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A PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY BY BETHANY WATSON


Contents Page 01-02 Introduction Page 03-04 Target Market Page 05-06 Objectives Page 07-14 Part One - The Store Page 15-22 Part Two - FP Ambassadors Page 23-36 Part Three - We The Free Page 37-40 Part Four - Promotional Film Page 41-42 Timeline Page 43-43 Conclusion Page 44-44 Image References


INTRODUCTION Combining bohemian fashion and a lifestyle centred around craft, culture and wellness, Free People is a staple brand of the US and Canada with an ever-increasing UK customer base. Having successfully operated a temporary store on London’s Kings Road since July 2015, Free People is now in a position to consider its permanent future in the UK with the launch of its very first standalone store. Targeting creative and adventurous young women and boasting quality products, a desirable aesthetic and a unique lifestyle approach, Free People is perfectly placed to fill the gap left in the market by its competitors which have been identified as Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Pull & Bear and its sister brand Urban Outfitters. The key to making an impact in the UK marketplace lies with a highly personalised in-store experience that sells the Free People lifestyle in a way that resonates with UK customers. Furthermore, a hands-on launch event focusing on customer participation positions the Free People store as a community destination and gives the brand an air of authenticity. This activity should be complimented by strong digital marketing to clearly establish an identity for the UK branch of Free People with relatable brand ambassadors, key information and opportunities for customers to connect with the brand, reiterating the community spirit. An expansion of this size requires a full-service communications strategy, therefore a four-step plan has been devised to develop these all-important touch points for Free People and facilitate a highly successful entrance into the UK.

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TARGET MARKET The Free People customer is described as a 20-something girl who is smart, creative and self-aware. Embodying a free spirit and a zest for life, she loves to travel, absorb the cultural world around her and reinterpret it for herself through fashion and interiors. With a sunny disposition and a comfortable lifestyle, she spends her time creating, staying fit and balanced and hanging out with her closest friends and family. Free People has identified five distinctive personas for its customers to relate and aspire to. They are: •Lou, the laid-back tomboy •Sandy, the serene beach goddess •Meadow, the bohemian wanderer •Candy, the pretty lady •Ginger, the rebellious rocker Housed under the URBN Inc. umbrella, Free People is in good hands when considering a move into the UK. URBN has facilitated the success of sister brands Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, proving that it has a fantastic understanding of the British market. Free People’s distinctive lifestyle approach allows the brand to transfer easily from the US to the UK, targeting an almost identical audience. Supporting this point is the fact that Free People concessions in key UK department stores and speciality retailers have consistently performed well, with no major change in communication towards UK customers.

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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 lifestyle centered around wellness, craft and culture Collaborate with local businesses to benefit from mutual advocacy and provide a complete lifestyle package for customers

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PART ONE - THE STORE Tapping into the ‘Explorium Retail’ trend, the proposed store offers the Free People customer so much more than a retail outlet, instead providing a community hub packed with inspiration and opportunities for personal growth. The key is to forge deep and long-lasting connections with UK customers by indulging their passion for craft, culture and wellness in the store, aligning Free People with the things they love most and reinforcing the idea that Free People can enrich more than just their wardrobes. Combining the most effective elements of stores like Urban Outfitters and Rough Trade East, the Free People store serves as a beautifully-curated shopping environment and a multi-purpose events space. In-store events in partnership with brand ambassadors and local businesses help to build bonds with new and returning customers, whilst in-house stylists connect with individuals on a personal level, providing an impeccable service that cannot be found at competitor stores. Whilst the standalone store is at the centre of this strategy, little will be done in the way of direct store promotion, as this does not fit existing Free People practice and is unlikely to appeal to an intelligent consumer. Instead, an impressive ambassador scheme, launch event and promotional film will be implemented to build a presence on the British high street organically. This will be developed and nurtured through the weekly programme of events such as DIY, yoga and meditation classes, vegan cooking and group feasts, intimate gigs and cinema screenings.

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To boost Free People’s presence in the UK, the store will move away from its temporary location in Chelsea, opting for a highly visible location on the corner of Regent Street in the heart of London. Free People’s main competitors, Topshop, Pull&Bear, Miss Selfridge and Urban Outfitters, lie within a five-minute walk of the store on Oxford Street, yet the brand’s positioning close to Anthropologie, COS and Liberty differentiates Free People as a quality brand. This location is more convenient for customers and is excellent for passing trade. The store in question is Yorkshire House, a period property with distinctive curved windows and plenty of character. There is a total 3,336 sq ft of space split between the ground floor retail space and the converted basement, where events will be hosted, which retains a boutique aesthetic but allows the brand to make full use of the store. Details of décor will be outlined in the client-facing ‘Store Concept Document’, however a key element of the design is the incorporation of locally-sourced, handmade or antique interiors where possible to inject a strong, British identity to the environment. The store will launch officially on 26th August 2016 alongside a bank-holiday launch event.

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Proposed Store Exterior - Shop Front


Proposed Store Interior - Ground Floor Shopping Space


Proposed Store Interior - Basement Multi-Purpose Events Space


BUDGET Should Free People wish to go ahead with an agency-produced store concept document, detailing suggestions on location, décor and events, the total agency fees are estimated at £4,000. Should the Free People store be designed as planned, the total cost of renovating and furnishing the store and hosting events from September-December 2016 is estimated at £17,400. This does not include rent and rates. Total estimated cost: £21,400

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PART TWO - FP AMBASSADORS The Free People ambassador program offers customers three influential figures in the key areas of craft, culture and wellness that they can relate to and interact with. These ambassadors provide Free People with the opportunity to connect with more than 50,000 of their followers that the brand may never have previously had access to, helping to build a vibrant community of fans. Initially running from August-December 2016, the FP Ambassador program is hands-on, with each ambassador producing around 30 hours of work per month. Ambassadors will be announced to the public on 25th July through press coverage and will play an integral part in the store launch event on 26th-29th August before their regular monthly duties begin.

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Monthly responsibilities include creating two lifestyle features for BLDG25, completing one social media takeover and two Periscope streams, organising and hosting one in-store event and attending two photo shoots with the UK Free People team. All activity should be authentic, whilst utilising Free People products where possible. Monthly strategy meetings must also be attended. Each ambassador is given their own hashtag for use on social media, which makes posts highly visible and allows users to follow their favourite girls. Ambassadors must display plenty of personality and positivity and should feel like personal friends to the Free People customers. Key social platforms to consider are Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Periscope. Instagram is one of the brand’s most successful platforms with a dedicated UK account, whilst Pinterest is a fantastic visual platform for displaying the craft, culture and wellness lifestyle. Video content is increasingly sought-after, making YouTube and Periscope ideal. Aside from social media, the FP Ambassador programme will make full use of the BLDG25 blog, with ambassador posts being promoted on the UK website.

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Each of the three ambassadors have been selected as they show an affinity with the Free People brand and lifestyle, boast strong digital followings and have expert knowledge in their respective fields of craft, culture and wellness. #FPLeigh – Culture Ambassador Leigh Travers is a 20-something illustrator and blogger at Fox and Feather. Describing herself as a daydreaming wanderer, the flame-haired fashionista is heavily inspired by 1970s and spends her time experimenting with fashion, attending music events and travelling the world. With a combined following of over 11,000, Leigh has produced content for Free People in the past and would make a perfect culture ambassador. www.foxandfeatherblog.com // @leightravers #FPAbbie – Wellness Ambassador Abbie Mellissa is a 23-year-old Neuroscience student, vegan and wellness fanatic with a passion for natural beauty and meditation. Her Instagram account, @abbiemellissa, has amassed over 13,000 followers and she has recently launched a blog where she posts homegrown vegan recipes. Her style could be described as stripped-back bohemian. www.abbiemellissa.weebly.com // @abbiemellissa #FPFran – Craft Ambassador Francesca Stone is a 20-something DIY blogger at Fall For DIY and founder of bi-monthly craft kit subscription service We Make. With a combined following of 630,000, Fran is the most influential ambassador on the roster with a cheery attitude and a good eye for fashion and interiors trends. Her fans look forward to each new DIY project she posts, and Free People could benefit from access to this loyal audience. www.fallfordiy.com // @fallfordiy

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MEASURING SUCCESS Digital technology and customer feedback will be used to measure the success of each ambassador. The following factors will be taken into account: •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 Success with this program could results in Free People extending the FP Ambassador scheme into the future by retaining or replacing the three ambassadors.

BUDGET Should Free People wish to go ahead with the FP Ambassador program, the total cost of the three selected ambassadors is estimated at £14,400. Costs for FP Ambassador events are included in budgeting for the store itself. The total agency fees for this program are estimated at £3,000. Total estimated cost: £17,400

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PART THREE - WE THE FREE We The Free is a four-day bank holiday festival from 26th-29th August 2016, acting as the official launch of the UK Free People store. Held in-store on Regent Street, the festival marries unique craft, culture and wellness events with a personalised shopping experience. Working alongside the FP Ambassadors and local businesses, We The Free will establish the Free People store as a place of inspiration, discovery and adventure, kick-starting the brand’s long-term strategy. This will result in a widened customer base, a buzzing store and healthy sales. The festival features 10 events unique to We The Free which are lead by FP Ambassadors, guests from local businesses or VIPs. Every event is specifically designed to promote the store and its weekly events schedule whilst enriching the lives of Free People customers, providing them with an opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and have fun. Each event is ticketed, with tickets available online from 26th July following a festival announcement in the press and the launch of a promotional video on Free People channels. Places are limited, allowing Free People to get to know its customers on a personal level, but festival highlights will be uploaded to BLDG25 and social media for those not in attendance. Work on organising the festival is carried out from May-August, when goods and services are booked, staff are hired and logistics are put in place. Promotional activity runs from June-August.

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We The Free will be promoted through a combination of flyers, press coverage, a dedicated website, a promotional video and interactive digital content provided by Free People and its ambassadors. A promotional flyer will be designed and printed in June 2016, before being distributed amongst key local businesses that share similar qualities with Free People late in July. Examples would be local yoga groups, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, craft stores and record stores. The poster will share key details about the festival and the new store, giving a sense of what Free People is about and creating a buzz about the launch event. Following on from the flyer, a press release will be drafted in July to announce the new store, the FP ambassadors and the We The Free festival to the masses. This will be sent to key members of the media in order to secure excellent coverage. A release date will be set for 25th July 2016.

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Flyer - Outside Content


Flyer - Inside Content


Press Release & Target Media List

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Towards the end of July, a dedicated, continuous scrolling page will be created on the Free People UK website featuring a promotional video, We The Free information and a ticketing service. The page will go live on 26th July to coincide with press coverage, giving customers one month to purchase tickets for the festival. BLDG25 blog posts focusing on each event will be created by FP Ambassadors throughout August and will be posted to the We The Free page to generate hype around each lifestyle area.

Left - Part 1 - Introduction & Social Media // Right - Part 2 - Promotional Video

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Left - Part 3 - Information & Listings // Right - Part Four - Call To Action & Content


On 1st August, Free People will begin a round of email marketing to existing UK customers, informing them about We The Free and encouraging them to purchase tickets by clicking on a link to the dedicated web page. Further email marketing will take place later in the month and again after the event to welcome new customers to the Free People community. August also sees the launch of an Instagram competition designed to encourage the creation of user-generated content, promote the British Free People community and spread the word about the new store and launch festival. Followers on the UK Instagram account will be asked to upload an outfit of the day photograph of themselves in their favourite UK location using the hashtag #WETHEFREEUK. The competition will run from 1st-29th August 2016, with a winner being selected by FP Ambassadors on 1st September. The winner will be announced on Instagram and contacted through private message, where they will receive a ÂŁ150 Free People gift card redeemable in the UK store. During and after the event itself, the Free People UK team will take to all key social media channels to share highlights from the festival, providing beautiful imagery and video footage.

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Email Marketing

Instagram Competition


MEASURING SUCCESS With a lot of promotional activity taking place around We The Free, there are many opportunities to measure the success of the festival. The following factors will be taken into account: •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 Should Free People wish to go ahead with the We The Free launch event, the total cost of hosting an event of this size is estimated at £15,078 with an estimated profit of £2,975.63. The total agency fees for organising the event are estimated at £9,900. Total estimated cost (excluding profit): £15,078

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PART FOUR - PROMOTIONAL FILM Film is an increasingly effective way of communicating information to tech-savvy audiences and it is something that Free People have plenty of experience with. The brand’s YouTube channel boasts almost 50,000 subscribers, therefore a short film to promote We The Free and shine a spotlight on the Free People lifestyle and aesthetic is a sure-fire way to raise the brand’s profile amongst its key target audience. The film will be shot in June 2016, adopting a low-key approach by taking place at a scenic outdoor location using two undiscovered models that epitomise the brand’s identity. To represent Free People’s free spirited, adventurous nature, the film will be as fun and natural as possible, with models being encouraged to dance, laugh and roam free amongst the scenery with flowing hair, bohemian clothing and glitter. Lasting around 30 seconds, the film will play to the tune of ‘Teenager’, a song recently released by Brighton band Black Honey. Having played the Just Cavalli SS16 Milan Fashion Week show, Black Honey are tipped for big things in 2016. Influenced by the 1970s and 1990s, the band pull inspiration from the fashion and music industries, creating melodic indie sounds with a sassy edge that are sure to impress Free People’s customers. Launching via YouTube on 25th July and featuring on the We The Free web page from 26th July, the goal is to give viewers a glimpse of what it means to be a Free People girl, evoking a desire within them to experience Free People and its festival for themselves.

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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 26th July •Shares and embeds of video •Number of tickets sold for We The Free

BUDGET Should Free People wish to go ahead with the promotional video, the total cost of producing the video is estimated at £2,200. The total agency fees for the video concept and logistics are estimated at £1,400. Total estimated cost: £2,600

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TIMELINE This is an eight month strategy, running from April-December 2016 with the potential to continue at the discretion of Free People. April to June see a strong focus on preparing the store and booking suppliers and performers for the festival. June and July have a strong promotional focus, with the film being shot, websites and flyers being designed and distributed, press releases being disseminated and announcements being made. August focuses on building content around FP Ambassadors and launching an Instagram competition in order to sell tickets and it alsohouses the festival over four days. September is the month for tying off loose ends from We The Free, announcing competition winners, connecting with new customers and embarking on a longer-term strategy of FP Ambassador content and weekly in-store events, which continues up until December when the campaigns come to an end.

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CONCLUSION With a promotional strategy ensuring that each of Free People’s key touch points are customer-focused, on-trend and infused with the brand’s unique way of life, Free People has every opportunity to make a powerful entrance into the UK. British customers need to feel valued by Free People, as so much of the brand’s existing activity is directed towards a US audience. This strategy fulfils its original objectives, providing customers with a community to be part of, a curated store to explore, key influencers to connect with along with events and content of their own to devour. In return, Free People can expect to be rewarded by loyalty and the opportunity to expand further in this lucrative market.

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IMAGE REFERENCES Fig. 1 Free People, May 2015 (http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/photo-gallery/37359193/image/) Fig. 2 Leaf Print (http://ih0.redbubble.net/image.114767225.2363/flat) Fig. 3 Free People, June 2015 (http://www.girlsofto.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/) Fig. 4 Free People, May 2015 (http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/photo-gallery/37359193/image/) Fig. 5 Natalie Suarez For Free People (http://natalieoffduty.com) Fig. 6 Regent Street (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/Regent_Street) Fig. 7 Fall For DIY Earrings (http://fallfordiy.com) Fig. 8 Leigh Travers, Rough Trade East (http://www.foxandfeatherblog.com) Fig. 9 Fall For DIY Punchbowl (http://fallfordiy.com) Fig. 10 Leigh Travers (http://www.foxandfeatherblog.com) Fig. 11 Abbie Mellissa (www.instagram.com/abbiemellissa) Fig. 12 Francesca Stone (http://www.fallfordiy.com) Fig. 13 Free People Festival (http://media4.popsugar-assets.com/files/2016/03/29/865/n/1922398/) Fig. 14 FP Campaign (http://media4.popsugar-assets.com/files/2016/03/29/865/n/1922398/) Fig. 15 Olive Branch (http://bestfreeclipart.tk/clipart/resource/2016/02/24/) Fig. 16 FP Fran (http://blogtacular.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/) Fig. 17 Yoga (http://blog.solowstyle.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Yoga-Pose1.jpg) Fig. 18 FP Leigh (http://celinegaille.com/wp-content/uploads/commissioned/london/)

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

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Free People - Promotional Strategy  

Promotional strategy document detailing a PR and marketing strategy for a Free People store expansion into the UK. Created for the DE0931 Co...

Free People - Promotional Strategy  

Promotional strategy document detailing a PR and marketing strategy for a Free People store expansion into the UK. Created for the DE0931 Co...

Profile for bpix
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