This is how I used to buy mascara: I’d walk into a Target and buy whichever one felt like it was the right quality for me.
Then, three months later, I’d return to Target and buy another brand’s mascara.
Though the brands were different and the products slightly varied, I felt no real connection to any of them. In fact, I only noticed the brand if it offered a product I was looking for.
Now, when you read ‘brand-consumer relationship’ it might sound about as exciting as watching paint dry. But I bet you do the same thing. You look for products that work first, then you build a relationship with the brand second.
That’s why I love Glossier.
I first came across their brand online. They were showing up everywhere: videos of Youtubers had their name in their video titles, Instagramers had images of the pretty packaging, and blogs included this brand’s products on their lists of Top 10 must-haves.
I couldn’t explain why, but I was mesmerized by the marketing. Before I knew it, I had strategically saved up for a month, found a Youtuber with a 20% coupon code, and placed probably the largest beauty products order I have ever made online!
For the first time, I had fallen hard for a brand and not just it’s products.
Let me break down why Glossier’s brand presence online converted me.
Who is Glossier?
Glossier (pronounced gloss-ee-ay) is a beauty company that sells staple skincare and makeup products. They cater to the beauty consumer who is digitally savvy, falling into the category of Millenials or Generation Z.
Here are some things to know about Glossier:
- Glossier the brand was born in 2014.
- They have 138 full-time employees in 3 countries (and counting).
- In 2016, Glossier had a 10,000-person waiting list for two of its products (wow!)
- The website receives about 1.5 million unique views each month.
They call themselves a “people-powered ecosystem” which means that instead of Glossier telling people what to wear, their brand and products are created based on what the beauty consumers want.
When creating the brand, founder Emily Weiss had the vision of not just creating quality products, but a stand-out brand.
She wanted her customers to not just want to buy products, but to want to wear the name on a sweatshirt.
As a marketer, this is impressive to me. And I really want to break down what Glossier did to snag me as a loyal customer.
Details that delight
Emily Weiss believes that it takes more than a product to make a brand. She said “the product is 50% and the brand experience for the consumer is the other 50%.”
In technical terms, she and her team have created a fully immersive, multi-channel digital experience. They’ve paid attention to every detail, making sure the brand is instantly recognizable on each social platform.
Glossier packages their products differently. They feature cute emoji stickers, clever taglines, relatable email marketing, constant social presence, and website hover effects. The Glossier’s brand voice is created to delight their customers.
Glossier Lesson # 1: Start small. Try implementing your primary brand color in call out buttons on your site and emails. Add more personality or sense of humor into your copy. Find ways to make your unique personality a part of everything you communicate.
Consult your customer
Glossier has a unique focus. They want to co-create their brand with the customer.
Weiss states, “we ask and listen to our customer about what she wants.” The beauty brand is all about being a part of each person’s style and expression.
One way they do this is to invite their top customers to connect with them via Slack. In everything they do, they keep a tone of openness with their customers.
Another way they stand out: they feature images on social media that include Glossier products with a mixture of other brands’ products as well. They know that their customers will use other products, and Glossier is a part of the beauty process, not the center of it.
Glossier Lesson # 2: Every business benefits from customer feedback. You can gather your top customers and have them share their honest opinions about your product or service. Including incentives, such as a coupon code, can allow a large number of customers to provide their honest feedback. Paired with data and research, your marketing results will soar.
Your customer is an influencer
One of the ways Glossier has built relationships with their customers is through a referral system. This is because they see every one of their customers as an influencer.
When you hear the word influencer in digital marketing, it typically refers to someone who has a large following online. Connecting and collaborating with these people can help to change the buying decisions of their audience.
Instead of only seeking out only the most followed online influencers, Glossier values each customer as an influencer. They understand anyone has the capability to refer the brand to their friends and family.
For example, when I made my purchase online, I was met with a pop-up screen that explained how if I referred a friend to buy through a link, not only would my friend get 10% off, I could receive $10 off my next purchase.
Does this sound too generous? Believe it or not, this referral system contributed to about 90% of Glossier’s sales last year.
Glossier knows that one of the highest factors when making a purchasing decision is a person-to-person referral. They created their own reward system where not only the brand was being shared, but the customer was rewarded for it.
Glossier Lesson # 3: You don’t always need to find a celebrity endorsement. Often the most powerful influential individual are your current customers. They also have influence online and offline, and you can leverage their trust to grow your market. By valuing your customer the same as a celebrity, you can reach real people within your target market.
These three lessons are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great branding. Glossier have shown how the conventional marketing approaches can be turned upside down to great effect. They are masters of brand building in the digital marketing era.
Speaking for myself, I am a fan of both the Glossier brand and their awesome marketing. I think that if more brands took an approach like Glossier, they would also see the value of creating a brand that can be more valuable than the products.