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Meet the Brand Tacticians, Specializing in Experiences and Locations

By Jamie Wilson, Associate Editor
Monday, April 16, 2018 12:25 AM
The first session of the afternoon kicked off with “Meet the Brand Tacticians” featuring Michael Dorf, founder, City Winery and Melissa Gonzalez, founder and chief pop-up architect, The Lion’esque Group. This VM Summit session aimed to showcase new models and experiences that companies have implemented to appeal to today’s hyper-connected consumers.

Dorf opened the session and took the audience through the history of wine and music while tying this lesson to the inception of his first City Winery location. He stressed the pricelessness of intimacy with experiences that can’t be digitized for companies in the age where “the mobile phone has become the remote control of our lives.” He urged the audience to be more strategic about the spaces where we can engage the senses.

Melissa Gonzalez said that every point of a pop-up store is to immerse the customer in the experience and promote social media.
Dorf went on to explain that by telling a good story about the authenticity of your non-digital product, you can effectively couple that with social media and turn your customers with fans who will in turn promote and expand your base via word of mouth.

“Craftsmanship is what people care about. [Businesses] need more than customers, they need advocates and fans. Your fans will sell for you,” Dorf said.

He left the audience with this sentiment, “Thank God you can’t digitize wine, sperm and eyeglasses.”

The Lion’esque Group’s Melissa Gonzalez educated Summit
attendees on the power that pop-up shops have to engage customers in unique brand experiences.
City Winery’s Michael Dorf stressed the pricelessness of intimacy with experiences that can’t be digitized.
Melissa Gonzalez, took the stage for the latter half of the session. The founder and chief pop-up architect of the Lion’esque Group educated attendees on the power that pop-up shops have to immerse customers in unique brand experiences while allowing them to promote your brand via social to create “brand evangelists.”

Gonzalez explained that pop-ups are powerful tools for consumer outreach. The philosophy of pop-ups include these aspects: To test, grow brand awareness, build relationships, learn about your customer and test viability of long term. She mentioned that every point of a pop-up is to immerse the customer in the experience and promote social media.

She took the audience through several examples of the various pop-ups that she has constructed as well as included some from other companies that showcased the creativity and uniqueness that each one highlighted. She further explored the ways in which companies can harness creativity in a brick-and-mortar setting to tell a story.

Gonzalez illustrated how pop-up experiences are all encompassing spaces. They allow consumers to be educated through experience, promote escapism by taking customers on a discovery journey, and empower their inner creative by giving them the ability to become the company’s content creators as well as establish an online- offline loop to promote accessible shopping across channels.

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