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When it comes to marketing – both digital and traditional – you’re doing it wrong if you’re not keeping up with the industry movements and what brands are doing to cut through the noise. Things move pretty quickly around here, so you’ve got to be on the ball.

Formulating a campaign that engages your audience, gets people talking about your brand and increases sales is not easy, but looking to big brands for a dose of inspiration is a good place to start.

In the vast and varied retail industry, new campaigns are popping up all of the time on our computer screens, in our email inboxes and on social media. Not all of them stick around in our memory, but here’s a few that certainly have…

Ted Baker’s ‘Keeping up with the Bakers’

Playing on the colossal popularity of America’s arguably most famous family, the Kardashians, Ted Baker’s ‘Keeping up with the Bakers’ campaign for Spring/Summer 2017 saw their Instagram channel transformed into a virtual candy-coloured neighbourhood named ‘Tailor Lane’, where an eight part comedy sitcom played out episodically through Instagram posts. Within these episodes were daily challenges that the users were encouraged to take part in, such as asking people to finish off gossip stories started by nosey neighbours.

Alongside this came a 360 degree shoppable film with a tongue-in-cheek twist that’s become typical of the Ted Baker brand. The film allows you to have a nosey around the Baker’s Stepford-Wives-esque home and purchase the Ted Baker items inside it.

An immersive VR version of ‘Keeping up with the Bakers’ could be found in-store too, as Ted Baker know that this is where the majority of their sales are made. Using Google Cardboard VR headsets, customers could get even closer to this picture perfect family.

Pretty Little Thing and podcasting

Being a women’s fashion brand in today’s landscape isn’t enough. Brands like Missguided and Pretty Little Thing are setting the bar high by creating a community of customers that are not only buying into the brand’s products, but also into a clique of inclusive female empowerment which is woven into all of their marketing campaigns.

Largely capitalising on the ‘Insta Girl’ movement through their influencer marketing, Pretty Little Thing’s Instagram presence is huge and they’re constantly receiving endorsements and collaborating on product lines with fashion-forward social media stars from around the globe. As an extension of this, the brand even now hosts Pretty Little Thing parties in Los Angeles, inviting and building relationships with all the most influential people on social media. They’re successfully catapulting their ‘fast fashion’ brand to the heights of their high-end neighbours.

To complement all of this, their Pretty Little Thing ‘Behind Closed Doors’ podcast has been going since January this year, featuring a whole host of people who have made a name for themselves through social media and reality TV, including BBC Radio 1 DJ Maya Jama and transexual YouTube star Nikita Dragun. The podcast is not about selling. It’s all about girl chat and connecting with the customer on a different level and bringing a whole new dimension to their relationship with the brand.

And the proof is in the numbers. Revenue at Pretty Little Thing soared by 107% to £374.4m in the year to February 28th 2019. The number of customers shopping on their website rocketed by 70% to 5 million and visits to their website rose by 52% in the 12 months to March 31st this year. This is compared to an average of 11% across the top ten fast fashion e-tailers in the UK.

Argos and the Mew-Tube

Not a lot relieves stress more than fluffy baby animals (all hail the office dog movement!). The biggest retail event of the year, Black Friday, inspires a lot of great content from brands and retailers, but Argos nailed it with their Mew-Tube concept. Combining the stressful pre-Christmas sale and the internet’s love for kittens, they set up a ‘live stream’ of cute kittens playing with various Argos products.

The idea is to offer a calming solution in the midst of the year’s biggest shopping frenzy, and to communicate Argos’ ethos of making life easier for customers, with its Fast Track Collection service, which allows customers to pre-pay online before collecting their item from the store. Alongside this, Argos drafted in 10,000 additional workers in-store and 3,000 Fast Track home delivery drivers to combat the Black Friday madness in their bid to keep customer stress-levels low (along with the playful kittens, of course).

The marketing world is constantly moving, and it’s exciting to think about what kind of campaigns could be topping our lists and climbing the ranks in years to come. Almost anything is possible with big brands and big budgets.