Inside Story - How Silverburn was born

Richard Low managing director of Combined Property Services (CPS) – who delivered the development on behalf of it’s owners Retail Property Holdings – commissioned architects BDP to create a design based on the concept of ‘all that’s best in shopping’. BDP created an experience, similar to that of a busy city centre.

Five zones were created, each with their own style and personality, each displaying a different use of materials and lighting that aims to create a shopping centre with a ‘wow’ factor.

A second appointment was that of JMA Associates, specialists in retail marketing.

“The role of JMA was to be ultimately responsible for the strategic marketing solution and positioning as well as coordinating and manage all aspects of this large and at times complex project,” says John MacEwan, director of the firm. “For a project such as this to be successful you have to surround yourself with good people who won’t let you down, this project required a lead creative agency who would be responsible for creating the name, the tone of voice and ultimately the personality.

“I had worked previously with the team at Threebrand who had impressed me, not only with their creativity but also with their ability to deliver sizeable projects on time and to budget. I also needed a good retail focused PR resource to help tackle front line press issues.” As such, Judith O’Leary of O’Leary RMPR was hired.”

Naming a shopping centre is not an easy thing to do, as Campbell Laird of Threebrand testifies: “To create a name which would appeal to a large majority of the Scottish public and to last the test of time was not the easiest job we had ever been tasked with.

“We decided to go to the general public and did this through extensive consumer research, taking different territories and positioning and talking with the target audiences. It’s quite daunting to find the name and personality that you prefer destroyed at the hands of focus groups. West coast of Scotland being the west coast of Scotland would not go with something too abstract or too up its own backside. Interestingly Pollok is an old Scottish word meaning pond or pool, and the location of the shopping centre was surrounded on three sides by the Brock Burn – therefore close associations with water. Additionally the way BDP was architecturally designing the centre, avoiding straight lines, reflected the flow of water with an almost meandering effect, the name ‘burn’ seemed right. With the angled glass roofs reflecting a bright, light, and silver appearance, Silverburn was born.”

For almost 18 months the team worked initially to create a business-to-business campaign aimed at securing major retailers to sign up to the Silverburn concept. 95 different shops, restaurants and leisure facilities would be the final target. Sales literature, events, exhibitions all followed. From the launch in London at the Il Botacio venue, to the ‘up on the roof’ party with Nick Nairn, to winning the best exhibitor at the annual BSSC from Silverburns peer group, the reputation of Silverburn continued to grow, as did the names and quality of the stores, boutiques and restaurants signing up.

Silverburn opened its doors to the public at the end of October with over 90 percent of available space pre let.

But for almost six months prior to that, a large and complex business-to-consumer campaign was being created. John MacEwan explains: “With the retailers well underway, in essence the business-to-business part in place, our focus turned to the equally important consumer market. Its all very well having a fantastic new shopping centre filled with great names, but if customers aren’t aware of Silverburn then we have nothing.”

The next stage in the journey was the launch of the Silverburn consumer campaign.

Nick Cadbury, creative director at Threebrand and his team had to create something that encapsulated the brand values and architecturally-led environment, while being different from the expected retail approach.

“In retail terms it was not just about the shopping but the experience of the whole brand offer,” said Cadbury. “Although we are not a traditional through-the-line agency, we had to think differently.”

The creative had to stretch from brand creation, business-to-business through consumer facing promotional activity.

The B2B creative execution focused on conveying the impact and scale of Silverburn. Literature was outsized but with intimate details and aspects of surprise – including a ‘pop-up’ site plan.

A level of interest had already been aroused in Glasgow due to the scale of the build. The advertising needed to stand out to grab attention and, like the development, it had to be different to the more usual ‘retail’ approval. The subsequent mediums chosen might not be strikingly different but the creation of the two-tiered theme was.

The campaign hinged simply around Silverburn being ‘shopping heaven’. A simple message, but one to appeal to all shoppers. Due to the ‘launch’ aspect, added to this was the ‘lead us to temptation’ teaser line.

The initial TV ‘teaser’ theme was run featuring choralatic music with a semi-religious overtone. The second tier built on this, capturing through striking imagery, the idea of fashion items of desire tempting you to ‘shopping heaven’.

Digital animation was chosen to give an other-world feel, with a specially scored piece of music.

“We worked with a truly amazing team at Muckle Hen and Super Umami, which gave the final creative real added value,” says Cadbury.

He continues, “Early on, we decided to create a universal pattern owned by Silverburn and suitable for use on merchandise items, temporary hoardings and giveaway items. We were inspired by Timerous Beasties’ Glasgow ‘Tuille’ designs so approached them to create a bespoke shopping@Silverburn pattern. Having a great job done by Timerous Beastie we then decided to use it in various ways – from Pin Badges to 10m high hoardings.”

Opening time pressures dictated that there was a need to create high impact temporary store hoardings. So, creatively it was decided to use the temptation/heaven sent themes mixed with the Silverburn Tuille.

Meanwhile, the website had to have some of the same touch points as the other mediums but still have easy navigation to keep dwell time high while not giving too much of the scheme away before launch.

“It has taken 12 years to get to this point,” says Richard Low. “Silverburn has been launched and is trading well above expectations, we are confident that this will continue throughout the coming years, but it doesn’t stop here, there is an ongoing need to keep Silverburn as one of Scotland’s biggest retail destinations. The combination of a product, excellent strategic marketing and outstanding creative work will help meet these needs.”

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