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UK STORE MARKETING PROPOSAL


Contents Page 01-02 Introduction Page 03-06 Free People Page 07-08 The Free People Customer Page 09-12 Competitors Page 13-14 Opportunities Page 15-16 Objectives Page 17-18 The Big Picture Page 19-22 Part One - The Store Page 23-26 Part Two - FP Ambassadors Page 27-34 Part Three - We The Free Page 35-36 Part Four - Promotional Film Page 37-38 Timeline Page 39-40 Conclusion Page 41-42 Youth Media


INTRODUCTION In recent years, Free People has strived to carefully expand its presence in the UK, commencing with concessions in major department stores before extending to an e-commerce website and a London pop-up store. So far, this expansion has proven successful and brand awareness appears to have increased, with recent research suggesting that over 25% of young women in the UK are aware of Free People. E-commerce has served the brand well, but with so much to offer in a physical setting, the obvious next step is a permanent presence on the British high street. An expansion of this size has the potential to provide the retailer with access to thousands of new customers, therefore a powerful marketing strategy is vital in positioning Free People amongst the best brands in the UK, connecting with its key audience and highlighting its unique qualities. As a response to market research and key trends amongst Free People’s target audience, Youth Media has devised a full-service, four step strategy, working with all of the brand’s key touch points to facilitate a successful expansion onto UK soil.

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FREE PEOPLE Founded in Pennsylvania by Dick Hayne, Free People is a women’s fashion and lifestyle brand with a strong focus on creativity, freedom and self-expression. Housed under the URBN Inc. umbrella with sister brands Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, Free People has successfully established itself as a quality, bohemian retailer in the US and Canada with over 100 standalone stores. Under the direction of CEO, Meg Hayne, Free People offers its loyal customers an opportunity to experience a unique way of life through a diverse product range and an omni-channel marketing approach consisting of events, digital content and a personalised in-store experience based around craft, culture and wellness. Free People’s stores are essential to its strategy, bringing a customer’s vision of the brand to life. With an upmarket, DIY aesthetic, every single detail is considered, from repurposed antique furniture to handmade decorations. A visitor to the store can browse beautiful products, listen to their favourite music and hang out with likeminded girls, all in one place, which is highly appealing. Research suggests that 55% of young women who had heard of the brand would like to see a store in the UK.

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Working alongside the stores are the brand’s digital outputs, consisting of the BLDG 25 blog and multiple social media accounts which provide engaging content that binds the Free People community. Followers immerse themselves in posts about everything from the best music festivals to attend and how to create DIY wall hangings to interviews with inspirational women and advice on vegan meal plans, responding to the brand and each other along the way. Analysis of Free People’s nine social media accounts revealed Instagram to be the most successful as it receives the most direct engagement and is the only platform with a UK account, which has amassed almost 60,000 followers in less than a year. Research indicates that most British Free People fans first discovered the brand through Instagram, with YouTube and blogger referrals also on the list, therefore YouTube is an important channel that could be exploited in the brand’s British expansion. The creation of UK-centric content by social influencers on BLDG 25 is also an opportunity to be tapped into.

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THE FREE PEOPLE CUSTOMER Free People caters for smart, creative and independent women in their 20s who embody a free spirit and a zest for life. With a passion for travelling, hanging out with family and friends and staying fit and balanced, she constantly absorbs the cultural world around her, reinterpreting it for herself through fashion and interiors. Her sunny disposition and carefree way of living make her that super cool girl that everyone wants to be.

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COMPETITORS Competing against Free People for this coveted customer in a saturated apparel market are a number of competitors, who share similar aesthetics and levels of quality with the brand. Initially, the brand’s closest competitors appear to be The Kooples, Monsoon and Urban Outfitters, who are all priced towards the upper end of the high street with stores in similar locations and quality products.

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However, when compared closely, the brands with the biggest competitive threat to Free People are Urban Outfitters, Topshop, Pull&Bear and Miss Selfridge, with similar products, strong digital followings and plenty of experience in the UK. Where Free People stands out is with its high quality and unique lifestyle approach, which is increasingly sought after by consumers and cannot be matched by any of the competitor brands. Free People could therefore overrule the competition by filling the gap in the market for a quality, bohemian lifestyle brand catering to free-spirited, female millenials.

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OPPORTUNITIES A SWOT analysis reveals that Free People could suffer during its expansion into the UK as a result of its pricing strategy and insignificant UK brand presence. To combat this, the retailer should work with brand ambassadors to raise its profile and celebrate the niche Free People lifestyle whilst promoting its unique offering to educate customers on the value of its products.

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OBJECTIVES •Boost Free People’s UK presence •Launch a UK store that is a hive of inspiration, exploration and community •Establish and nurture a Free People UK community online and offline •Create a stronger digital identity for Free People UK •Connect with key influencers to promote the Free People’s craft, culture and wellness lifestyle •Collaborate with local businesses to benefit from B2B advocacy

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THE BIG PICTURE The Free People proposal is a four-part process comprising of experiential store design, social influencing, digital media, events and relationship-building to exploit the brand’s key touchpoints to their maximum potential and command the attention of British shoppers. Key cultural trends have been identified and incorporated into this strategy to ensure that Free People understands its customer and caters directly to them. The most impactful trends are: EXPLORIUM RETAIL & THE CONVERGENCE ECONOMY The idea that a fashion store should no longer simply be a place to shop, but a destination for socialising, being inspired, learning new things and growing as an individual. THE WELLNESS REVOLUTION The sharp increase in ultra-healthy lifestyles, fuelled by a rise in specialty diets like veganism and clean eating along with an uptake in exercise including yoga, Pilates and running. FOURTH WAVE FEMINISM Women are increasingly standing up as role models and demanding discussion about key issues of gender equality, resulting in a sisterhood of young women who find inspiration and empowerment in each other’s success. THROWBACK Constant and confusing advancements in technology leave millennials looking to the past for comfort, cue a resurgence of film photography, vinyl records, vintage clothing and repurposed antique furniture.

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PART ONE - THE STORE CONCEPT Tapping into the ‘Explorium Retail’ and the ‘Convergence Economy’ trends, the proposed store offers the Free People customer a new and innovative retail experience, selling the idea of craft, culture and wellness as a lifestyle and creating a community hub where likeminded young women can meet each other, be inspired and shop for beautiful clothing. By indulging in its customer’s passions and the things they love most, Free People can guarantee repeat custom. Entering on the ground floor, customers will be met with a beautifully-curated shopping space featuring the latest collections, where they can shop, hang out, play records with their best girlfriends and enjoy bespoke styling advice from a Free People expert. Central to the store’s success is a multi-purpose, underground events space, where a weekly schedule of exclusive craft, culture and wellness events will be held in collaboration with brand ambassadors and London’s coolest local businesses. This will increase footfall into the store and allow Free People to connect with customers on a personal level. The store will launch on 26th August 2016 with an impressive, four-day festival which aims generate hype around the brand’s weekly events calendar and drive new customers into the store. A brand ambassador scheme, promotional film and traditional marketing tactics will also be deployed to generate interest and excitement around the UK expansion.

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LOCATION Located at 6-8 Maddox Street, the Free People store boasts a highly visible location on the corner of Regent Street, along with a footfall of over 400,000 per week. Whilst four key competitors - Topshop, Pull&Bear, Miss Selfridge and Urban Outfitters - lie within a five-minute walk of the store on Oxford Street, the brand’s positioning close to Anthropologie, COS and Liberty differentiates Free People as a quality-orientated retailer and is an excellent location for passing trade, with a footfall of over 400,000 per week. Full details of design, events and positioning can be located in the ‘UK Store Concept Proposal’. BUDGET Should the Free People store be designed as outlined in the ‘UK Store Concept Proposal’, the total cost of renovating the store and hosting events from September-December 2016 is estimated at £17,400, excluding annual rent, rates and agency fees.

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PART TWO - FP AMBASSADORS CONCEPT Designed to promote Free People’s strong identity and sense of community, the FP Ambassador scheme is made up of three social influencers with expertise in their respective fields of craft, culture and wellness. With a combined following of more than 50,000, the FP Ambassadors provide Free People with access to thousands of potential customers, whilst engaging with the brand’s existing customers to build a vibrant community of fans. Working from August-December 2016, ambassadors will be announced to the public through press coverage on 26th July 2016, and will play an integral part in the store launch event on 26th-29th August, before their monthly responsibilities begin. Contributing 30 hours of work per week, these responsibilities include: •Two features for BLDG 25 on the topic of expertise •One social media takeover, promoted on personal pages and Free People accounts •Two live Periscope streams, conducting Q&As with fans of the brand •Two shoots with the Free People team to generate social content •Hosting and organising one in-store event •Monthly strategy meetings •Use of a personal, dedicated hashtag across all social media posts Ambassadors will feature heavily across BLDG25 and Free People’s social accounts, with a particular focus on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Periscope. Enthusiasm and personality must be embedded within the content to make the girls as relatable and endearing as possible.

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MEASURING SUCCESS Youth Media will monitor the success of the FP Ambassadors in the following ways, tweaking the strategy along the way to maximise its potential: •Followers on social media •Impressions on content posts •Engagement of content posts •Use of ambassador hashtags outside of Free People channels •Clickthrough rate for links on content posts •Conversion rate for products featured on content posts •Attendees at events •Verbal customer feedback BUDGET The total cost of the FP Ambassadors is estimated at £14,400, excluding agency fees.

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PART THREE - WE THE FREE CONCEPT Acting as the official launch of the UK store is We The Free, a four day bank holiday festival packed with 10 unique craft, culture and wellness events. Taking place from 26th-29th August 2016, the festival aims to establish the Free People store as a place of discovery, adventure and inspiration and will be hosted in collaboration with the FP Ambassadors and key local businesses. Featuring diverse events that resonate with the whole community, individuals can purchase tickets for yoga and beauty tutorials, group feasts, retro cinema screenings and intimate performances, all within the confines of the stunning Free People store. Places are limited to create an exclusive atmosphere, but customers who are not in attendance have full access to the highlights on the brand’s social channels. Work on organising the festival will take place from May-August and Youth Media will be responsible for the following promotional activities from June-August. PROMOTIONAL FLYER In June, Youth Media will design a flyer, distributing amongst a target list of local businesses late in July to create a buzz around the We The Free and the new store. Businesses that epitomise the Free People way of life will be targeted, from local yoga groups to vegan restaurants and craft stores. PRESS RELEASE A press release detailing key information about We The Free, the UK store and the FP Ambassadors will be drafted and issued for print on 26th July. This will be sent to a targeted media list in order to secure the most effective coverage. WEB PAGE We The Free is a ticketed event, so a dedicated page will be created on the Free People UK website featuring a promotional video, festival information, FP Ambassador content and a ticketing service. The page will go live on 26th July to coincide with press coverage.

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EMAIL MARKETING On 1st August, existing Free People customers will receive an email announcing the festival and encouraging them to purchase tickets through a call-to-action. This will be repeated on 15th August and again after the festival to welcome new customers to the Free People community. INSTAGRAM COMPETITION 1st August also sees the launch of an Instagram competition challenging UK followers to upload an #OOTD in their favourite British location using the hashtag #WETHEFREE. Designed to encourage the creation of user-generated content, the competition will run until 29th August and a winner will be selected by the FP Ambassadors on 1st September. One winner will be announced on Instagram and contacted directly to receive their prize of £150 to spend in the Free People UK store. MEASURING SUCCESS Youth Media can monitor the success of We The Free in the following ways: •Number of visitors to We The Free website page •Number of tickets purchased •AVE for press coverage •Clickthrough rate for coverage online •Conversion rate for events covered online •Clickthrough rate for email marketing •Conversion rate from email marketing •Followers on social media •Use of #WETHEFREEUK hashtag •Sales figures in-store from 26th-29th August 2016 BUDGET The total estimated cost of We The Free is £15,078, excluding agency fees, with an estimated profit of £2,975.63.

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PART FOUR - PROMOTIONAL FILM Drumming up interest in We The Free will be Free People’s promotional film, launching on YouTube to over 50,000 subscribers on 25th July 2016. Shot in June 2016, the film will last around one minute and will provide juicy details about the festival as well as a sneak peak into the fun, carefree life of a Free People girl, evoking a sense of desire within the viewers to experience Free People and its launch festival for themselves. Playing to a soundtrack by female-fronted indie band, Black Honey, the film follows two free spirits as they laugh and dance a day away in the summer sunshine. With a cool, retro vibe, the film is sure to make a splash with the Free People community and will be added to We The Free’s web page on 26th, acting as a primary ticket sales driver. MEASURING SUCCESS The success of the film will be measured in the following ways: •YouTube views, likes, comments and new subscribers •Clickthroughs to We The Free web page from YouTube video after 1st August •Shares and embeds of video •Number of tickets sold for We The Free BUDGET The total estimated cost for a promotional video is £2,200 excluding agency fees.

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TIMELINE The strategy runs through April-December 2016, beginning with preparation of the store and leading onto the creation and dissemination of marketing materials, the launch festival and a longer-term strategy of in-store events and digital content creation in collaboration with the FP Ambassadors.

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CONCLUSION This promotional strategy successfully hits each of the marketing objectives, redefining Free People’s key touchpoints for a British audience whilst remaining true to the brand’s DNA. Having identified key trends amongst Free People’s core customer and reinterpreted them for the retail environment, Youth Media has created an innovative, highly-personalised in-store experience, combining all of the things that the Free People customer values most. By reworking this experience into digital media through the use of brand ambassadors, Free People will open itself up to an entirely new crowd of potential customers, piquing their interest with engaging digital content before enticing them into the store with a unique launch event. Once a part of the community, customers will be bound to a brand that indulges their passions and allows them to connect with people who share their beliefs and will reward Free People with loyalty, leading to an overall increase in brand awareness and sales in the UK. At this point, Free People can consider its biggest UK expansion a triumphant success.

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Youth Media is a full-service creative agency based in Shoreditch, East London. With a team of over thirty talented designers, publishers and marketing experts, we offer bespoke communications packages to renowned fashion and lifestyle brands. At Youth Media, we work collaboratively with our clients to create culturally-relevant, socially contagious campaigns that make an impact and get people talking. We believe that the best ideas come from genuine insight - that’s why we pride ourselves on our in-house trend forecasters, endlessly locating the next big thing for our brands to embrace. From multi-channel campaigns to store concepts and content creation, we’ve got it covered. But don’t just take our word for it – we’ve scooped over ten national awards in our six short years, so the proof is in the pudding!

38 Scrutton Street, London, EC2A 4RQ www.youth-media.co.uk hello@youth-media.co.uk +44 (0) 2037 443 635

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BA (HONS) FASHION COMMUNICATION DE0931 CONCEPT REALISATION AND PROMOTION W13004841 BETHANY MEGAN WATSON

Free People - Marketing Proposal  

Client facing marketing proposal for the first Free People UK store. Created for the DE0931 Concept Realisation and Promotion module at Nort...

Free People - Marketing Proposal  

Client facing marketing proposal for the first Free People UK store. Created for the DE0931 Concept Realisation and Promotion module at Nort...

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