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Coach Airways opens in MY: Why pop-ups end up being so popular with luxury brands

Coach Airways opens in MY: Why pop-ups end up being so popular with luxury brands

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American luxury fashion brand Coach has recently launched a new air travel themed boutique called Coach Airways at Freeport A'Famosa Outlet in Malacca.

Located in an actual airplane, the themed boutique space is decked out in Coach’s vintage iconography with a cockpit and aircraft seats along with racks of its apparel and bags.

This is not the first we have seen of Coach exploring unique executions for its campaigns. Across the pond in Singapore, Coach opened its very own coach café, which was also home to the brand’s debut bespoke concept store in Asia. Another execution that grabbed eyeballs was its ‘Coach on the Move’ initiative, a bespoke holiday experience that was carried out across four major cities in Malaysia in December last year.

Executing these exciting initiatives has undoubtedly added a few feathers in Coach’s creativity hat, especially since these executions have gained much traction on social media platforms. However, what does it add to a fashion brand's identity when it explores activations such as this?

Joey Gan, the country manager of PRecious Comms Malaysia said that she can definitely see the short to medium-term benefits for Coach’s branding in terms of keeping its brand fresh and exciting, which is what works with the Gen Z audience.

These pop-ups often are successful as their elaborate concepts allow for unique backdrops for social media content. Consequently, the brand gains more publicity.

For Aaron Lim, creative director of physical experience at Design Bridge and Partners, Coach Airways posed to be a disruptive and engaging way to build experiences for its audiences. "As a believer in successful brands are those that truly connect and inspire people in meaningful and emotional ways, to me the Coach Airways boutique does the same. Put the gathering of attention and gaining traffic to Freeport A’Famosa Outlet aside, Coach gave it contextual relevancy and is telling a story, a history, connecting the brand and its product to air travel, and to people."

What especially stood out to Lim was that no expense was spared in transcending the boundary of surrealism - from aircraft seats and the plane ticket checks at the air bridge to actually deploying a real aircraft for the boutique.

"This would be a memorable experience for anyone who 'took the flight' with Coach," he added. 

Don't miss: Coach launches new air travel themed boutique inside actual airplane

However, what is needed for a pop-up to be successful?

Gan sees pop-ups as a brilliant way to expand the brand across different channels. She believes that they are an incredible strategy to broaden the brand's reach across various channels. “Coach is nailing it by creating engaging environments that stand out from typical malls,” she said.

This makes the brand more accessible and allows them to connect with a wider audience. “And let's not forget about the "plane on the ground" experience—it's all about indulging in sensory pleasure in a unique way,” she explained.

To succeed in today's sporadic retail market, Gan thinks that brands must prioritise establishing and reinvigorating their connection with ever-changing consumers.

“These temporary pop-ups have to be nothing short of captivating, whether it's through visually stunning displays, immersive sensory experiences, irresistible visitor benefits, or perhaps even a combination of all three. Not to mention the location too. With Coach Airways strategically located in vibrant Melaka, a buzzing tourism hotspot, these connectors work just that much better together,” she added.

In agreement with Gan, Lim posits that pop-ups are the perfect opportunity for brands to experiment and collaborate on a brand idea, a campaign, or a communication platform. "It provides an avenue for brands to deliver meaningful message, or make a stand for a cause, so audience can see brands more than just a name, a logo, but as living personas with an ideal," he said.

While consistency is key to building a strong brand, Lim is of the opinion that pop-ups allow the brands to diversify and explore its many faces and deliver them to the audience in order to have long-term success. As a creative director of physical experience, he is no stranger to the process of building brand experiences.  "We as human beings are sensory-driven, and therefore, only a physical experience could engage all those senses altogether in a space. However, a successful brand pop-up lies not only in just building a physical space," Lim explained. 

To achieve a successful pop-up, Lim pointed out three steps:

  1.  Bringing the brand to life by translating the brand identity into tangible and real experiences. 
  2.  Making sure the experience is unique and ownable to the brand, and that can be associated and remembered.
  3. To consider the full experience journey, and this often means having to bridge the physical and digital experiences so the audience stays connected with the brands in and outside of the physical space. This would be a long-term success to aim for, for any brands.

Related articles:
Coach launches new air travel themed boutique inside actual airplane
Coach takes its roving Christmas playground across Malaysian states
Coach and Lil Nas X break down doors to encourage self-expression

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