Sue Boor, head of marketing for The Lexicon Bracknell, talks their T-Rex encounter
How did the T-Rex encounter come about?
We were looking for something really special for this Summer as we wanted to reinforce Bracknell’s position as a destination of choice for consumers; driving footfall to The Lexicon and increasing our social media engagement. The opportunity to bring the T-Rex to Bracknell ticked a lot of these boxes and gave us a pretty sensational attraction that the whole family (across the South East) could really engage with, while also providing shoppers with great photo opportunities – ever more valuable in an Instragram era.
What was the marketing strategy for it?
From a marketing perspective, we wanted to find ways to encourage repeat visits. A big part of that was finding a strong novelty factor that really resonated with children – as families are a key target catchment group – so the hero of the summer activation was the 18-metre long, 8-metre high T-Rex called “Raurosaurus” which we supported through three weeks of activities. We started in the first week by organising a town-wide treasure hunt and introduced photo booths to start building up excitement, this was followed by bringing in an interactive Dino School and Dino Tales in Princess Square in week two, all building up to three appearances of a second smaller “walkabout” Lexisaurus Rex in week three.
What was the response like from visitors?
The arrival of the T-Rex at The Lexicon had a marked impact on Bracknell; August was our busiest month of 2019 and the town was noticeably busier than usual with some stores reporting 14 per cent more visitors. Spending was on the rise too, with one retailer reporting a 27 per cent increase in sales and a 56 per cent increase on average transaction value compared to this time last year. The car park at Princess Square also saw 36 per cent more visitors. Social media interactions were up too, with post engagement rising by 94 per cent on Facebook. Finally, data tracked by Pragma Consulting and that surveyed visitors to the centre during this period also found that the dinosaur events attracted visitors from both inside and outside the centres catchment area, and the family appeal of the event was reflected in the higher prevalence of family-focussed groups, and aspiring homemakers. All signs of a roarsome success!
Is it something that you would run again? Would you do anything differently?
Absolutely, the T-Rex was such an overwhelming marketing and commercial success that we are already looking to create future events in the same vein, and going forward we want to try and involve even more retailers.
Has the installation taught you anything about what shoppers respond to?
The big takeaway for us was just how important a point of difference is and how you use the “open space” within the town. Coincidentally the dinosaur theme was quite a popular one this summer across the country. It’s a competitive market and everyone is setting up eye catching activities, so it’s essential to find things that help you stand out. For us having the biggest animatronic T-Rex in the UK helped differentiate us from other dinosaur installations.
How does it tie into the centre’s overall commercialisation strategy?
Our strategy revolves around creating experiences, we work with brand products to create a buzz and drive interest in the centre. For instance working alongside MSE we have previously organised a ‘car takeover’ where we have placed Toyota and Lexus’ across the centre and outside certain stores. The T-Rex idea came from a similar concept of reimagining our public space to drive interest and create experiences that make people want to return to The Lexicon.
What other commercialisation activations and initiatives do you have coming up?
We’re looking to work more closely with our retailers and a major Christmas brand in the UK to create a magical experience for Christmas this year, following the same principles of creating reasons for people to return by providing something unique for the town centre.