Teri’s take: Gen Z fashion brand, Mattel’s strategy to reaching a diverse audience, and the retailers of the 2020’s
As we wrap up October, we’re discussing how influencers have become the retailers of this generation, what Woodley + Lowe is doing to reach Gen Zers, and how Mattel meets its audience where they are.
The article: Influencers Are the Retailers of the 2020s
Lunya, founder of Ashley Merrill said, “What I love about influencers is that I can specifically follow people whose tastes and curation I like, and get products and services I appreciate.” Fashion influencer TyLynn Nguyen added, “Influencers are like the new catalogue. When you have that database of inspiration [on someone’s Instagram or blog], it is so much easier than walking into a store with a whole bunch of stuff on the shelves, and you don’t know how to style it.” This speaks to a broader shift in consumer behavior: people want to hear from other shoppers, not corporations. A person can tell you exactly what they love about a sweater and how to wear the item. By contrast, a retailer’s website will just give consumers a brief product description and fabric breakdown, making the experience completely transactional. The challenge now is to do it without sacrificing authenticity.
Although the term influencer marketing wasn’t popularized until the early 2010’s, businesses have been leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing since the beginning of modern branding. Influencers are today’s tastemakers, rather than the less relatable celebrity or the photo-shopped model. People aren’t looking for perfection anymore – it simply isn’t attainable. Instead, they’re looking for authenticity. Investing in people who genuinely love your brand by encouraging them to co-create your marketing content, tell your brand story, and sing your praises to their audience, will resonate with today’s consumer much more than any magazine spread.
The article: The anti-Brandy Melville: A new fashion brand is making a play for Gen Z (and their moms)
DTC apparel brand Woodley + Lowe is community-focused, size-inclusive, comparatively affordable, eco-conscious, and charitable — traits that highly resonate with Gen Zers. Prior to launch, the brand accepted applications to join its ambassador program. The brand’s chosen 53 ambassadors range from freshmen in high school to recent college graduates. Pictures they took of themselves while testing product samples now appear on the brand’s website. Co-founder Rachel Thebault stated, “It’s important for girls to come to our website and see what real girls look like wearing our clothes — not just models.” Woodley + Lowe is relying heavily on ambassadors to spread the word to build brand loyalty and an emotional connection with shoppers — more so than pumping money into digital ads.
Whether you’re launching a new brand or promoting a business with a substantial following, the most authentic and effective way to build loyalty and nurture growth is to form partnerships with your biggest brand fans and turn them into brand ambassadors. With a strong brand ambassador program, you’ll always have an always-on customer acquisition channel that has the potential to outperform your digital ad campaigns.
Ambassadors can range from brand fans, influencers, industry experts, and loyal customers. These people have the ability to share your brand story and increase customer acquisition in an unmatchable way. Why? Because beyond friends and family, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
In an age where smartphones and games like Fortnite present stiff competition for analog toys, Mattel finds that it needs to create media everywhere it can. COO and president Richard Dickson says, “Ultimately, continuing to be where our consumers are means, today, being everywhere — recognizing that our brands need to be on all platforms that are relevant to our consumers.” For the toy company, this means storytelling through short-form content on YouTube, long-form content on Netflix and movies, digital gaming, and various other ways that its brands can become part of consumers’ lives in an authentic way that ultimately drives its business. All of this continues to evolve, and certainly the last six months have really changed our perspective as more and more parents and kids stay at home, as parents need tools to help their kids stay occupied, as parents value play more and more from a developmental perspective.”
Ever heard the saying, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”? Well this motto applies to your marketing strategy as well. Think about it, all of your customers aren’t going to be on social media, and in the times of COVID, in-store promotions and outdoor advertising won’t reach the same amount of people as they used to. By diversifying your target media channels to include social, digital, print, outdoor, and in-store content, and by investing in a core group of brand enthusiasts to increase word-of-mouth marketing, you’ll reach a wide variety of people no matter where they are.