When the shopping mall Utopia was launched in 2013 at the center of Umeå, the reception was negative to say the least. Measurements showed that the towns residents didn’t sympathize with the storytelling surrounding the new establishment, and perceived it as fake without any connection to reality. Our mission was to change this trend, increase likeability and implement an approach to communication that was more in line with the target groups media consumption. This meant increased focus on digital channels and social media. The goal was in the end to make Utopia market leader among the malls in town.
The future of shopping malls isn’t just about maximizing the profits, but to a greater extent being able to offer customers the right services and products, and act as a guide when it comes to their consumption. Furthermore Umeå has a unique history of counterculture where citizens clearly shown their displeasure against companies and others actors that behave in a way they feel opposes the residents values and opinions. For us at Halleluja, this means that Utopias communication can not only concern deals and shopping, but must also be based on something that creates additional value for the residents of Umeå and strive for co-creation and dialogue.
The first step was a brand measurement and analysis resulting in an updated brand platform and communication strategy. Based on these results a new communication concept was formed. Utopia now engaged in a dialogue with it’s customers, about products and shopping but also bigger issues and concerns that typically didn’t get addressed by shopping malls but felt relevant to the residents of Umeå and Utopias customers. That way Utopia could convey knowledge, information and values which made the audience learn things or get new insights. In short, this will strengthen the customer’s own identity and by that also create a stronger connection to the brand. With this in mind we created campaigns such as Kiss homophobia goodbye, First day at school, “Stilfinnarna”, The image of Sweden and Klapp-o-maten.
Building Utopias brand is a never ending process. We work long-term to move the brand to the position staked out by the brand platform.
Achieved objectives after the first year was an increase in the percentage of positive / very positive by 38% while the proportion of negative / very negative was reduced by 19%. We also saw an increase in the proportion who paid a visit to Utopia at least once in the past year by 62%, and the percentage who visited Utopia at least once per month increased by 32%.
The total number of visitors increased by 43% and sales by 48%.