Our local school just loves a theme day. Whilst it strikes fear into the heart of this very un-crafty mum, somehow this year alone I have produced a great number of costumes - and handed over the requisite gold coin for a very average sausage sandwich/luke warm croissant/second hand book/<insert your item here>…
But why not? It gets the kids engaged, it gets everyone to stop and focus on the theme, everybody reaches into their pocket, (and is probably a great way to get rid of the unused stock from the last theme day.)
Retailers have already cottoned onto this idea. Why, Aldi has a theme day twice a week! Catalogues and emails and huge posters announce their current theme of the bi-week. You have to rustle through pallets full of stuff but you know in advance what you are looking for so it feels more akin to digging for treasure rather than a jumble sale. And better get in quick because goodness me all the good gardening/home entertainment/care car gear will go fast! (But not as fast as the blink and you’ll miss it – were there people queuing for those from dawn? - Elsa from Disney’s Frozen costumes.)
The larger supermarkets love a theme too. Woolworths has currently gone to town with Halloween: Squishy lolly eyeball anyone? And do you want a costume, a drink bottle and a carry bag to go with that whilst you are there?
Even our local council has bought into a theme, encouraging businesses on the high strip to offer lollies to avid trick or treaters (and stay for dinner or buy some snags whilst you are at it).
There’s a lot to be learnt here for brands.
Shoppers can be paralysed by choice in their local supermarket and without reason to change their habits, will fill their trolley as usual, perhaps pausing by the odd special. There are lots of products on the shelf, all doing their usual bit to entice themselves into a shopping basket. Which is all good if you are the dominant brand or the growing brand or the brand with the massive advertising budget, but what if you need to stand out from the crowd and make a bit of noise?
Think themes! How can your brand stop the consumer in its tracks, become the focus for a moment in time, and hence encourage the consumer to reach into their pocket? There is a raft of occasions out there which your consumers are enjoying (coming right up – Halloween, Melbourne Cup, end of school, Summer Holidays Christmas, New Year, Start of school, Australia Day…the list goes on.) Or you could just make one up, as I would swear Ikea does (what are all those Swedish holidays anyway and do we really need pickled fish to celebrate? But it certainly reinforces the core brand essence of Ikea.)
Building a promotion, activation or a limited edition product around a theme gives it standout, a role for the product in the consumer’s life which drives not just purchase but also consumption, and might just transfer a bit of ‘happy by association’ back to your brand if it is experienced in a positive setting. Obviously the better ideas are ones which can also reinforce core brand values or highlight brand attributes which are currently recessive. Think creatively and you can find a way.*
And by the way, if you are in the mood to begin, Aldi currently has $10 Halloween costumes but get in fast or you’ll miss them!
*Or Bedrock Insight is happy to help you think creatively in an idea generation workshop!