Brands are getting up close and personal with their consumers, offering new opportunities to open up about intimate topics.
From food retailers to fashion houses, brands are moving beyond their products to offer services and experiences that encourage self-reflection—all in an effort to promote wellness and deepen brand relationships.
Lidl is lending an ear to those who need someone to talk to. The German supermarket chain is hosting a series of pop-up cafés in Ireland encouraging young people to speak openly about mental health issues. The traveling pop-up, called The Bakery, launched in Dublin on August 21, 2018. Alongside the cafés, Lidl offers events designed to promote mental wellbeing such as laughter yoga, meditation and sing-along socials. Proceeds from the events will go to the One Good Adult campaign, run by Jigsaw, the Irish National Centre for Youth Mental Health, which provides mental health support to young people.
“It’s not often that we get to sit down and take a moment in our busy lifestyles,” says The Bakery ambassador Maria Walsh. “Lidl’s pop-up The Bakery provides a safe space to relax with a cup of tea, some tasty treats and to speak about youth mental health or even lend an ear to someone who needs it most.” The activities, she says, are meant to “leave you feeling good inside—all in aid of youth mental health.”
Lola is helping people open up about sexual health. The women’s wellness company’s “Let’s Talk About It” campaign, launched in July 2018, features a public hotline with prerecorded messages about common sex questions and concerns. “We wanted to find a way to use advertising to drive a touchy conversation,” Lola cofounder Jordana Kier told Racked, adding that the campaign provides “an opportunity to ask questions and feel supported.” The hotline received over 1,600 calls—from men and women—within the first week of the campaign.
“Lola is a brand built on access and transparency. We wanted to highlight those attributes by creating a first-of-its-kind hotline featuring an original audio series about people’s personal experiences,” said Laura Correnti, partner at Giant Spoon, the agency behind the campaign, in an interview with the Drum. “Lola has opened up the line to normalize and destigmatize conversations about sex.”
Women’s clothing brand Tuxe, which makes luxury bodysuits, is using free performance coaching to help its customers feel more confident. With each Tuxe purchase, customers gain access to one of 10 prerecorded sessions from women’s business coach Ianna Raim. The sessions, which range over topics from how to deal with setbacks to how to set life goals, were inspired by Tuxe founder Tamar Daniel’s own experience with professional hurdles. “Since working with Ianna and transforming my own mindset, I’ve been thinking of ways to provide access to the same important messaging to our customers,” Daniel explains in a promotional video. Daniel says she hopes this service will “accompany customers further than just their purchase.”
Coach is also attempting to connect with its clients on a deeper, more personal level. In June 2018, the luxury brand launched Life Coach, a week-long pop-up in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood designed to inspire spirituality and creativity. Carlos Becil, chief marketing officer for Coach, told WWD that the idea behind Life Coach was “to construct an environment that encouraged self-expression.” The space included four interactive rooms of fortune telling, tarot readings, games and art. The pop-up also offered events such as a sound bath meditation led by mystic the Hoodwitch, and an astrology workshop hosted by the AstroTwins.
“Brands today are realizing they need to be more multidimensional and they have to engage customers in a way that’s not about the sale but about inviting them into a world,” Jack Bedwani, founder of The Projects, the consultancy firm behind Life Coach, told Glossy. “That’s how you create connections today.”