30 October 2021
Northern Ireland’s premier outlet shopping centre drives uplift in footfall and sales
Back in 2017, we were tasked with the rebrand and relaunch of The Outlet, Northern Ireland’s only outlet shopping destination, with the objective of attracting more premium brands to the scheme that would, in turn, entice a younger and more affluent demographic.
Developing a new identity
Rising to the challenge, we played an integral role in repositioning the scheme, developing a new identity to take it from a mid-range offering to being Northern Ireland’s premier outlet shopping destination and identifying a local audience that would drive growth and demand the type of brands befitting this new positioning. This process was complemented by the planning of a strategic, staged 360 marketing communications campaign, supported by a robust PR strategy to communicate the new brand and all it represents to both potential new retailers and the local catchment to build interest, drive footfall and – ultimately – increase sales.
The launch campaign period drove a 26% uplift in footfall and an impressive 33% increase in sales, plus a staggering 81% of our footfall converted to sales. it also contributed to a number of exciting new retail brands joining The Boulevard, including Adidas, Kurt Geiger, Jack & Jones and Asics.
Teaser campaign and pre-launch
To build intrigue and awareness around the forthcoming launch, a teaser video was created to inform the target audience that something exciting was underway. The new name was kept under wraps at this stage, but hinted at with the letter B featuring heavily alongside the key message “The Outlet is evolving…”. Following this, to ramp up interest and keep the story alive, the center’s new name, The Boulevard, was announced for the first time along with the launch date and more detail around the changes underway.
In the run-up to the official launch, we made The Boulevard name common knowledge to ensure that the regional audience was aware of and excited about the forthcoming activities. This was communicated through a series of radio ads and billboards shouting about the Fashion Weekenders and associated on-site entertainment; everything was designed to embody and celebrate the new name and drive visitation for the launch.
The Boulevard’s thrilling launch encompassed two ‘Fashion Weekenders’ comprising fashion shows that featured the season’s hottest looks, make-up demos and workshops, a VIP lounge, in-store events, special discounts, and on-site entertainment. We also secured a Paul Costelloe exclusive to add a touch of glamour and exclusivity to the occasion. The event created a carnival atmosphere on-site that drove a 26% uplift in footfall and an impressive 33% increase in sales across the period, plus a staggering 81% of our footfall converted to sales.
Our intense marketing and communications campaign period also contributed to a number of exciting new retail brands joining The Boulevard, including Adidas, Kurt Geiger, Jack & Jones, Asics, The Beauty Outlet, and Ulster Weavers.
Fast forward a few years and the success story continues. The brand has continued to develop and the marketing with it, ensuring The Boulevard stays ahead of the game. The scheme saw consecutive growth every quarter since the relaunch until COVID struck and since reopening earlier this year the performance has bucked the trend, outstripping all of its competitors with strong footfall and spend, as well as a healthy pipeline of new stores continuing to open.
Rebranding is not as simple as a new identity. That is just the start of the journey and it takes years of continual work to establish that brand and set it apart from the pack. None of us have rested on our laurels and the hard work paid off this year with us winning the Global RLI award for the most innovative marketing for the recent campaigns we have delivered for the Boulevard. The scheme continue to go from strength to strength and we love playing our part in its success.