The Beginnings of a Counter Culture

Urban Outfitters originated in West Philadelphia in 1970, as "Free People". The company was founded by two college aged friends; Dick Hayne and Scott Belaire. Their idea was to give young people an alternative, less expensive store to purchase handmade clothes, apartment furnishings, and jewelry. With the success of the first store, and $3 million in sales; another was opened in 1980 near a college in Mass. In the 1990's there was expansion to every major city on both coasts, as well as Chicago and Ann Arbor. All the while maintaining the college aged target market, and the counter culture atmosphere. In 1990 UO introduced it's three wholesale brands; Ecote, Free People, and Anthropologie-- all wholesale brands exceeding expectations and which allowed the company to go public in November 1993 at $18 a share.

A Company Culture 

The company culture is all encompassing. The Philly campus is a perfect example of everything URBN stands for. They offer dog parks and encourage employees to bring their furry friends. There are gardens and an employee gym, the Navy Yard at the Philly campus has different restaurants and cafes for urban employees to go to for lunch. The yard is also open to the public. The company nurtures creativity and exploration and lets all of their different teams work together at a comfortable pace. 

Mission Statement

"URBN is a portfolio of global consumer brands comprised of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, BHLDN, Terrain, and the Vetri family. We're a passionate, creative, entrepreneurial  bunch who think outside the box, and are all about providing a unique shopping experience while inspiring and connecting with our customers." 

Situation Analysis


The target market for Urban Outfitters customers are males and females between the ages 18-30, that are highly self expressive with a meager to substantial income, who are looking to expand from the norm of what retail offers. College students and alternative young adults, it's more than a brand it's a lifestyle culture. 

College Girl

Freshman political Science major, Democratic girl, interns on campaigns, works in the library on campus, has leg tattoos, and plans to vote for Hillary, decorating her dorm. 

Post Grad: Working first job, making approximately $35k, graphic designer, moved to Chicago from Michigan State, reinventing her personal style to mix with the corporate world.

Young Professional: Mid to late 20's, getting promoted, earning approximately $55K, dating someone seriously, decorating his first apartment without a roommate. 

Executive Summary

We have decided that it would be in the best interest of the DIY sector of the company to start hosting classes at select UO locations. The overall message of the brand is to do things differently, and the increase in sales of DIY materials has increased significantly in the past few years. To strengthen those sales and to secure the feeling of a community story, in every store, we have decided to start hosting classes that teach perspective students how to play guitar, make a terrarium, complete art projects, and learn how to marble items.It ispe that with the launch of this we can meet new creatives that are interested in getting involved with the company, and continue to make our consumers feel welcome and inspired while at our locations. 

Our Approach

Our approach will be to first touch base with the employees that we currently have in those select stores that may possess the skills we are looking for. If they themselves are capable or running these DIY classes, or someone they know, we will immediately be contacting them for a trial run. We will be opening up these community classes in our Wicker Park, IL store, Ann Arbor Mi, the Philly headquarters being hosted in the Navy Yard, and the Washington D.C location. These locations are located near a large population of the target age group, and colleges. Our target market for this program are males and females ages 18-30 who are interested in learning how to add creativity into their lives, and are willing to purchase the products abailable in stores to do so. 

SWOT Analysis 


  • Enhancing the community store essence and producing a creative environment.
  • Boosting revenue in apartment D.I.Y sales, as all products being used in the "classes" will be from the Urban merchandise.
  • Staying true to the counter culture that the brand originated on that made it unique. 
  • The program is incredibly cost efficient, and wouldn't cause any major financial damage if it were to not work out.


  • Meet new creative employees to further the expression of the brand. 
  • Potential to draw in more new consumers from foot traffic and passerby's seeing the class take place.
  • Expand the age group that come to Urban.


  • The program depends on people willing to sign up.
  • Until the success of the program is determined the program is being offered free. 
  • There is potential for students to not be interested in buying any of the merchandise offered at URBN. 
  • If the instructor isn't engaged it might bring down the environment. 


  • Third party stores who offer some of the same services. 
  • Potentially have no one sign up to lead the classes.
  • Taking up too much room in the store. 
  • Local stores trying to teach other kinds of classes with overlapping times. 


Urban Outfitters is primarily located in North America with 179 stores in the United States and 16 stores in Canada and 43 stores located in Europe.We will be opening up these community classes in our Wicker Park, IL store, Ann Arbor Mi, the Philly headquarters being hosted in the Navy Yard, and the Washington D.C location. The importance of these locations is the perfect match to the desired age groups. In Wicker Park, of the 54,000 their are 43,784 residents between 18-30. Ann Arbor, home of UofM, has 43,625 enrolled students, all of which fit the target age group. With both of these locations the stores are walking distance from most of the social hubs in town, providing a higher amount of foot traffic than a mall. Of the l.5 million people living in Philadelphia, 400,000 are between 18-30, and the U.O headquarters is located in the heart of the city with their navy yard open to the public

What We're Offering 

  • Guitar basics
    • Finally learning how to master the basics of a beautiful instrument.
  • Terrarium training
    • Learn how to make the ultimate terrarium, small figurines/ rocks/ and fake plants.
  • Marbling (coloring or marking that resembles variegated marble)
    • Marble print paper, canvas, and any designs
  • A student discount for the items featured with I.D if students attend the classes. 
  • Snacks and materials for the projects / sessions. 
  • A great vibe that's BYOB. 


  • American Apparel 
    • The popular hyper sexually advertising of this brand makes it a household name. The simple designs and high quality has made it a staple for cool alternative 18-30's since the 1980's. American Apparel and Urban Outfitters have similar messages, however AA is much more limited in brands and in the type of merchandise that they carry. 
  • asos
    • asos was originally a British brand that gained popularity in the U.S for the boutqiue format and the wide variety of clothes that are fashion forward and vast in variety. asos carries so many different brands that have much more a variety of styles than Urban. Although there aren't any real physical stores that consumers can go to to shop, and 82% of all consumer shopping in the past 6 months was done in stores. 
  • Topshop
    • Originating in Britain in 1964 in the basement of a department store, Topshop is now known by fashion forward people everywhere. There are 300 locations in the U.K alone and they will ship anywhere in the world. However, unlike American Apparel there are only two stores in the U.S; New York City, and Chicago. Which makes Topshop slightly less of a competitor, but their collaborations with fashion powerhouses like Kate Moss, Kendall & Kylie Jenner, and designer Chrisopher Kane make them a force to be reckoned with. They offer a British cool girl style, to girls that want to do something different; just like the desired target market of Urban Outfitters. 

Marketing/ Advertising Objectives

The marketing objectives we have are to have Tuesday/Thursday class every week, from 4-6 p.m. We will do this every week for 8 weeks and the objective is to boost home accessories sales by 15% and to bring in higher conversion rates from people who come in to people who make a purchase. 

The advertising that will be used: media. 90% of young adults 18-29 use media, as opposed to the very minimal usage of 35% by people over 65. Social media marketing and advertising is going to be the key way to bring success to this project. 

We want to be reaching 40% of the people in our target age with "eyes on ratings". With at least 20% of that group coming into the store and signing up. Signup will be offered online, the link to signup will be shared repeatedly. 

Where will $10 Million Go?

Urban Outfitters is a unique brand, it's a chain without feeling like a chain. The highly individualistic attitude and structure of the company draws in self expressive customers who want something different. Urban does not use catalogs, TV advertisements or any promotions. As a brand they rely on social media, word of mouth, and the popularity of the brand to draw in the target market.  With this program it is especially important to keep the feeling and advertisements local. Only sending social media ads out from Urban accounts in the area that it is relevant, and near to the stores involved. 



 Twitter: The first quarter of Twitter 2016 saw 310 million users worldwide. With such a widespread reach, and 32% of all users being 18-29, Twitter is a great use of media to advertise on. The 2.5 million will be used to add paid advertisements into timelines, post graphics designed in house out from the U.O accounts, and to 

Facebook: Facebook is THE most popular social media used by people of all ages. However, like many social medias the predominant age group is 18-30. By using the FB page for the local Urban Outfitters and other community boards in the area, it would spread awareness. 


Mobile App:

Media Tactics

How & When

Twitter is visited so often, and is a great way to connect with consumers and actually have a one on one conversation. If someone has questions about the classes, time, location etc, those can be answered on Twitter. The tweets about the event would be sent out 3 times a week leading up to the event for roughly a month. An example tweet:

"We want to welcome everyone in the URBN community to an interactive event! Come take a peek at how to make a dope terrarium, and if you like what you see you can make one alongside us, dirt & snacks are provided!"

During the week of the event, a tweet about the event would need to be posted everyday.After the event begins, it would be live tweeted complete with pictures and videos throughout the night. It is imperative to show the completed projects and the crowd that came out. It's also key to make the event BYOB but let the people know snacks will be provided. After the event takes off reminder tweets about the weekly classes and what will be taught that week need to go out once a day. Let users know that the same event will be run twice in the same week in case some people were not able to attend. 

Facebook/ Instagram/ Mobile

Facebook will need to function very similar to the way that Twitter is going to. The same messages and alerts need to be posted as statuses and event posts. The advantage to Facebook is that the Urban Outfitters local pages can invite people that have "liked" their pages to come to the events. Which in a lot of cases is a sure fire way to make sure that the posts are actually seen and read. Photos need to be posted before, during, and after the event. Polls should be ran to see if what classes consumers are interested in and if they think the classes are making an impact. 

The Mobile app is key to making this work. Real Urban shoppers have the "urban on" app. This app has the capability to send you push notifications and make you aware of events in your area or sales. If the app alerted consumers like a tweet would it would definitely boost attendance. 

Instagram is the main plug in for youth. Nearly every Urban Outfitters location has their own Instagram account that enhances the community feeling. It is recommended to post pictures from the event during and after, as well as pictures of the fliers around town during the weeks leading up. 

Media Tactics

"Turn Urban On"

The Urban Outfitters App has a multitude of segments for users to access. It allows users to be gifted free shipping, alerts when items in their "carts" have entered sales, reward points for users who use #uoonyou (Urban Outfitters on you). It breeds loyalty and awareness about events and promotions. It's a way to move from brick and mortar to the stores of the future that we all hold in our hands.  

The app has an entire section targeted for users interested in music and events surrounding that subgroup. Urban itself sells records, record players, speakers, aux cords, etc. The app and events are adjusted based on user location so the alert and event information would only be accessible to users in the targeted cities. #UOMusic 

Media Strategies


Community U.O stores have bulletin boards where local businesses and events can post information for sales and events. The print media display would be managed by a display artist and completely transform the bulletin area into a wall space committed to the classes. Personal bio's on the instructors, a list of materials that can be bought in the store, examples of the types of things that will be taught/ DIY. 

In addition to a print pop up shop in store, fliers will be posted around the local businesses. This campaign will exclusively be running locally to the communities in the areas of the 5 participating stores. The graphic designers at the home office in Philly will present an aesthetic for the fliers that will be put out at local bars, music venues, and other non competing retailers. That paired with miniature versions being placed at every register and in each bag with purchase.   

Executive Summary

What we're aiming to provide is a creative and nurturing environment that can connect with the 18-30 year old market that are looking to experience something new. We want to inspire and cultivate an environment of learning and creativity that is casual and caters to people who see the Urban culture as a way of life. It's a lifestyle brand and in order for us to enhance that we need to showcase what kind of lifestyle materials our staff and our clientele want. In a laid back environment that allows people to bring a group of friends and a bottle of wine on a Tuesday to their Urban and learn how to make a terrarium. It's about the experience of life and the transition from point A (18 year old market) to point B (the 30 year old market). We want to welcome everyone. 


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Public - 6/18/16, 4:50 PM