SALVAGE YOUR SUMMER!
Now that the date for restrictions to be lifted has been made clear, here is the new top 10 list of safe summer sampling locations where you can effectively, confidently and responsibly use ‘Safe-Sampling‘ to reach new audiences for your brand, during June/July/August/Sept 2021.
With half the nation still home schooling their kids or working from home, door to door as seen a resurgence for brands reaching home owners in their own properties.
The fixed geography is ideal for retail focussed targeting, enabling brands to present their samples to households within a set radius of their target stockists and scale the campaign up in size to reach any number of stores, to suit their budgets.
Brands can pop a whole pack with a leaflet through the door of each household for a quick method to blanket drop. Alternatively, uniformed brand ambassadors can knock on, step back and hygenically present the sample at a safe distance, alongside an enthusiastically communicated message.
Photo from our archive: Yorkshire Water used promotional teams to present ‘Flush Packs’ to 25,000 targeted householders in ‘blockage hot-spots’ where drainage blockages are common. The packs contained visual guides and handy equipment (like sink strainers), and the activity was successful in creating a measurable reduction in blockages in all areas targeted.
9. THEME PARKS
After months of closure, UK theme parks re-open from July 4th 2020. Most are already sold out for July so even with restricted numbers you can safely predict huge audiences of up to 20,000 thrill seekers every day. The selection of parks can be aligned to suit both your core demographic and budget to extend the coverage on peak days during the peak season.
The main parks all offer busy event spaces at their main exit points, enabling your brand to reach people before they make their journey home. This provides an ideal time for focussed engagement away from the screams of the rides and also the opportunity for presenting something the recipients can focus on and enjoy when back in their cars.
The biggest national reach parks include Alton Towers, Chessington, Dayton Manor and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. There are also plenty of parks for engaging audiences with younger families like Peppa Pig World, CBeebies Land and Lego Land too.
Our Photo Archive Example: Primula Cheese attracted thousands of children and their families to join the Nibbles Kids’ Club across to theme parks, with a fun and engaging catering experience to show off a range of family friendly recipe ideas, alongside children’s face painting, cheese shaped climbing frames and cute Mr & Mrs Nibbles mice mascots!
8. SHOPPING MALLS
After lockdown, retailers are on the back foot following closure so summer sales are of huge importance to win back the city centre from internet shoppers! Shopping malls across the UK all provide event sites for brands to access thousands of interested consumers, keen to take a break from their bargain hunting.
There are options for venues to suit all budgets and target audiences too: For those who want huge audience reach upwards of 100,000 people per day, the likes of Stratford’s Westfield and Manchester’s Trafford Centre are hard to beat. For those on a more modest budget, you are better off considering busy malls in smaller towns, which provide great reach, for a fraction of the budget. Plenty to pick from, such as Milton Keynes’ Centre MK which hosts a giant indoor beach play area for families each summer.
Our Photo Archive Example: Fruit cider brand Crabbies used a fruit themed pop-up styled as a giant shipping crate which opened up into an experiential sampling bar, to engage shoppers on a taste tour across the UK’s leading shopping malls.
7. RETAILER HEAD OFFICES IN Q3
In what has been the most turbulent of times, the retail landscape has been shaken far from where it previously was. To bring your brand to life above being a fragile digit on a spread sheet and secure your brand’s position on shelf you can take you brand experience directly to the retailers’ buying teams and VIPs who decide which brands stay and which go.
All of the major retailer head offices permit large scale sampling event days. Your pop-up brand experience can be set up in front of their key buildings where the buyers can be found (like Pear and Checkout buildings at Tesco HQ) or in front of their main entrance atriums (like Sainsburys at 33 Holborn).
Put on a tasty spread to show off your listed range alongside your latest NPD too. Fun games add the opportunity for emotional engagement and memorable banter in what is otherwise a dry corporate environment. Add in data capture for wider lead development and social media for public broadcasting across their corporate platforms too.
Our Photo Archive Example: Leading French bakery brand Brioche Pasquier brought in a vintage style bakery van and sampling experience to their key retail stockist Tesco to offer a delicious range of brunch and lunches, alongside a fun social media selfie area which helped them share their attendance widely to Tesco’s corporate audiences on LinkedIn.
There are many many reasons why this should be our number one recommendation, but we will sit it here as it is more charitable than commercial. To say THANK YOU to the nation’s NHS staff beyond a hand clap or rainbow poster, brands can and should donate some of their stock to fuel these heroes.
Cases of stock can be presented to nurses, doctors, porters, administrators and paramedics across hundreds of wards within each targeted hospital. Your brands’ samples are incredibly well received and help them both physically and mentally both during and after the Corona Crisis.
There are a lot of NHS hospitals to pick from, so you can narrow it down to your own regional preferences. You can focus on where your factories are, where your head office is or your retail stockists. Please do this, either using Link or your own teams – as it really does support their vital work.
Photo from our archives: Branston Pickle felt that it could brighten up the lunch times and floppy sandwiches of our NHS heroes, so it donated and presented 100,000 ‘pickle pots’ to hard working hospital staff across multiple regions in the midst of the Crisis.
5. OFFICE AREAS & STATIONS
While the UK’s largest and busiest stations and office areas are about 50% of their previous capacity, they are still perfect for reaching upwards of 30,000 professionals per area per day. More than enough for a small team of sampling staff to work through!
During summer, there is the added element of heat – so sampling anything refreshing either inside or in front of office areas and stations is incredibly popular. Just remember to keep your interaction brief, as while the audience reach is huge, the average dwell time around stations is short.
London is clearly the biggest area to focus on with a vast range of high density office areas and stations; but if budgets allow, you can and should reach other major cities across the UK too. If you sample in front of stations outside of London like Manchester or Leeds, etc – don’t forget you’ll need to line up regional permits from that city in advance.
Our Photo Archive Example: Kellogg’s Special K Protein Bars used portable sampling trikes for taste sampling reaching hundreds of thousands of young professionals directly in front of the UK’s largest tube and train stations to drive sales into WHS Travel, Tesco Express, Sainsburys Local and other office area stockists.
Between early panic buying, restaurants closing and shoppers now typically packing in one big shop per week – the sector that has actually had peak record sales during the Corona Crisis is grocery. Food shoppers are buying more than ever before; but with wages hit by many industries in slow down, budget brands will now be the default choice for many.
For the first time in recent memory, private label and premium brands who once held a comfortable market position will have to fight harder for sales and continued shelf space than ever before. If customers do not fully understand the benefit of why two roughly similar products are different in price, then the cheaper option will become their default.
Well organised sampling that is conducted directly in front of your grocery stockists is the strongest and most effective activity to deliver measurable sales growth for your brand. Effective options beyond the basic ‘Mable with a table’ are available at ALL chains, including Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Booths. Envision a creatively branded pop up experience that greets all shoppers on arrival, enthusiastically communicates your USPs, present your tasters and drives immediate and long term sustained sales growth from every store attended.
Our Photo Archive Example: Rustlers Burgers used experiential supermarket sampling to sell 315 burgers per store, per day on average, across a nationwide tour of 180 Tesco Extras and Tesco Superstores. The supermarket sampling roadshow was judged to be “The Most Effective Retail Sales Experience” at the 2018 Field Marketing and Brand experience Awards.
With social distancing measures in place across city centres, the queues leading into the retailers ares ideal for sampling to shoppers as they patiently wait in line.
High street convenience retail stockists like Waitrose, Co-op, Tesco Metro and Tesco Express, Sainsburys Local, Holland & Barrett, Boots and many others like them are all ideally suited to benefit from sampling on the busy high streets that these stores are located on.
For those on a tight budget, roaming sampling provides the ability to use portable sampling carts, trikes and sampling display trays to present and sample without the need for premium site fees or cost prohibitive event kit. For brands with static event areas, every city and suburb has a busy high street that is ideally suited to host your experiential event area.
Our Photo Archive Example: New innovation brand True Nopal Catcus Water, used a portable sampling cart to present, sample and sell its new healthy drinks by sampling in front of 50 high street Waitrose stores, uplifting sales in those stockists by as much as 383 units in one store in a single day. The convenience retailer focussed campaign was judged to be ‘The Most Effective Retail Sales Experience’ in the 2019 Field Marketing and Brand Experience Awards.
2. BRITISH BEACHES
With international flights restricted and air travel making even steel bellied passengers nervous, summer 2021 will be a renaissance for British holiday resorts.
The glorious beaches of Blighty have already seen record numbers of visitors just as soon as the first restrictions were relaxed. Now that the tourism sector is being re-opened, every beach, promenade and pier is hot property for promotional activity.
They are ideal for reaching families with children, who appreciate the sample and brand information, as their little ones dig into the golden sands.
To go beyond basic sampling, think of fun experiential activities in these locations. What fun games can be created which use the brand and product range to test the skill and create moments of joy with consumers.
Given that the UK is an island nation, the list of options is huge. You can find busy beaches in every region; but some worthy of a special mention include: Brighton, Newquay, Bournemouth, Blackpool, St Ives, Weymouth, Torquay, Eastbourne, Margate, Scarborough, Gower – to name a few.
Our Photo Archive Example: Leading suncream brand Boots Soltan deployed roaming sampling teams with suncream dispenser back packs across the UK’s busiest beaches. Consumers were given a free sample alongside a leaflet about the Soltan range and a voucher to convert purchase to a local Boots stockist.
1. URBAN AREA PARKS
Across fashionable suburbs of London and all major cities of the UK, friends and families are appreciating parks and green spaces more than ever before. In London this is amplified, as less than 35% of urban city dwellers have a garden of their own.
For fitness enthusiasts, capacity in gyms is now restricted and many members are put off by sharing sweaty indoor equipment, so the parks are attracting more people for work outs and time tracked runs than ever before too.
You can pick your parks to suit your demographic. If you are after young professionals n London, you have a wealth to pick from including: Clapham Common, Hampstead Heath, Regents Park, Battersea Park, Brockwell Park and Greenwich.
Our Photo Archive Example: Fulfil Nutrition used street teams to engage fitness enthusiasts in urban area parks to reach its core audience of health conscious young professionals, keen for a tasty reward to fuel their work out.
If you are inspired or just intrigued to find out more about where you can take your brand in 2020, get in touch for some interesting ideas, effective options and new campaign plans:
About the author:
Joel Kaufman is Managing Director and veteran founder of multi award-winning experiential agency, Link Communication.