Birchbox: Five secrets to building a successful digital beauty brand
By WGSN Insider

The beauty industry has been transformed by the rise of digital. Here guest blogger Rachel Humphrey – PR & Partnerships Director for Birchbox UK- reveals her tips for success

Nov 30, 2015

Birchbox Skinny Dip

At Birchbox, we deliver personalised monthly boxes to our consumers filled with a mix of cult and exclusive beauty products. We also have a successful e-commerce store and YouTube channel. I’m in charge of PR & Partnerships strategy here in the UK and I’m constantly inspired by our founder and CEO, Katia Beauchamp, she always says ‘Shopping should be fun!’ and so I approach the business and campaign plans with this attitude.  The more you push yourself, the more noise you can make in this crowded space.

Here is what we’ve done to make our mark and become the #1 UK Beauty Box!

Start from the place of the consumer

At Birchbox, when planning a press pitch we always think of the consumer first. We aim to find engaging, fun and meaningful product and campaign activity that will really excite and create demand from a consumer perspective. What the consumer gets from a brand is ultimately what excites press and bloggers because they want to give their readers something tangible and an engaging reason to purchase. So when building a campaign plan, I think of what the consumer is getting from it and then I have a confident and unique pitch for press that is totally transparent and rewarding.

Make your product shareable

The Birchbox team is always thinking about how and what we want our subscribers and shoppers to feel. Therefore everything should be aligned with this. This can vary from simple design moments to working with a beautifully engaging partner to create excitement around the visuals or perhaps a smart social mechanism, which encourages the community to share a moment with us on their chosen channel. An activity plan is not complete without thinking about the image and how it will portray through social media.

Partnerships are key in building a digital brand

Think strategically about who you want to align with, and how you can use this opportunity to tell your brand story through another brand’s universe and to their audience. However, I have learned it is imperative to not forget your existing audience in this partnership. Therefore, the two brand worlds must align beautifully and it should feel totally organic and fluid to you as a team. It is easy to target only major players because you would like their reach, but in the early days of building a brand and setting up partnerships, I believe it is important to sometimes take smaller steps and really think about the storytelling between you and your brand partner. This way you gain trust and credibility with your audience whilst growing but without losing sight of who you are and what you are offering the consumer. Even with a smaller partner, a well executed and thoughtful idea can create a huge brand moment.

Data and consumer behaviour should lead your business

We are laser focused on our customers needs at Birchbox and we work strategically as a business to encourage and maintain customer feedback, whether through our social channels or survey programme, we have data to constantly improve and inspire our customer. Digital businesses are so powerful and we have so many tools at our fingertips to listen to our consumers and learn from what they are telling us.

Make sure you have a happy team

This does not sound particularly strategic or inventive but it is so important. A brand can’t grow without passion, drive and grit. This level of commitment can only come through a happy, driven team. A team who understands your brand’s DNA to the core, loves the brand entirely and is excited about the prospect of what you could be. I truly believe this is the forgotten secret for brand building but you can see the brands that fly have the right people and business structure behind them.

Like what you just read? Follow Rachel on Twitter 

And the Birchbox UK team here

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Birchbox: Five secrets to building a successful digital beauty brand
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