The beauty space has undoubtedly become highly competitive, with many established brands dominating the conversation on social media.
For indie brands with smaller resources, it can be challenging to break through, especially on mainstream platforms like Instagram, and identify the right avenues for accessing customers.
This is the challenge that Beekman 1802, a prestige goat milk-based skincare brand, wanted to address with its influencer marketing program. The brand needed to find a creative way to access millennial audiences - not only elevating brand awareness, but building its authority in the skincare industry and driving in-store sales for two new product offerings at Ulta Beauty. Here’s how they did it with the support of Traackr.
Beekman 1802 wanted to generate brand awareness amongst millennials and elevate its retail strategy, driving sales in Ulta Beauty for two new products.
"The reason for getting on TikTok was twofold," explains Brad Farrell, CMO of Beekman 1802. "We felt the platform had the greatest potential of all the social channels to help us quickly build brand awareness and adoption amongst one of our fastest growing customer demographics - millennials. We also knew from our research that TikTok had become the platform for skincare edutainment and product storytelling, much like Instagram had been for makeup a few years ago. Second, we specifically wanted to turbocharge the launch of our two new Bloom Boosters products, which were a cornerstone focus in the first half of 2021."
The reason for getting on TikTok was twofold: we felt the platform had the greatest potential of all the social channels to help us quickly build brand awareness and adoption amongst one of our fastest growing customer demographics - millennials.
- Brad Farrell
Chief Marketing Officer at Beekman 1802
Beekman 1802 decided to experiment on TikTok in early 2021.
As a first step, the company empowered its diverse employee network to create and test content on its own profile. This internal testing gave the marketing team a way to identify what types of content best represent the brand’s unique combination of brand storytelling and skincare point of difference. Ultimately, the team found that the content that resonated the most with audiences was authentic, unfiltered, and value-packed - all elements that fit well with the Beekman 1802 brand. The team also utilized Traackr’s data analytics to understand how competitor brands were leveraging TikTok and glean insights about what elements drive results on the platform.
From there, the company began expanding its influencer program, branching out to work with a diverse range of TikTok influencers that spanned tiers (VIP to nano) and disciplines. Guided by the brand’s Influencer Rubric and powered by Traackr’s influencer discovery and vetting capabilities, Beekman 1802 selected a mix of beauty and non-beauty influencers to create educational and entertaining content aimed at building their skincare credibility, representing their playful and creative brand personality, and featuring their core values - such as kindness and trust.
Following what has worked for other skincare brands, Beekman 1802 partnered with dermatologist Dr. Dustin Portela (@208skindoc) to provide educational content. Dr. Portela adds credibility to Beekman 1802’s products by highlighting two of its main ingredients (goat milk and probiotics) and discussing its positive effects on the skin’s microbiome.
The second most popular type of content from the program were videos focused on specific skincare issues like sensitive skin. Influencers Ava (@glowwithava) and Sarah Palmyra (@sarahpalmyra) led the charge on this type of content, highlighting Beekman 1802’s products as safe alternative solutions for those with sensitive skin. Both tied this topic back to the concept of being “kind to your skin” or “clinically kind”, which is a creative take on Beekman 1802’s brand value of kindness.
Beekman 1802 leveraged Traackr and its own unique influencer rubric to identify and work with creators outside of the traditional beauty and skincare sphere. Instead of focusing on finding creators who create beauty-specific content, Beekman 1802 looked for up-and-coming creators like Katie Beth Miedenar (@cappybears) who fit well with its brand values, and were able to deliver the brand’s message through completely unique content. This strategy enabled Beekman 1802 to break away from one-to-one paid content pieces, and instead create deep, organic relationships with creators.
Some creators became such close partners that they continue to show organic brand love and collaborate on separate projects like Clubhouse conversations.
The most popular type of influencer content in this program - and arguably the most revenue driving - were specific in-store promos. Beekman 1802 worked with beauty influencer, Laura Lee (@lauraleewatts), to promote its Milk Drop product feature in Ulta Beauty’s 21 Days of Beauty event. What appeared to make this so successful was it’s time sensitivity - Laura posted about the Milk Drops with a one-day only discount code, and the product sold out within a few hours.
“Brands often times get stuck in their own playbooks — returning to the same influencers, platforms and types of content that they (and their competitors) have been doing for years,” explains Brad Farrell, CMO of Beekman 1802. “To reach today's consumer, you have to be brave enough to experiment and embrace new content and channels. I think our TikTok activation was so successful because its unfiltered, scrappy playful tone was already such a perfect fit for our brand. Since we didn’t have to worry about ensuring continuity and authenticity, we were able to approach it with a mindset of radical openness. We didn’t just try a new platform... we played with content and searched out new voices outside the traditional beauty space.”
To reach today's consumer, you have to be brave enough to experiment and embrace new content and channels.
- Brad Farrell
Chief Marketing Officer at Beekman 1802
Beekman 1802 wanted to expand their program to include a wide range of tiers, and focused on identifying influencers with strong brand affinity, true product appreciation, high community interactivity, and alignment with its brand value of kindness.
Once Beekman 1802 found potential influencers with the right content, they reviewed their profiles to ensure they had the right audience demographics and quality, potential for brand affinity, and strong engagement rates on TikTok.
Once the brand found a pool of influencers with Traackr’s technology, it used its influencer rubric to make final selections. The methodology the rubric is based on is proprietary, but includes the following elements:
Brand Affinity. Specifically focused on Ulta, skincare and clean beauty
Brand Values Match. Most importantly, does the influencer exemplify Beekman 1802’s brand values of kindness?
The entire campaign, from discovery to measurement, was managed in Traackr. Partnerships were approved, deliverables tracked and results measured in the platform.
"Now that we’ve gained some traction, we’ve begun leveraging Traackr's Brand Vitality Score (VIT) dashboard," says Tomei Thomas, CEO of Beekman 1802. "The VIT ranking makes it possible for us to understand the performance of our current influencer marketing efforts, validate strategies we have in motion, see how we stack up to other competitors in the industry, and identify key areas for improvement. Traackr gave us the confidence to invest our resources in TikTok - we plan to expand our program even more."
Traackr gave us the confidence to invest our resources in TikTok - we plan to expand our program even more.
- Tomei Thomas
CEO of Beekman 1802
Beekman 1802’s TikTok activation was a huge success! It not only exceed its brand awareness and engagement goals (earning it a top spot as a high- performing skincare brand), the strategy directly resulted in two of its new products selling out in Ulta stores.
Try to start from zero
Zero assumptions, that is. It's all about experimenting and learning - no one has this figured this all out.
Lead with brains and boldness
Be bold in following trends and creative instincts, but measure your impact and adjust accordingly.
Elevate the unique voices from your company
Employees can be great content creators! At Beekman 1802, we created a mini TikTok creative studio where members from our social media, product, and operations team collaborated to make fresh content.
Ground yourself in your values
Living out your brand values with authenticity is key! Starting from something so foundational helps you find the right partners and keep your brand tone/messaging where it needs to be.
Trust in your creators
If you choose them based on values, you don't have to worry. They know what content works best.
Don’t forget to have fun
Product promos are great, but customers and audiences want to be entertained and delighted!