MARCELL VON BERLIN Reps the Capital City

Founded by Marcell Pustul in 2012, MARCELL VON BERLIN uniquely blends couture and modern street style. Capturing the zeitgeist of the fast-moving German capital, the fashion label uses innovative materials and exclusive textiles to create multi-faceted pieces that pair with feminine silhouettes and present the biggest and brightest stars in the entertainment industry.

With an overall visual style based on lines, squares, and rectangles, from the design of its main menu (which is a literal sidebar) to the presentation of its Instagram feed, the website is modern with a capital “M”. Also, the logo of the label. Balancing the urban setting and reflective quality of the main image, which features a diverse group of models sporting fashion-forward glasses, metallic gear, and neon details, the background and bottom of the homepage are made up of neutral tones and natural elements.

An interactive element of the site, the final homepage gallery slide consists of a pair of models and a series of scattered links appearing as tiny “M”s leading to product pages. And it is the small things that make the German/English language site stand out.

For instance, instead of a “Home” tab, the website provides a fixed vertical link of the founder’s name to return to the core of the online source. The visitor can also use a vertical line of three miniature blocks to change the position of the page. Lastly, discovering either the Coutures or Spring/Summer 20 section of the site, the browser will come across a dynamic double slideshow. Although the look, feel, and style of the collections are totally different, the background of both slideshows features the site’s signature elements: lines, shapes, and order, photographing books and bookshelves, and open lockers and floor tiles, respectively.

On a Positive Note: #GuelphUnited

From inspirational messages and lifestyle tips to DIY projects and contest alerts, Stone Road Mall (SRM – Guelph, Canada) developed its #GuelphUnited initiative as a response to COVID-19. With its ongoing marketing goals in mind, the center executed a financially responsible plan to increase community support and strengthen its social platforms. Having previously established a community presence, SRM was able to generate local content and organize giveaways with “a skeleton crew administrating process.” Primarily counting on social media to spread its positive messaging and strengthen consumer engagement and reach, the marketing team elevated its digital game and exercised Facebook and Instagram, using their story and highlight-reel function, respectively. With #GuelphUnited, SRM solidified its position as a community leader.

“[With the closure of non-essential businesses within our shopping center, we had to pivot our marketing efforts drastically. We knew that engaging with the community through the COVID-19 crisis was essential to maintaining our strong presence within the community. Stone Road Mall prides itself of being a community leader and we wanted to construct a social media plan that embodied this. The hashtag #GuelphUnited was a natural fit and guided our messaging in an effort to engage our community for a common purpose, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic],” noted marketing manager, Christina Magee.

“[We took this opportunity to speak to the broader community, on their level, with personal messages of hope and gratitude for their support of Stone Road Mall, humanizing the robust center tenant messaging that occupied much of our public communications. By leading with positive messaging, we ensured that our content was meaningful, informative, and engaging our local patrons. Shopping local is now paramount in the minds of consumers. Stone Road Mall employs many people and its current image as accessible and community-driven provides us with a favorable position.]”

Managed by Primaris Management, SRM identified early on that its consumers were looking to local leaders to champion public health and safety guidelines. Understanding that perspective is everything, Magee believed that, even with the closing of the mall, a moment to prevail still existed. Responsible for the development and content creation of the initiative, B. Wallace Kennedy Production Management Inc. promised to stay true to the SRM brand. Brian Kennedy, the agency’s owner, laid out a plan that included a calendar of themed posts that supported its desired messaging. With online and social engagement up almost 500% over the previous year, SRM has heightened the attention of its followers and implemented the sharing of regularly curated activity on social media.

“We knew that the #GuelphUnited message was broad enough to use as a common thread throughout the public engagement initiative. We decided one key weekly theme to share was light-hearted, with positive quotes and personal messages, celebrating the resiliency of the human spirit during the pandemic and SRM’s gratitude. The quotes and messages were developed on-brand and to resonate with SRM’s target demographics. We also decided to showcase local groups and organizations that were taking action as a response to the negative impact that COVID-19 was having on the Guelph community. These groups, some of which were previously welcomed into the mall for [various] initiatives, were now invited to share in Stone Road Mall’s digital platform space,” Kennedy explained.

“Continuing throughout the week, in line with Public Health’s messaging, we shared helpful tips of ways people could better protect themselves. To diversify the messaging further, we created DIY activities that followers could do while at home. Highlighting a cross-section of categories from beauty and fashion to home décor, we included retailers’ DIYs as a way to support their digital presence. Building on the momentum of connecting with our followers throughout the week, every Friday we coordinated a giveaway on one of the mall’s social platforms through a ‘like’ and ‘comment’ call to action.”

Providing exposure to a tenant that remained open during the shutdown and was deemed essential, the giveaway asked followers to “like” or comment with their answer to a question that respected Public Health’s messaging. Due to a positive public response, SRM has continued to host the giveaways weekly to highlight retailers as they began the gradual process of reopening. Without compromising the momentum gained from its newly formed #GuelphUnited initiative, the center has been able to leverage the increase in brand awareness and public engagement throughout the initiative to support its tenants and share their reopening details via social media.

Proving it worth as a localized megaphone for SRM’s national retailers, #GuelphUnited helped the center earn 130,000+ organic impressions following the sixth week of the campaign. Rather than spending resources on paid social media advertising to boost the response, the center wanted to nurture its relationship with both retailers and community organizations to gain a more meaningful public response.

“We continue to recognize the importance that social media has in strengthening our brand awareness and its growing ability to engage with consumers through the development of new tools and functionalities,” Magee added.

“Looking ahead at future events and promotions, we must be prepared to adapt to reality. Consumers are listening, but they are also, thanks to our initiative, communicating back. It’s becoming evident that a more socially conscious consumer, with new shopping behaviors, will need to be accommodated as we usher in the ‘new normal,’ which isn’t very familiar yet.”

Opening the Door to a Closed Session

A revolution, a way of living, and a culture shift—the descriptions for Lorna Jane abound online. At its core, the brand is all about evolving a workout style into a shared mindset and a global movement that centers around the shopper. Credited with coining the term “activewear,” the founder of the self-named brand aims to empower women through active living and create further confidence relating to their health and wellbeing. As a response to its gradual reopening and leading public health and safety measure, Lorna Jane is offering 1:1 closed-door styling sessions. During reduced trading times, shoppers can book an appointment (30 minutes to 1 hour) with an active stylist at a local shop and experience “no-touch” bra and tight-fitting demonstrations and contactless payment methods via gift card, credit card, Afterpay, WeChat Pay, Apple Pay, and/or Zip Pay.

With COVID-19 emphasizing health and wellbeing, Lorna Jane is looking to maintain relevance, provide connectivity, and increase its offering. Simply book an appointment online (with a desired time and location) and the in-store team will organize the overall personalized approach to retailing and, most importantly, call in advance to speak with the customer and learn more about what it is she wants from the experience and prepare the store ahead of time.

“The vision of the closed-door styling sessions [is] to provide our customers with a safe environment where they could receive styling advice, technical product information, and connect with someone outside of their immediate family who [shares] their love of health and fitness,” company founder and chief creative offer, Lorna Jane Clarkson explained.

Along with additional cleaning measures and methods in place, Lorna Jane has expanded its First Wear initiative, which the company has been practising in-store for some time. Based on minimizing skin-to-product contact, it allows shoppers to purchase freshly packaged garments that haven’t been tried on or touched by anyone outside of the clean space factories. Although she says the reopening process is a balance of safety for all, government directives, and consumer needs, the next steps of the company include educating shoppers on the benefits of First Wear and integrating the personalized approach to browsing and buying as a permanent part of the in-store Lorna Jane customer experience. Also, on the go: The introduction of LJShield, the sustainable and eco-friendly coating, which when applied to the garments protects shoppers from bacteria, mold, viruses, and funguses. Originally scheduled to be released in September, the company launched LJShield in July given its commitment to customer safety and COVID-19.

As a result of the public response to offering the styling service, Lorna Jane recognized an existing and continuing demand within its target market. Clarkson added that the one-on-one experience enhanced the brand’s narrative, making customers feel more connected to the messaging and motivated to make healthy living choices and changes. Beyond offering that personal experience, the styling session is about forming a genuine connection and showing customers that the Lorna Jane team is willing to do more for them when they need it most.

“[COVID-19 has brought the online and in-store experience closer than ever before. We are finding that, instead of shopping exclusively either online or in-store, our customers are now more open to shopping between the two. [They are doing their research online and picking up in-store],” Clarkson noted.

“[We are such a digitally connected society that this was destined to happen, but I think the pandemic fast-tracked it. Recent times have created more of a one-customer mindset for our business. We are focused on creating a consistent experience from online to in-store].”

Beauty Talk: Breaking It Down Virtually

Changing marketing course isn’t all bad news for Pacific Retail. Its COSMECON beauty-focused extravaganza won’t crowd the mall halls, but it will engage shoppers from eight different properties online this coming September 26, instead of the four originally scheduled to host the on-site tours.

The packed virtual program will feature local and global brands. On the roster: Interactions with make-up artists, live masterclasses, “get ready with me” videos, social influencer panels, product launches and spotlights, and mini-workshops. The participating properties serve shoppers in Chicago, L.A., New York City, Raleigh, Ridgeland, San Jose, Sandy, and Santa Barbara

Volume 25: Summer 2020 Edition

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