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22 November 2017

Insight 3: Inclusive Placemaking

In Xcite’s three-part series, we look at the trends disrupting the event industry of tomorrow. Our Insights team reflect on how consumers will turn from Passive Observers to Loyal Brand Advocates.

Insight 3: Inclusive Placemaking

Consumer-first, personalised activations have a much broader reach than purely brand-centric events. By making experiences that marry audience interests with a brand’s identity, we optimise the scope of their appeal.

Yet best-in-class initiatives reveal carving a well-loved destination is much more than highlighting the facilities on site. The real art comes from creating the ideal atmosphere.

The way to ignite that atmosphere? People.

The age-old expression that ‘people make a place’ couldn’t reign truer in 2018. The more a destination signals its inclusivity, the more people it will attract. Diverse audiences enable spaces to become destinations known for their vibrancy and creativity. This energy has a magnetic effect attracting more visitors and securing a destination’s success.

At Xcite our creative process begins with the interests of audiences. We know their needs, desires and interests before they even know them themselves. It’s how we conceive varied activations personalised to differing audiences so that everyone can feel they have their own unique connection with a place.

Shoppers, locals, tourists, city-workers, and families must equally feel included in a space if it is to remain centered on the map and remembered as a vibrant, must-visit place. As tension and division become central topics in parliament and the media, 2018 will see quality destinations have a real power to pull people together.

At Xcite, we pride ourselves on our ability to conceive events, occasions and long-term experiential strategies that pave the way for everyone to enjoy the benefits of development. It’s how our Placemaking initiatives in 2018 will ensure the spaces we work with remain at the top of people’s minds as game-changing destinations.

06 July 2018

Summer Holiday Sustainability: How retailers can craft eco-friendly family time this Summer

Sand, sea and sustainability. This Summer shoppers will be out in force, looking for holiday-ready ranges and ways to occupy little ones. Yet there’s something greater emerging on our Summer agenda: Sustainable living.

With hard environmental headlines hitting everyone, consumers have shifted focus from buying more to buying better. So how can retailers be at the center of 2018’s eco-efforts whilst attracting shoppers to enjoy precious family time?

Get Green-Fingered

We’ve been working with green herbal pioneers to curate special-edition workshops. Inspiring guests to connect with nature and learn about everyday garden herbs, our workshops enable all ages to create mini-terrariums. Guests leave with all the knowledge needed to keep up their indoor gardens- great for shoppers without outdoor planting space. Every family-member can be involved; a memorable way for parents to cement precious bonds with kids. What’s more, everyone gets to enjoy a take-home terrarium memento of their time. Retailers find their reputation rapidly growing as the top place for quality family time to sprout!

Up-cycling Activations

Heard of the expression ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’? Well this 2018, this phrase could never be truer. All around us, we’re immune to seeing throwaway goods. Perhaps it’s time to think of our trash as treasures. We’ve launched an array of activities designed to re-cycle and up-cycle the items we waste. The result? Unique crafts consumers can take home. Ever thought about how a plastic milk bottle looks like an elephant? Maybe not. But with clever decoration, handles turn into trunks and friendly faces emerge- much to the delight of little ones. With many more up-cycling activations on our agenda, now’s the time to captivate audiences with imaginative eco-crafts.

Bee B&B

Britain’s bees are in trouble! 35 UK bee species are under threat of extinction. This is where retailers can help! Our unique Bee B&B activations offer all the family the chance to be heroes that help nature. Children become hands-on crafters of hives using bamboo sticks. Painting and decorating them with bright colours, their creations become bee-attractive homes. A resident expert is on-hand to explain to little ones the importance of their efforts meaning kids know they’ve helped the plight of their much-loved stripy friends, creating B&Bs that encourage pollen creation. With kids bonding with parents, siblings and friends, it’s an ideal way for everyone to feel the Summer buzz!

To gain inspiration from our team on how to activate your Summer sustainability strategy, contact us at info@xcitecm.com or 020 8531 5869.

06 July 2018

Get Your Game: On Digital Activations for forward-thinking retailers

We know the score. Everyone’s sitting watching digital screens and family-interaction is at an all-time low. Yet emerging technology has an incredible capacity to connect people together. Which Is why we’ve dreamt up a powerful way to re-direct consumer-use of their smartphones. What’s more our solution not only cements long-lasting ties between people but it also connects people to retailers.

How? We’ve created a range of tech-driven games. Consumers simply have to download our specially designed app and they’re sent on a treasure-trail across your retail space. Their on-screen virtual world maps out your shopping space as consumers enjoy real-world interaction with the brands they love and the brands they’re about to love.

Along the way, shoppers solve clues and puzzles, stopping off at our specially-designed activity hives strategically placed in specific retail spots. Friends and family alike can opt to compete with one another or just play on their own, ensuring that everyone can be included in the fun.

What’s more, we’ll customise your game-app with your own bespoke branding and can even integrate it with your centre’s own app. With your centre coming alive in digital form, our custom app games are the perfect way to engage consumers now and well into the future.

To check out the virtual world we can integrate with your reality, speak to one of our team on info@xcitecm.com or call 020 8531 5869.

06 July 2018

The Big Student Shop: Student-shoppers are savvier than ever. Retailers must magnetise uni-bound trend-hunters…

Summer may be in full swing but those back-to-uni days are just around the corner. Always on the hunt for a stylish bargain, a night full of treats is the perfect encouragement for uni-bound trend-hunters to stock-up. Whilst in-store discounts are ideal for cash-strapped students, we’ve designed an array of special packages for retailers to set the party atmosphere alive:

Tier 1 - Branded Specials

Students love a freebie. Yet for retailers, giving away free branded items is the perfect way to encourage the student rush. What’s more, goodies that are printed with your brand name and slogan are a simple way of creating long-lasting ties with your target audience. Once students have your branded item in hand, their affiliation with your brand increases and they’re more likely to have positive memories of what the brand means within their world.

At Xcite we’ve dreamt up an array of creative branded items. Working with everyone from Rushden Lakes to the Victoria Centre to London’s East Village, we’ve worked up merchandise including balloons, cupcakes, ice cream tubs, bags and artwork. We create bespoke ideas for every retail centre so that your Student Night can be one-of-a-kind.

Tier 2- Immersive Entertainment

What better way to create an immersive night of fun than with stand-out entertainment? We’ve hand-picked top talent that are sure to offer students an evening to remember. With acts including roaming stilt walkers, DJs, caricaturists, live bands and face painters, students can shop, chill and feel those festival vibes.

Tier 3 - Experiential Activations

Work and play are all part of the student lifestyle. So how can retailers become the go-to destination for students wanting down-time? By being central to student ‘play-time’.

With our ‘Grab-it’ activation, students are immersed in their very own gameshow, pressing a big gold button to see what prizes they can potentially win. Entering a ball-pit, students will have 10 seconds to collect 5 golden balls to win the big prize. Complete with our audio-visual extravanganza, this is an excellent way to build hype, create social-media ready moments as students gain exclusive offers, discounts, prizes and in-store gift-cards.

To chat to our team and discover how we can help you create a student night to be remembered, contact us on info@xcitecm.com or call 020 8531 5869. 

24 May 2018

Together we Enjoy

Shifting family models mean everyone now enjoys the fun.

School Holidays. A precious moment for families and one of the busiest times in the retail calendar.

Endless days-to-fill mean the pressure is on retailers to keep little-ones entertained and parents stress-free. Yet a new-wave of thinking has arrived.

Let’s have a look at the full story. Once upon-a-time, retail centers were a trusted beacon for kid’s holiday entertainment. Harassed parents could stock up on new wardrobe staples for trips away, safe in the knowledge that their kids were kept-busy with child-friendly activities.

Today dynamics have changed. Longer working-hours mean family-time is rare. More-and-more consumers choose to shop-online. Families don’t want time off to be spent in silo.

Which is where retailers can help. By paving the way for the whole family to connect, brands build legacies. They’re known as the go-to place for families to enjoy meaningful moments. Whole-family activations mean shopping centers become central hubs. People choose to spend time in them, not by necessity but to make those vital bonds.

The ideal way to include everyone? Tech-driven family games. At Xcite we’ve harnessed the power of digital to conceive activities designed for all. Customising our bespoke-app with retail centers’ own branding or integrating the center’s own app, we deliver treasure-hunt games with a virtual twist.

Visitors work together to solve clues and puzzles on a smart-phone based treasure-hunt around the center. Stopping off at our activity hubs and finding treasures in retail spots, everyone has the opportunity to be involved. Consumers discover shopping finds they previously may never have found. Parents watch little-ones bonding. And ultimately retail-centers are placed top of the agenda as the go-to place to experience holiday fun.

To take a look at how we can help your brand or center becomes top of families’ agendas, why not contact our team?

24 May 2018

First Sight of Summer

Catching a look at the catwalk for new-season styles.

Summer is showing its first hints. Yet a long-lasting Winter means consumers search for escape. This Spring/Summer, they need look no further than our bright catwalks.

Connecting consumers to the looks they’re soon-to-love is vital for securing loyalty as they hunt for new wardrobe staples. So how better to stay on their style-radar than with live, entertaining catwalk shows?

This season we designed, installed, produced and styled runway shows across the country.

Our long-standing collaboration with Canary Wharf sees us produce over 20 shows over a 3-day period, four times a year. This Spring we created a Millennial dream. Our bespoke stage design came complete with hints of Millennial pink and florals accenting the sides. Sending 12 models down the catwalk, our vivid audio-visuals brought the show alive. Our talented stylist JP was on-hand to curate the chicest looks from across the participating retailers. The winning trends? Bold block colours, mismatched florals and of course, shades of Millennial Pink!

At the Centre MK, our custom-designed stage is built as a cross, mirroring the centre’s own shape. Installing the set, our carefully placed lighting and sound systems allow visitors to walk around the stage for a 360-degree experience. Over 2 days we produce every element of our 11 catwalk shows, liaising with retailers to inspire shoppers. JP compered the show, enlightening audiences on fashion tips to stay-ahead. This Spring/Summer a panel discussion with local bloggers and influencers left consumers brimming with style-tips.

Our Love Fashion weekend at Basingstoke’s Festival Place, ignited 2 days of stylish fun. A rainbow-hued flower wall complimented stylist JP’s floral-chic runway looks. 6 models danced to a backdrop screen displaying the relevant brand names. Perfect for consumers wanting to source their favourite finds.

A fashion-forward installation greeted shoppers at Lakeside. Inspired by styles that spread between girl-group friends, our ‘Squad Goals’ display included tiers of mirrored staging.  Female mannequins stood as a bright collective in the best block patterns of Spring/Summer.

Seasonal changes call consumers to keep ahead of the trends. A catwalk-weekend of inspirational shows is an ideal way to increase footfall, elevate brand-affinity, increase coverage on social media and make those long-lasting consumer ties.