eTail Europe 2021

London, UK

Anya Hindmarch Uses Immersive Experiences to Engage Its Audience

Online brands can often feel a little detached from their audiences. The very nature of being online can create a certain distance between customer and company.

Most brands get around this by using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In fact, some of the more successful commercial social media accounts have almost developed a personality of their own and become minor celebrities in themselves, thanks to websites such as Buzzfeed or The Poke featuring lists of their best content.

However, some online brands, such as UK-based fashion retailer Anya Hindmarch take things a step further and bring their audiences more physical experiences.

Anya Hindmarch

The first evidence of this new strategy appeared on Valentine's Day 2018 when Anya Hindmarch revealed a unique method of spreading awareness of its brand to the people of London.

The public design project used famous London landmarks as the backdrop - including Battersea Power Station, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and Covent Garden - and took the form of several giant heart balloons flying from these iconic locations. The balloons were visible across the city for the duration of London Fashion Week. Hindmarch worked with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the British Fashion Council, City of Westminster Council, and the Civil Aviation Society on the project.

"The idea for this project came to me whilst sitting in a packed Royal Festival Hall," said Founder and CEO, Anya Hindmarch. "I was in awe of the resilience of Londoners and the city's visitors. Tying giant helium filled Chubby Hearts onto buildings all over the city is simply a surprise love letter to London, a tribute to its strength and a celebration of our amazing creative city."

London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, added, "As London Fashion Week showcases the capital to the world, these huge heart balloons animating our great spaces and architecture will show once again that London is open to talent and creativity and gives it a warm welcome."

Next came the "Chubby Cloud." Installed in Whitehall's Banqueting House during the following London Fashion Week in August 2018, the Chubby Cloud is the world's biggest beanbag. Visitors could lie on the Cloud and look up at the banqueting house's ornate 17th century Rubens ceiling - the largest surviving work by the artist still in its original location in Europe.

The Chubby Cloud was designed to be congruent with Anya Hindmarch's autumn/winter 2018 collection which had a cloud theme running through its pieces.

"Inspired by our Chubby Collection, the world's biggest beanbag will - quite literally - immerse people in our brand whilst listening to and experiencing things that we love," said Hindmarch.

Immersive Customer Experience

Now that February 2019's London Fashion Week has been and gone, Anya Hindmarch is ready to make waves once again.

The latest innovative and immersive experience offered to Anya Hindmarch's customers is inspired by one of the brand's new handbag designs - the spring/summer 2019 Neeson bag - and is dubbed The Weave Project.

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Located this time at Brewer Street Car Park, The Weave Project takes the form of a giant mesh climbing frame. Customers can explore the maze to their heart's content before relaxing in the on-site cafe and browsing a pop-up store selling exclusive Anya Hindmarch merchandise.

"The Weave Project will be a completely immersive and playful installation that you can experience from the inside out," said Hindmarch. "Following on from the Chubby Cloud, we like to take our customers on the journey behind the inspiration for our collections, in this case The Neeson. This is a beautiful sculpture and a complex project to bring to life, but one that I can't wait to share."

Final Thoughts

Anya Hindmarch made its reputation mostly through its Instagram presence. By offering these innovative experiences in the physical world, it inspires customers to create not just memories, but also social media content which they will be more than happy to share around the web and help to promote the brand.

One of the joys of social media marketing is you can get your customers to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. All you need are some innovative ideas to inspire them, and it seems Anya Hindmarch has that in spades.

You can hear Anya Hindmarch's Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technical Officer, Daniel Orteu, speak at eTail Europe 2019, taking place in June at the QEII Centre, Westminster, London.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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