4 Steps for Creating a CPG Brand Retail Installation

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands are always looking for new ways to create a lasting connection with their customers.

An increasingly popular tactic is the use of technology-aided installation art to bridge the experience gap between digital and traditional marketing. Installation marketing uses a prominent visual or physical interactive element with digital integration, often using RFID tech or QR codes, to take it to the next level.

But how can you use this kind of experiential marketing in retail stores (and beyond) to make a real impact? Here are three steps to follow when you’re creating an installation:

Step 1: Choose your concept

Your retail installation has to do much more than just look cool — to be truly successful, it should start with the objective.

Ask yourself the big questions first: What’s the main idea? What is the desired outcome of the campaign? Your installation should be designed in a way that is both easy to understand and fun to use. Ideally, it should enhance the most engaging aspects of the shopping experience.

Some examples of this principle in practice include:

  • A virtual mirror that allows consumers to virtually “try on” makeup products, fashion accessories, or glasses.
  • Athletic competitions that let customers see themselves performing in sportswear or shoes.
  • Digital beatmakers, karaoke competitions, or recording studio pop-ups that let people create and express themselves using your music technology software.
  • Mobile-based enhancements that make in-store displays animate, interact, and come to life.

No matter what tactic best suits your brand, it should align with your other campaign and brand messaging, make sense for your particular product, and provide value to customers.

Step 2: Choose your technology

Once you’ve established your creative concept, you need to bring it to life. More than likely, technology will play a role in making that happen.

Experience designers and creatives have a number of tools available to make interactive art displays really pop.

Here are some examples of technology to consider for your installation:

  • Augmented reality (AR) – Visual elements superimposed over a user’s view of the real world (particularly popular for Snapchat and Instagram filters).
  • Virtual reality (VR) – An immersive experience that puts the user in a digital experience.
  • 3D modeling – Creating 3D figures and features to give depth and proportion to a digital world.
  • Custom apps and software – Interactive games, special effects, giveaways, and more, custom-built for your brand.
  • Responsive lighting – Curating responsive in-person experiences with lights and projections that respond to the user.
  • Holograms – Digital images projected into a 3D physical realm.
  • Second screen – Connecting one screen to another for an endlessly interactive experience.

The technology you choose will determine how successful your installation is, so don’t rush this part. In some situations, you may need to employ multiple tools to get the desired effect.

If you need guidance on how to choose the right tech for your installation, talk to an agency with experience creating tech for experiential retail.

Step 3: Execute your vision

Executing your vision is easier said than done. A successful installation requires lots of planning, troubleshooting, and coordination to make it stand out. It helps to have an experiential marketing expert to guide you through the process.

Partnering with an experiential marketing studio allows you to focus on your creative vision while experienced project planners, designers, and technicians handle the logistics. Your team of interactive marketing pros will come with hard-earned knowledge about how the technology works, including a honed understanding of its limitations and opportunities. This will save you time and headaches — not to mention money.

Here are just a few things an experiential marketing studio, like COGNITION can handle for you:

  • Software development
  • UI/UX Design
  • VR and AR tech enablement
  • Lighting and projection
  • Set up and troubleshooting

Step 4: Measure results

Sometimes a retail installation campaign is a smash hit that generates media buzz and rave reviews. Sometimes, it doesn’t meet expectations. No matter the outcome, you want to know what worked — and why. What went great? Any surprising results? Any red flags? Any lessons that can be applied to future campaigns?

Measuring KPIs is essential to understanding just how well you hit your mark. Data on views, interactions, app downloads, and other metrics give you insight into where your program connected and where it fell short. This type of data can help your brand better understand both the success of that particular campaign and more broadly, the kind of interactions that connect with your customers across marketing channels.


In a world where advertising is everywhere, it’s hard to break through the noise and connect with consumers. Retail installations offer visuals and interactions that are more engaging than traditional campaigns, allowing your brand to build deeper relationships with your audience.

To get the most out of your campaign, consider reaching out to the pros. COGNITION is an interactive studio with experience creating stunning retail installations with custom technology. We can help with every step in the process, from strategy and ideation to technology development to execution.

CTA: Ready to create an unforgettable retail installation? Get in touch with COGNITION.

META: Technology-aided installation art can help CPG brands build retail experiences that connect with buyers. But how do you create a campaign that will blow minds?

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