Project Management: The Marketing Plan
The original idea
When I first envisioned what the strategic marketing plan for my brand would be like I thought I wanted to incorporate new technologies such as VR or AI. However, I began an introspective exercise looking at my own consumer needs as well as my areas of academic proficiency and came to the conclusion that these tools do not align with my brand proposition and neither would that represent my skills to the best of my capacity.
Therefore, I quickly scrapped that idea and started thinking about what I have experienced as a consumer and influencer that I offered me a pleasant brand perception. Also, I decided I needed to refer back to my target audience interests in order to reach them and adequately fit their needs.
The Three-Phase Strategy
After careful examination and research conducted on my industry case study examples, I decided I that I was going to split my strategic plan into three phases. The first phase begins before the brand launch with the intent of raising awareness, building an online following and creating positive affirmation linked to the brand’s founder (aka me). The second and third stages will focus on online community building and raising brand equity value by engaging with our audience’s, working with niche influencers and producing in-house promotional video content. All the strategies were also purposefully thought out to work as economically viable alternatives for young entrepreneurs like myself, which can be executed with ease without needing a substantial marketing budget.
Phase I: Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing is a strategy involving the use of consumer input to inform future brand ideas and product launches. This strategy was made popular by influencer beauty brands such as Glossier and Summer Fridays, who were both originated from creators who used their online following to gather consumer data and consult about their needs.
Therefore, in order to mimic the strategy in my reviewed case studies, I began a Instagram account pre-launch for market research and community engagement purposes. The account aim is to post and engage with skincare enthusiasts in the hopes to gather insight into their consumer preferences and needs in relation to products and brand ethos, as well as determine legitimacy in the area by earning a voice in the community. According to marketing research 76% of Gen Z consumers have said they use Instagram primarily to discover new beauty brands (Sauter and Shin, 2019). Possible return of investment metrics include an increase in community engagement with the brand and social-medial ‘word of mouse’ awareness.
Mariana Hewitt, Summer Fridays CEO.
Lauren Gores, Summer Fridays CEO.
Emily Weiss, Glossier CEO.
My business account, dedicate to skincare-centric content.
The Challenge: Create a suitable platform to engage with skincare enthusiasts and consumers to examine their needs.
The Solution: Make an Instagram account prior to the brand launch so that the we already have an established following to collect data and feedback from.
Phase II: Content creation (In-house)
The second phase of my marketing plan involves a strategy which also widely used by popular brands amongst Gen Z and young Millennial consumers: content creation. Summer Fridays and Glossier are both brands which are very active with content creation, maintaining independent blogs in addition to the content on their social media channels. In that regard, in addition to Instagram content BRIXI plans on developing in-house content creation in the form of an YouTube channel.
I decided to create this strategy once again based of my own consumer affinity for video content. I believe that this format is preferred by my generation for it is easily digestible and for its shareable quality, if you like the message in a matter of second it can be up you wall, on your feed on sent out in a transmission list to all your favourite contacts. In terms of marketing, it is also perceived as very persuasive, 97% of marketeers claim that video helps customers understand products (Hayes, 2020), and 64% of consumers having reportedly said to having made a purchase due to having watched a branded video on socials (Lister, 2020).
Now when it comes to skincare, YouTube videos dedicated to reviewing products and showcasing self-care routines are incredibly popular, yet almost no brands have their own channel. Therefore, the aim is to use video content to resonate and connect with consumers whilst raising brand equity value by creating positive associations with the audience. Our first series “Busting Skincare Myths”, is inspired by trending Instagram posts where brands or influencer speak on common misconceptions related to beauty and personal care. We chose to launch with this particular series because of the high potential for “shareability” and for going viral. Additionally, this format can also be expanded into new subtopics involving themes relating to mindful consumption, sustainability, gender fluidity, and ethnic inclusivity, which are at the forefront of our brand’s mission.
The challenge: Sourcing a film crew, equipment and finding time to make high production value videos.
The solution: Create animated videos using editing softwares that can save templates to be repurposed for future content. Does not require any additional equipment or crew.
Phase III: Influencer Marketing
As a micro influencer I come across all types of smaller beauty brands looking to collaborate with me on a “gifted basis”, meaning they will supply me with a product in the hopes I will post about it if I like it without any monetary compensation involved. This method is something I personally really enjoy and after speaking to several of other smaller creators I was able to examine that this was also the case to them. The reason why I like this initiative its because as someone who is still relatively small on social media it brings me a lot of joy when I receive a proposal from a brand who is willing to gift me their products because it shows they believe in my potential to influence consumers even though I may have a smaller following. However, I also observed that this system can also be sometimes flawed since a few times the aesthetics of the brand, formulation of the product or the overall experience was not entirely amazing and I will choose not to post the brand. That was until one day I came across an opportunity to receive a press sample box from one of my all-time favourite K-Beauty skincare brands called COSRX, which is a large and very well established name in the market. However, the way to collaborate with this brand was done differently than any other I had experienced before, I was asked to apply through a multi-brand retailer called Style Korean by submitting a form with all my personal and influencer engagement information and then my application would be proceeded without actually having to speak to any brand represent. I thought this was an interesting and quick strategy for the brand to not actually have to do any footwork, all they had to do was advertise the scheme on social media and whoever was interested in applying could do so. Additionally, they also offered the opportunity to be featured on their Instagram account as the best reviewers which is a very appealing offer for creators looking for exposure.
For that reason, I decided that BRIXI will develop a scheme called ‘BRIXI & Me’ where influencers of any tier can apply to receive the brand’s latest launch for free by submitting a form containing some basic information on their engagement rate and audience demographic. This will help connect the brand with relevant creators and who are keen to work on a gifted basis. However, to avoid getting poor or low responses and guarantee return of investment for the brand, there will be a monetary reward given to the ‘best reviewer’ and as well as the opportunity to be reposted on BRIXI’s official Instagram page, this way ensuring that participants feel encouraged to do their best.
StyleKorean/COSRC “Try me, Review Me” Scheeme
(Images are screenshots taken from my e-mail)
The challenge: Influencer have expensive fees for sponsored posts. How to make it more economically viable for the brand.
The Solution: Create a brand ambassador scheme for creators who are happy to work on a gifted basis. Use a reward system to ensure that the content produced is at a high standard and will secure return of investment to the brand.
Conclusion & Future Directions
I believe that my marketing plan works perfectly for the context of my brand proposition and having in mind the financial feasibility of the execution of the phases. Firstly, creating an Instagram account is free and it has been proven to be a very successful way to establish a following and find your niche in the market. As for the video and influencer scheme, both are sophisticated industry standard marketing techniques which I found a way to navigate and make it into economically viable opportunities. Moving forwards I need to work on creating an mock-up video of what kind of content the brand would be producing and draft a guidelines document for the participants of “BRIXI & Me” scheme.
Hayes, A., (2020) . The State Of Video Marketing In 2020. [online] Blog.hubspot.com. Available at: <https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/state-of-video-marketing-new-data> [Accessed 17 August 2020].
Lister, M., (2020). 37 Staggering Video Marketing Statistics. [online] Wordstream.com. Available at: <https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/03/08/video-marketing-statistics> [Accessed 19 August 2020].
Saunter, L. and Shin, J., (2019). Gen Z: Building New Beauty. [online] Wgsn.com. Available at: <https://www.wgsn.com/assets/marketing/emails/2019/beauty/launch/Beauty_Whitepaper_Digital.pdf> [Accessed 11 August 2020].