Kipling earlier this month brought its Make Happy campaign to New York City, distributing flowers, metro cards, sweet treats and Kipling-branded gifts to busy commuters passing through Herald Square. If its bright pink branded truck wasn’t enough to catch their attention, the friendly brand ambassadors who invited them to stop and share what makes them happy usually did the trick, especially when they pointed out the menu posted on the side of the truck with fun prizes to chose from.
“We see commuting as one component of the busy day of our consumer, and that is how we approach it,” says Kathy Hines, vp of marketing at Kipling N.Am, which last year brought out a line of bags just for commuters. “Our research tells us that once a consumer knows our brand and has the opportunity to experience and live with one of our bags, we have them for life. If we can just get them to know us, they are going to love us.
Kipling’s commuter sampling effort was so successful, it will expand the program throughout the year ahead. Your product and your consumer may be different from Kipling’s colorful bags and the fun-loving females that favor them, but following are some pointers to keep in mind for your next sampling event:
Be relevant. “We know one of the most critical and repetitive parts of our consumer’s life is commuting. For us, it becomes less about commuting and more about becoming relevant to something that is a very critical component of her day everyday,” Hines says. “We want of course to get in front of her when she is commuting, but not just with our message, but also with our product.”
Let them pace the engagement. “When we intersect consumers on the street, we leave the engagement up to them,” Hines says. “We know that they are trying to get on with their day. We want to be relevant and bring some happiness to their day but not be annoying or intrusive. We take cues from our consumer.”
A crowd draws a crowd. Once you’ve got peoples’ attention, the excitement builds from there. “We notice that in retail stores as well,” Hines says. “If there is a sense of buzz or busy-ness in the store, it makes more people likely to stop and see what all the fuss is about.”