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Build-A-Bear brand effort includes 50 new stores, Roblox

Build-A-Bear is opening 50 new stores in 2024.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. is undergoing a comprehensive branding initiative that include expanding in brick-and-mortar and virtual space.

In an email to Chain Store Age, the experiential retailer, which has already been pursuing an ongoing, multi-year digital transformation strategy, explained how it is modernizing its brand strategy and narrative across a variety of channels and touchpoints in an effort called "The Stuff You Love":

Retail expansion: After opening 37 stores in 2023, Build-A-Bear plans to open at least 50 new stores by the end of the year globally, focusing on tourist destinations and malls.

Customer experience: Build-A-Bear is refreshing elements including its e-commerce site and in-store retail signage. e-commerce/digital purchasing experiences on its website include its online “Bear-Builder,” as well as the animated "Bear Builder 3D Workshop" and its age-gated, adult-focused “Bear Cave.

Omnichannel activation & experimentation: Build-A-Bear says it will continue launching activations within Web 3 and the metaverse, including promoting itself in new ways across Roblox and gaming platforms. The retailer first established itself in the popular immersive Roblox gaming environment in December 2022 with an interactive game called "Build-A-Bear Tycoon" that includes opportunities to create and buy virtual and real-life products.

Advertising & marketing: The retailer will debut its first TV commercial in years, alongside digital and social advertising, an upcoming user-generated-content (UGC)-based social campaign, and corporate logo refresh.

Third-party partnerships: Build-A-Bear is engaging in external collaborations including an upcoming partnership with the Paramount Pictures film "If" scheduled for release in May 2024, including retail activations and licensed product. Other recent partnership examples include a promotional collaboration with the DreamWorks Animation film "Kung Fu Panda 4" and a retail pop-up at the NFL Super Bowl Shop in Las Vegas with exclusive licensed merchandise.

Entertainment: In 2023, Build-A-Bear Entertainment released the films “Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story” and “Glisten and the Merry Mission.” Looking ahead, the retailer plans to continue to develop its own entertainment content.

Internal communication & employee engagement: A global headquarters refresh in St. Louis includes a life-size bear install in its headquarters, Zoom backgrounds with refreshed branding, and other internal corporate communications and morale-building efforts.

"The Stuff You Love" was created in partnership with Build-A-Bear’s agency of record for strategy and creative Known.

Headquartered in St. Louis, Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. operates nearly 500 interactive brick-and-mortar experience locations through a variety of formats.

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