inject your brand into the conversation in a positive and meaningful way. For example, you’re a home improvement retailer and the news is reporting that this winter will see record snowfall. Utilize your store associates in key markets as experts in preparing your home for the harsh winter weather.
- Leverage New Assets – planning on opening a new location this year? Or maybe multiple locations? If so, these new store openings provide a great platform to get both the local community and media excited about your brand. It also provides an opportunity to elevate your brand and local representatives as a go-to source for the media.
While there are many more examples, these are few that can help you get started. Just remember, the media is 24/7 and outlets are in need of content, so why not be the provider of that content. Doing so yields a win- win for both you, and the media.
Brian Murphy is Vice President of Retail at Coyne PR