Growing YOY trailing customer count by 6% through gutsy character branding.
Arc Thrift Stores operates 35 thrift stores and 15 donation stations throughout Colorado. Store operations provide funding to Arc Chapters, which in turn provide advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Arc Thrift Stores is one of the largest employers of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state of Colorado.
Arc Thrift Stores is one of Colorado’s largest retail chains. With over 30 stores along the Front Range, arc Thrift Stores is a leading relief provider and advocate for vulnerable and at-risk populations, most especially people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Despite all its good works, when we first started working with arc Thrift stories in 2008, the organization was struggling with stagnant growth and a flat customer count, as well as increased competition in the marketplace.
Our challenge was to take this established brand and blow the top off its reach by expanding our branding and marketing to include new and unexpected audiences of thrift shoppers. We took the stereotyped notion of a thrift shopper and boldly broadened it to include fashionistas, artists, designers, collectors, teenagers, vintage hunters, environmental activists, and more.
The goal of our integrated marketing efforts for arc was to differentiate the organization from all discount retailers. We resisted the tendency to do something “slick and sophisticated” in an effort to differentiate and own the uniqueness thrift shopping offers. National fashion and household retailers owned the customer mindshare and we knew our approach needed to be gutsy. We embraced a “thrift mindset” and deployed a program that was campy and fun.
Avocet was charged with developing a branding program that would increase name recognition, customer count, and sales per customer. We developed a Power Continuity™ brand character, a whimsical, animated blue bird, named Arcky. Arcky delivered the sales proposition to consumers through TV, radio, print, in-store POP, and display, as well as deployed an integrated marketing strategy that included PR, media relations, influencer engagement, digital, social, and display advertising. In addition to the omni-channel approach, Avocet played an integral role in developing new promotions to drive “first-timer, switcher, and loyalist” customer count.
Foot traffic and sales per customer immediately went up upon initiation of the multi-media campaign. The first year arc added an additional 6% increase in traffic counts, 9% increase in revenue, and $2,000,000 in profit. EMV for PR/media relations in 2019 alone was nearly $350,000 with a reach of 1.9 million.Moreover, Avocet’s integrated marketing strategies have aided in positioning arc Thrift Stores as one of Colorado’s largest and most influential social enterprises and nonprofits. We are proud to have played a part in the company’s impressive growth. A recent study found that between 2005 and 2019, arc Thrift Stores had a $2.3 billion impact on the state. We have helped open and promote many of the now 31 stores in the state and been a part of arc’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Today, arc Thrift is one of Colorado’s largest employers of people with I/DD, a 2,000% increase from 2005.
Here’s one campaign of 15 that are implemented on an annual basis.