How Office Depot and Poppin Made Back to School Cooler With Content, Community and Deals
If Teen Vogue's Back to School Saturday wasn't proof of how successful a multichannel, multitactic back-to-school campaign can be, I don't know what was. That campaign integrated original Teen Vogue content with offers from leading brands and retailers, and brought it all together with a live, teen-focused event. Videos circulated online for months after the August extravaganza.
Of course you don't need to host a fashion show or hire the iCarly gang to find back-to-school success. You do need to build your campaign on the same principals as Teen Vogue, however, leveraging your own unique content to build community and conversations via live or social channels, then tying in exclusive offers that incentivize consumers to make a purchase.
Office Depot "Gets" Tweens With Exclusive Content
Office Depot has always been a master at the back-to-school game. This year, it made a huge splash by partnering with tween/teen sensation One Direction for an exclusive product line. Much of the content and community building focuses on a cause marketing campaign aimed at creating bully-free schools. The "1D+OD Together Against Bullying" initiative was the centerpiece of the merchandising deal, and a portion of sales of the exclusive, limited-edition product collection went to funding anti-bullying education. Conversations on Office Depot's lively Facebook page focused on the products and their valuable message — and it resonated. A photo-based post on July 5 received 63,000 likes and 2,500 shares.
To enhance the community engagement aspect of the campaign, the images on the One Direction products "come to life" using augmented reality technology embedded in Office Depot's mobile app, which unlocks exclusive video content of the band. (I'm sure this inspired a lot of social sharing and posts that read, "OMG! So cool!")
With respect to deals, Office Depot has been smart about making exclusive, limited-time offers to its Facebook fans, outside of its weekly circulars. It also shares deals with select affiliates (most notably mommy bloggers) and through its long-standing partnership with MyPoints, an online loyalty shopping site, both of which serve to extend the reach and impact of the brand's campaigns.
Emery Skolfield, senior director of marketing at Office Depot, had this advice to offer to other marketers looking for success with seasonal marketing campaigns:
- Be the only one. Develop exclusive, limited-edition product to differentiate from competitors, and ensure that message (you can only get it here!) is clear in all marketing.
- Make it interactive. Use digital to add layers of interactivity to the product you're selling (e.g., access exclusive content with mobile, social activations, etc.).
- Make it mobile. Ensure every piece of campaign content and all shopping experiences are optimized for easy handheld access and use.
- Activate influencers. Who MUST know about your message? Who can help you most effectively share it outward? Identify those people, contact them and keep them involved throughout.
- Spread the word. Link up with a popular rewards program to hit the right audience to get your message out.