West elm hired Bond to support the launch of its New Orleans store in fall 2014, the brand’s first store in Louisiana. As a result of our success, we’ve helped west elm open new stores in 27 markets across the country to date.
Bond Moroch’s goal was to raise awareness of the brand in each of the 13 New Store Opening (NSO) markets for 2016. To establish west elm in the communities, we were tasked with securing media attendance to the grand opening as well as media coverage about the new store in traditional print and online outlets with a larger focus on broadcast. The team also wanted to engage with social media influencers and bloggers.
We anticipated challenges from opening a retail chain in historically renovated neighborhoods. To combat backlash of a national retailer entering the market, we put the west elm LOCAL initiative to the forefront of our messaging. A collection of handcrafted, hand-picked products, west elm LOCAL seeks to share the work of local makers with customers across the country. We took our approach a step further by partnering with a locally-based nonprofit in each of the markets to co-host the private pre-opening celebration. A portion of the evening’s proceeds benefited the respective nonprofit partner.
Additional store opening activities included a sweepstakes exclusive to residents of the new store’s city, offering local customers a chance to win a $2,000 gift card and an invitation to the celebration. Lastly, west elm partnered with a locally-based artist to design a limited edition tote bag that was presented to the first 300 shoppers with a $50 minimum purchase on opening day.
Results & Impact
From June – November 2016, we connected with west elm customers at a record level, achieving 72.3 million media impressions for all North American NSOs, a 45% increase in impressions per NSO from 2015.
We hosted 161 media tours, including our first Facebook Live in-store tour. An average of 11 media appointments per NSO generated 222 print, online and broadcast placements in local markets – a 28% increase over 2015.
With our goal to focus on securing broadcast coverage, we successfully doubled the number of TV segments YOY with a record 14 on-air mentions in each of the following markets: Palm Springs, Greensboro, and Savannah.
We elevated our LOCAL initiative with attention-grabbing headlines in Summerlin and beyond, such as “West Elm Serves as Communal Hub for Celebrating Local Creativity and Craft” from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. We successfully got the message of West Elm’s LOCAL commitment across with mentions of the program and/or participating makers in 62% of all NSO coverage.
As a result of west elm’s nonprofit partnerships, the brand donated a total of $32,500 to animal, arts, and historic preservation causes that make an impact in its new communities – nearly tripling funds raised YOY.
The west elm team collected nearly 6,000 RSVPs, increasing the number of attendees at the pre-opening celebrations by 20% YOY. They activated 28 local vendors from food and beverage to photography to have a hand in the events.