Dating app Bumble has created a physical space, bringing its digital brand to life.

“The Hive” is Bumble’s first pop-up space, open until June 25th in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. Through creative programming, Bumble shows how to take a digital brand into a physical space in a relevant, resonant way.

Bumble’s community of users can enjoy alcohol and coffee at The Hive, as well as an array of events and panels about relationships, entrepreneurship, technology and education with Forbes, TheSkimm, Drybar and Cosmopolitan all on the lineup. As Bumble’s mission is to connect people and create a sense of community, a physical presence is a smart way forward for the brand. It brings Bumble to life and gives it some tangibility.

“Real-life connections are so important to developing any kind of relationship,” says Lauren Taylor, director of communications at Bumble. “The Hive is a safe and engaging space for people to meet a match or connect with new people and experience what Bumble is and believes in.”

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Image credit: Bumble.

Bumble, which was created by Tinder cofounder Whitney Wolfe in 2014, already stands out from other dating apps with its forward-thinking, female-led and inclusive take on digital connections. For opposite-sex matches, the woman always makes the first move and must be the first to message. The app also encourages platonic and professional connections. In March 2016, Bumble launched BFF, a feature that helps users find friends. This autumn, the startup is also launching BumbleBizz for professional networking, allowing users to build business relationships in a similar way to LinkedIn.

Bumble isn’t the only dating app to go physical. Earlier in June, Tinder also created an offline activation in partnership with Delta Airlines. The company painted realistic images of nine travel destinations on a wall in Brooklyn. A singles event allowed users to get their picture taken by a professional photographer, and users could then use the photo in their Tinder profile, giving potential matches the impression that they’re jetsetters (or at least giving a knowing wink toward the tendency of dating app users to post over-the-top travel images).  In 2016, Grindr also sought space in the physical world by launching its first fashion collection, with proceeds going to LGBT athletes.

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Image credit: Bumble.
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As with other sectors, dating is moving from offline to online to offline again. This has happened in retail, with the likes of Bulletin and Amazon Go, and is now moving across industries. As the digital space becomes cluttered with millions of apps, digital brands that occupy physical spaces can make a strong impression.

Moreover, rather than simply offering an experience for the sake of it, Bumble’s activation focused on empowering women and encouraging entrepreneurship, a message consistent with its core values. As described in our “Women, Next” report, female entrepreneurship is growing globally, and brands that recognize and tap into this can gain traction.

Turning a digital experience into a physical one is a good move for Bumble. Going one step further and making the experience meaningful, educational and socially impactful is an even better one. For Bumble, it’s a perfect match.