By Marge Axelrad
A unified image crosses between store and digital for Edward Beiner Purveyor of Fine Eyewear, from the group's website, to its press page, Facebook, Twitter and What’s Happening pages, the latter featuring upcoming events and promotions that are happening in the boutiques.
MIAMI, Fla.—Grappling with the continually shifting world of digital and social media has been a constant learning process at
The Edward Beiner Group, which operates 11 Edward Beiner Purveyor of Fine Eyewear stores throughout Florida.
Executives Edward Beiner, Daniela Zanzuri and Ian Bush, readily admitted to that fact with dba as the three discussed how the company's marketing activities, which now embrace social media, have evolved over the past few years. The team said they have worked hard to try to get their arms around the moving parts and learn the nuances of each social media realm (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google and others) and that they have found a way to balance digital media integrated with the stores' image to ensure that it all remains relevant – and effective – with their customers.
Targeting the high-end and exclusive sector of the market, the Edward Beiner stores serve diverse customer types within such different Florida markets as Coconut Grove and Coral Gables to Orlando, Naples and Palm Beach Gardens.
As Beiner explained, "When you take a view from 50,000 feet, you realize that you really can no longer separate what you do in print and so-called 'traditional marketing' from 'social media.' Today we are now connected and not divided. And our team here has spent a lot of energy and time to be sure that our messages are consistent and talking the same language among them all, which can be difficult and time consuming."
Zanzuri pointed out that in the past, the stores relied a great deal on co-op ads, and that the company didn't regularly measure the returns from its marketing efforts.
But, as Beiner continued, "We came out of the recession and were one of the few, strong, independent chains left in our markets! We really wanted to make sure that our own brand and identity was going to be communicated clearly. We had a website and a Facebook page and a few other things but they were disconnected."
So, he went on, "We hired a branding company, and spent some eight months really researching what could be a common, contemporary image message for all of our stores. Stores are like children — we love them all, but they each have their own personalities. What would work for Aventura, as well as Naples and Orlando? We went through questionnaires, we interviewed our managers and team, we reviewed our Amex reports and examined our customers and competitors. Our team came up with an idea internally of how to present ourselves; we went to outside agencies to see what they came up with. It was a long process and a learning curve, but in the end, we went with that first internal idea and our first shoot was in December 2011, when we realized the image and the campaign."
The Edward Beiner 'message' today (see images) reflects strong graphic images that combine fashion and technology, conveying the availability of edgy, digital products and expertise with style and exclusive brands at the stores.
The group's image campaign is the centerpiece message about its business. At the bottom of every ad, viewers are directed to a special URL in order to track the impact of each.
Said Zanzuri, "My frustration in the past had been that we felt print ads were hitting our customers over 35 years old, but were wondering if we were missing an affluent 28-35-year-old group. And, it's been a challenge to sort out what digital media we should be using. We get calls from Yelp, Google, Google +, all from people who make you feel that if you're not with them, you're missing the boat. With print, I was more comfortable, felt I could make a confident decision. With social media — and with Ian's help, we've been trying to learn more about what's the R-O-I? Who are you going to really reach?"
Added Bush, who joined the company in the midst of the marketing re-examination process, bringing experience from the retail and training sectors, "We definitely know our core group of customers are slightly older affluent customers but we also have found that via a combination of our print ads, billboard, a stronger website, with campaigns and targeted but consistent messages in the social media realm, we can get a grasp of what both they and our younger clientele are responding to." And, Zanzuri, observed, "We are now able to cross promote things and tag our ads so we can track and measure what's working and driving traffic or conversions, too."
Bush's title is director of branding and store development. "Social media has been my thing; I work closely with Daniela who oversees all media and print and we're trying to learn together. What we do also impacts our team throughout the company. We've begun to create training tools and documents for our operations teams, which in turn helps them explain and convey our expertise and what the Edward Beiner experience means to our customers."
For the Merrick Park remodel Grand Opening, the Group partnered with Dior. An e-blast invite was sent and then posted on Facebook, with a note, Likes, Comments by the social media community.
Today, Edward Beiner's images and unique promotions work hand in hand, whether in-store, print, magazine and video, public relations and online marketing. Zanzuri said, "We'll put an ad in the paper, announce a trunk show, time an e-blast to our lists to coordinate, making sure the messaging is consistent. Tomorrow we're having a special Dior event at our Merrick Park store which was just remodeled; we just posted the invites on Facebook and will send a reminder. We'll shoot people at the event and post those. That will be connected to Twitter, and it goes on as a 'connected' thing."
At the Edward Beiner stores, like these in Boca Raton (l) and Orlando (r), the image campaign is part of the store-level marketing plan.
Adds Bush, "At several locations now, we've established a media point to highlight our brand and other brands, through TV. We currently have three stores with this already taking place, showcasing a
campaign video that we play in the stores on a rotation."
Said Zanzuri, "We've crystallized our message."
Sums up Beiner, "In today's world, when things are changing so fast, it's not easy. But we want to connect in every way we can to our customers, our markets. A website shows your business as a legitimate business. The social media piece of your marketing and outreach shows your business as relevant."
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