Connecting brands, people, and - a moment in time
We are Hyphen, a boutique live events & experiential agency with creativity that connects, to cut-through the noise.
If you encounter a brand in person, you're more likely to remember it - 90% more likely in fact. At Hyphen, we turn these encounters into connections.
One-off events might create a buzz, but real impact takes a full 360 degree approach. The more ways people engage with your brand, see it, hear it touch it - the better.
As part of the Omnicom network, our creativity is underpinned by strategic insight. Having a firm grip on the data means you can make more informed connections. Target the right people. In the right places. At the right moment in time.
Bankside, 90-100 Southwark StreetLondon, LND SE1 0SWUnited Kingdom
Bumble, Mars, Vodafone, Shell, Nestle, Merlin Entertainments, Energizer, Honda, L.L.Bean, Asda
L.L.Bean the US outdoor clothing giant approached Hyphen (via their UK distributor) to support with creating a retail pop-up store proposition to take their brand offline in the UK and to educate & engage potential consumers whilst retailing a selected range of products.
Hyphen proposed a series of live brand experiences aimed at bringing the retailer's iconic New England style and love of the outdoors to festivals and outdoor events across Britain.
As well as introducing event goers to the brand's high-quality outdoorwear and accessories, the pop-up stores featured opportunities for visitors to the events to 'be an outsider' by giving them the opportunity to learn new skills such as outdoor photography and map reading from social media influencers including the Bald Hiker - all reminiscent of the brand's Outdoor Discovery Programme which features heavily in the US. The store was even wrapped by a bespoke traversing wall encouraging visitors to fully immerse themselves in the brand's love of the outdoors.
With the brand rooted in outfiiting families to get out and enjoy the outdoors, the inaugural Timber Festival was the perfect event to launch the retail experience, given its ethos of celebrating the outdoors.
The pop-up stores took prime position at the events attended and often sponsored any outdoor activity zones enabling trial of the brand's most iconic products in the right environment.
Nestle briefed us to create a memorable, engaging and educational experience that would encourage cat loving Sainsbury's shoppers to:
- Engage positively with the Purina One brand experience
- Increase their awareness and undertstanding of the Purina One 3 week challenge
- Purchase more of the product
- Recommend Purina One
Hyphen delivered a fun and immersive experience which tapped into shoppers' sense of sight and sound. After a successful experiential tour in 2019 the team visited an additional 15 stores in 2020. We worked with our internal insights team to target stores which over-indexed on cat food but under indexed on Purina. This provided us with an opportunity to positively impact shoppers' in-store experience and enable them to make informed purchases after fully understanding the 3 week challenge.
The activation was centred around a modular stand made-up of an interactive counter, interactive wall and bespoke FSDU. When pressed, the clever, touch technology wall (created by Novalia) played different cat noises, beats, vocals and strings enabling shoppers to 'create a soundtrack' that changed to represent each week of the 3 week challenge. Each panel across the wall educated and engaged shoppers on all the visible changes they could expect to see in their cat.
The interactive countertop then tested shoppers' cat knowledge in a quiz, asking them to answer a set of multiple-choice questions. Get it right - they heard a happy meow, get it wrong, they heard a not so happy cat!
These experiences combined enabled our team to educate and inform shoppers on Purina One and communicated complex scientific detals in a fun, memorable and easily digestible way.
For those converted and ready to buy, the bespoke FSDU was on hand enabling them to easily grab a bag and pop it straight into their basket. The FSDU even featured an electronic cat tail, truly bringing the Purina One experience to life.
We work with Madame Tussauds across various projects but this brief was one of our favourites as it gave us permission to be super creative.
The MT global brand team approached Hyphen to develop a series of pilot 'Lates' events to attract a domestic, younger audience to the attractions.
The brief was wide ranging and asked us to come up with ideas around 3 themes: Weird & Wonderful, Educational & Wellbeing.
We developed 15 event concepts which included everything from: social media influencer workshops and drag masterclasses, through to triple threat dancing, acting & singing classes.
For Madame Tussauds New York, we piloted a Celebrity Seance - where consumers could book tickets and visit out-of-hours to interact with their favourite passed celebrities through a renown celebrity medium.
After the attraction closed we welcomed guests to the venue which was lit by candlelight. Here Jesse Bravo (celebrity medium) conducted a meditative introduction to get the guests into the right headspace before he started the seance. He then proceeded to ask the group who they wanted to contact and what they wanted to ask them. The video will give you a taster of what the event had in store.
Bumble approached us to create an experiential activation targeting students - a key demographic for the brand. The experience needed to create impact and communicate information about Bumble's in-app premium subscription that enhances the user's experience in the app, giving them access to a lot more features and extending the time to match.
Hyphen designed and delivered an experiential UK University roadshow promoting the new app feature with the strapline - 'Boost your chances', with dating, networking and making new friends.
A Bumble branded Piaggio van was the backdrop for the activation which 'popped-up' at universities including Manchester & Oxford.
An energetic team of Hyphen brand ambassadors' engaged with the students communicating key campaign messages whilst distributing bespoke Bumble Boost juices in exchange for app downloads and profile activations.
"Hyphen acted like a boutique agency while being able to access large organizational resources."
After conducting market research, Hyphen along with a marketing agency created a pop-up to advertise an outdoor company to a new audience. They took the pop-up to over six events, providing onsite support.
"Hyphen acted like a boutique agency while being able to access large organizational resources."
Jun 15, 2020
While COVID-19 ended the program for the time being, Hyphen brought winning results in two years of campaigns, culminating in a self-sustaining marketing experience by the second year. Their professionalism, experience, and creativity made for a smooth and successful collaboration.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I’m the co-founder of Salts Huby, a marketing agency.
What challenge were you trying to address with Hyphen?
We were commissioned by an American outdoor company to do market entry analysis for the UK. We’d later pop up the brand at several external events and on social media. We brought in Hyphen to help us.
What was the scope of their involvement?
We felt there was an opportunity to find the outdoor’s company equivalent demographics of outdoor enthusiasts in the UK. For example, dog ownership is high in the UK, and trails and rugged footpaths are more accessible in local communities than in far-off national parks.
Hyphen did some market research for us, matching demographics of the average US customer with an equivalent in the UK. We then attended six events in different geographic regions with a module pop-up building to promote the brand. These were different types of events, ranging from music and art festivals to consumer shows, from national forests to urban areas.
Using our brief, Hyphen designed and manufacturing the pop-up module — an L-shaped log cabin — as two shipping container-sized units that we could transport to each event. We offered activities for children and families, such as climbing walls and tossing a boot. There was also a select amount of apparel and merchandise by our client for customers to try on and purchase.
Our budget went down in the second year of the program. We scaled down the program to just two events and one pod. Using the outdoor company’s heritage, we reenvisioned the pop-up as an old-school boot room with black and white accents and an old metal cash register. Hyphen turned this loose brief around in just two weeks.
Each year, Hyphen negotiated premium pitches with event organizers and vendors at a discounted rate. They could leverage the fact we were working for a major retailer as well as leverage their own relationship. Their team has good strategic partnerships with event organizers. They also helped with logistics; they made sure the pods were on brand, fit to purpose, secure, easy to install, and they ensured each location was good for our goals. Luci (Head of Live Events & Experiential) attended four of the six events to make sure everything was up to their standards.
What is the team composition?
Luci assigned an account director for each year: Harriet (Former Senior Account Manager) worked with us in year one, Nicola (Account Director) in year two. They also had a graphic designer who created mockups of the unit.
How did you come to work with Hyphen?
We did a four-way pitch to multiple partners, including Hyphen. We had presentations from three other agencies as well. One was way off the mark and three times the budget we wanted, while the other two just lacked creativity and the cultural fit. Hyphen came in under budget, backed up the pitch with research and insight, and brought 10 creative ideas. Plus, my business partner is blunt, and Luci was quite happy to be blunt back in our first meeting, which was good. The whole experience was really refreshing.
How much have you invested with them?
We spent about $150,000–$200,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We first met Luci in April 2018, and the partnership ran from June 2018 until September 2019. We didn’t expect to do any popups until the following year, but Hyphen helped us create our first popup in July 2018. That allowed our client to start a year earlier. The only reason we stopped is because the client pulled our budget when COVID-19 hit. It was no fault of Hyphen’s.
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
In year one, we did 500 surveys with customers at each event using an iPad. We asked them about their reaction to the brand and the products showcased as well as their understanding of the brand. We learned that we had five good events and one bad fit, which taught us just as much as the five others.
In year two, we refined our operation and reduced the cost of running each event by 75%. Based on the merchandise we sold at each pop-up, the experience was almost self-funded. That’s probably unheard of in experiential marketing. Our client was extremely pleased with our efforts.
Hyphen understood the creative, the customer side, the event landscape, and the goals we were trying to achieve. They got the brand and told the story in a way that felt meaningful but localized. When we brought them in, we got experts who were willing to get their hands dirty and see the concept all the way to delivery.
How did Hyphen perform from a project management standpoint?
Hyphen made our lives extremely easy. They effectively managed me and my partner, teams across different time zones, and the internal politics of being client-focused. Their team was creative, nimble, and able to work within a budget. They found ways to save money in certain places and invest in others to ensure we met our brand standards.
They also managed each event team for us, recruiting, training, supplying, and putting individuals in accommodations when needed. They oversaw every detail and provided troubleshooting at each live event when many factors can go around. It made the whole experience stress-free from our end.
When it came to communication, we relied on old-school spreadsheets. I appreciated that Hyphen was happy to get on the phone and talk rather than hiding behind email.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I was impressed by their creativity and brilliant network, which I mean in the broadest sense. Hyphen knows the main events in the UK as well as the right people and could leverage those relationships on our behalf. That was hugely valuable and saved us from paying upfront rates.
Since they’re part of a larger organization, and our client had a lean presence in the UK, Hyphen was able to assume the risk and liability of each event. At the same time, Luci made us feel like we were their only client, even though we weren’t. She was invested in the brand and making it work no matter what. With their agility and client focus, Hyphen acted like a boutique agency while being able to access large organizational resources.
Are there any areas they could improve?
If they could have helped us avoid the pandemic, that would have been great! Apart from that, there was nothing Hyphen could have handled better.
Any advice for potential customers?
Go in with a degree of trust. Treat Hyphen as an equal and extension of your team, and let them do what they do best. That approach paid back for us in spades. Luci has a keen eye for building a team around her. She’s a perfectionist who holds her team to high standards, and it shows.