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Let Her Do the Talking: A Case Study for Social Media

By: Alisa Marie Beyer
Posted: November 1, 2011, from the November 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

If you had asked 10 years ago where we thought the future of beauty brand marketing might be headed, I doubt too many of us would have answered, “to a website called Facebook,” let alone any website at all. So much more than just a place we go to check e-mail or read the news, the Internet—and especially social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and FourSquare—have become one of the most important ways to connect directly with consumers, and they have undeniably altered the marketing landscape for everyone.

These days, consumers turn to the Web first for just about everything. Need to know where your closest Sephora is located? Google it. Looking for the name of the lipstick Taylor Swift is wearing in her latest Cover Girl ad? Head to the Cover Girl website. Want to tell your favorite movie star how much you love her new hairstyle? Visit her Facebook page. The Internet has not only allowed us to connect with consumers and consumers to connect with us, but for consumers to connect with all aspects of our brands in an extremely intimate and immediate way. And just like any relationship, time, attention and excitement must be funneled into the care and growth of this part of your business if you want to stay relevant.

As a member of the team who helped bring the beauty entertainment brand Jabot Cosmetics to life (from its origins as a faux cosmetic company featuring prominently on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless), The Beauty Company (TBC) played a key role in defining critical brand elements for this launch. It included work on brand positioning and visual identity; designing brand assets, logos and taglines; writing creative copy; and managing the photographic representations of the brand, as well as its spokesperson identification and management. We also took a pivotal marketing role, creating all marketing collateral and the website, and as we took on these challenges, we simultaneously worked with real women to gather feedback on ideas and follow their lead on the creation of the brand. Social media is all about interaction with consumers, and with Jabot, we pushed the boundaries of this interaction. Here’s how we did it.

Build the Base

To kick-start our social media efforts and get the word out on the street about Jabot, TBC built a database of more 1,000 beauty consumers, taken from our own Pink Panel, and invited these women to learn about, use and experience Jabot through our Brand Ambassador Program, a program that allows consumers to try new products even before they hit the shelves. They were then asked to offer feedback and dialogue about Jabot’s products and brand in a constructive, exciting and innovative way with other consumers.

Before even a single product went on sale, we had an established database that provided a foundation for all future social media marketing efforts.