2016 marks my first holiday season living in New York City. As I try my best to cheerfully walk up and down the crowded streets of New York, I can’t help but notice that the holidays are everywhere you look- from the elaborate window displays on Fifth Avenue to the Rockettes performing at Radio City. There is no shortage of holiday spirit. This Christmas craze is not only exciting for consumers, but it also presents a lot of opportunities for brands to get their names out there and integrate themselves amongst the holiday cheer.

Urbanspace, which was founded in 1970 as Urban Space Management, was created to develop environments rich in creativity where artisans and entrepreneurs can succeed. Every year starting right around Thanksgiving, Urbanspace creates four or five pop-up holiday markets throughout the city, one of these markets is located in Union Square, and was named “THE holiday destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike.” This pop-up offers great opportunities for brands to gain exposure during the holiday season. Places like Union Square are key because they present both consumer and business to business opportunities for brands. From the millions of commuters passing by each week, to the wide range of art, music, food, etc. vendors that are selling their own goods, brands can’t go wrong setting up shop here. Milk Bar, the sister bakery of the Momofuku restaurant group is a great example of a well-known vendor that keeps coming back year after year because of their annual success.

Another Urbanspace holiday pop-up market with interesting branding opportunities is located in Bryant Park. Along with smaller vendors (as seen in Union Square), this pop-up market has larger sponsorship opportunities dedicated to select areas. For example, the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. Clearly sponsored by Bank of America, this area includes an ice rink, Polar Lounge, and a Snackbar by Public Fare. Another integrated sponsor is Southwest Airlines. To help spread the word about their brand, Southwest Airlines has created “Southwest Porch at Bryant Park,” which offers a full bar, an al fresco lounge, and plenty of power outlets so guests can hang out while refueling their devices (which we all know is very important these days),

The holiday season is one of the most important times for brands. Whether restaurants such as Milk Bar, or a huge corporate company like Bank of America, the November and December months are key for brands looking ahead to the New Year. These holiday pop-up markets are the perfect way to gain visibility in some of the most crowded areas of the city, and offer a lot of potential for new customers and business to business opportunities. So even though most businesses will probably never run as smoothly as Santa’s workshop, getting involved in pop-ups like the Urbanspace Markets is a great way to spread holiday cheer, as well as create new opportunities for individual brands.

- Kate Moelis