To earn trust, brands must create an emotional relationship with their customers through actions that inspire them and align with their values. Brands that forge strong relationships and build trust with their customers earn their loyalty for life.
Food writer and entrepreneur Ella Mills started Deliciously Ella back in 2012, and it has since grown into a multimillion pound brand. She talks directly to her audience, about twenty-eight million people a month, through social media. Her approach on social media is to be very accessible, authentic and approachable; she is still closely overlooking the marketing of the brand. The secret that saved the brand from having to have huge marketing budget is the personal connection she’d had with her readers, and this is what made the brand so successful. Getting direct feedback and working to deepen the customer relationship and daily connection with the existing audience, while working to grow the readership by providing a great stream of free content is how Ella sees to continue building the brand in the future.
The Body Shop
Earlier this year, The Body Shop was sold by L’Oreal to Brazilian firm Natura in a deal believed to be worth £885m. Sales at the company sank 5% to £813m in 2016, down from £854m the year before. The cosmetics retailer admits it strayed too far away from being a purpose-driven business under the previous ownership but is looking to turn that around with a new mobile-driven campaign.
According to Christopher Davis, international director of corporate responsibility and campaigns at The Body Shop, the new owners are helping the brand to relocate its historic purpose-driven spirit. One of the first major campaigns under Natura has been The Body Shop’s ‘Forever Against Animal Testing’ campaign, which was launched back in June. And starting from September, it will bring this campaign to life by using the mobile wallets built into devices such as the iPhone.
Upon signing the campaign’s petition online, mobile users will be directed to a landing page where they will have the option to add the ‘Forever Against Animal Testing’ wallet pass to their smartphone.
The brand will then use the wallet pass, created by Urban Airship, to send weekly updates to users on the political progress of the campaign (including updates on how many signatures it has amassed) and potentially reward them with special offers should they share the pass with a set number of friends. In effect, it serves as both a certificate for people who have already signed the petition and a way to extend its life beyond a person’s signature.
The audience at The Body Shop skews towards the under 35s. So The Body Shop is looking for more opportunities to engage with these people in an environment that feels native.
A production first, marketing second strategy has helped British snack bar company Eat Natural take a lead in the healthy living market over the past 20 years. Eat Natural started life in the summer of 1997, long before the clean living trend grew in popularity, when nut and dried fruit importer Vijh recognised the value-added potential of combining his raw ingredients into a healthy snack bar. Eat Natural’s factory now produces 7 million bars a month all made by hand in batches of a 1,000. The brand employs close to 300 artisans who manufacture the bars, rolling out the ingredients by hand to the right shape and size.
The brand’s early play for the healthy snack market was clearly a wise move as consumer demand continues to soar. In the three months to March, 53% of UK consumers ate a cereal/snack bar, according to Mintel data. UK sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars hit £523m in 2016, a market Mintel expects to reach £538m in 2017.
“We are good at manufacturing, but we’re not that good at marketing, which has paid off in a way because consumers still view us as a discovery brand, even though we might be everywhere. Because we don’t advertise it actually builds up a kind of trust in the brand, as we’re not having to sell ourselves too much.” Vijh explains.
Rather than high-profile ad campaigns, the focus is on allowing the product to shine and Eat Natural believes the best way to achieve this is through the packaging. The team deliberately opted for clear packaging in order to show shoppers the quality of the ingredients up close before they buy and to ensure they stood out from the competition at the point of sale.
Going forward, Eat Natural is conscious that whatever new products it brings to market it wants to maintain the same inclusive tone of voice that has characterised the business over the past two decades.