By Krisin Mueller - 14th April, 2017
West Elm has pushed its brand affinity and lifestyle associations to the next level by very considerately curating their brand partnerships. We’ve watched them emerge from the residential furniture scene into exploring multisensory touchpoints like sound systems, the food industry, even pet supply retailers. This multi-faceted approach is something that infiltrates our work with them on their workspace line and research on developing the products from every angle that impacts occupants’ capacity to work better.
The head of brand partnerships (Ella Tay) and West Elm Local partnerships (Mo Mullen) guided us through what they sought in potential partnerships from excitement to customization to authenticity. Having the contrast of these two very different approaches - a more global juxtaposed with a hyper local and personal one - mirrored much of what we face in strategizing for occupants of workspaces. A key PLASTARC goal is meeting global collaborative needs while simultaneously and complimentarily ensuring personal workstyles are accommodated in a way that allows occupants to thrive.
The quickly scalable impact West Elm can have by virtue of the number of retail stores translatable to pilot locations means a direct connection to the customer can be made nearly overnight in a way that may have been previously unthinkable to a partner. One example Tay gave was a recent partnership with Casper mattresses. Previously un-trial-able by a potential customer in a retail setting, the partnership meant West Elm quickly activated 80 showrooms for the startup.
The team spoke about how fostering innovative partnerships requires redefining the metrics - something we’re keen on at PLASTARC too. Sales, traffic, brand affinity, press, new customer acquisition - all get filtered through a new lens when you’re partnering with such a wide gamut of entities from established global organizations to startups to individual local makers. As such, the team often jumps into testing new ideas through pilot programs at certain locations. There’s a lot to learn from in-situ studies, a next phase we’re excited to explore with West Elm through their Workspace line.