Historically, marketers have used Mother’s Day to tug at consumers’ heartstrings in order to get them to open their wallets. But this year, things were different. With many consumers still socially distancing, Mother’s Day gatherings were limited to video chats and driveway meetups.
These realities significantly changed the dynamics of the holiday, driving brands like Shapermint to rethink the way they spoke to their audience. The shapewear brand is built upon being “direct, relatable and real,” co-founder and CMO Massimiliano Tirocchi explained.
The marketing team tapped into this energy and, ultimately, pivoted its Mother’s Day ad budget and strategy to be more pointed and relevant to the current situation. Combining authentic storytelling with poignant influencer and ambassador videos, the brand was able to generate more than 12 million impressions.
“We originally had another campaign in mind, but with the recent events we knew we had to do something different to really make an impact,” Tirocchi said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We noticed that in the UK, where they celebrate Mother’s Day in March, they had to make urgent decisions and deliver communications to protect moms, and they weren’t effective. Given our experience reaching millions of consumers daily, we had a role to play in this because now it wasn’t just about delivering a message, it was about taking responsibility and helping.”
After seeing the surge in COVID-19 cases in the UK, Shapermint released a PSA-style video created from video calls between six mothers and daughters. The video was the centerpiece for a larger, three-week initiative, #MakeTheCall, which was designed to educate consumers in the U.S. to prevent a similar surge.
To boost awareness and the overall virality of the campaign, Shapermint tapped partners including Tori Spelling, Kira Girard and more than 100 influencers urging women to stay socially distant, but emotionally present, via video calls. Tapping this group to amplify the campaign message helped Shapermint reach more than two million views between in-feed posts and Instagram stories.
These influencers and brand ambassadors (largely consumers) are part of the brand’s existing community and are a “key part of our customer journey,” Tirocchi said. “Trust and credibility are built not only by what you say about yourself, but what others say about you. They usually share campaigns, giveaways or talk about products that they love.”
For the Mother’s Day campaign specifically, Shapermint expanded its engagement strategy, reaching out to specific communities like Scary Mommy, as well as connecting with nurses and frontline workers who shared their own personal stories and calls to their mothers.
“One of the women we worked with was Charrell Cooper, a pediatric physical therapist at New York Presbyterian and a COVID-19 survivor,” Tirocchi said. “She received so much support from her family — especially her Mom and Nana — while she was sick, and she teamed up with us because she felt one of the best ways she could give back to them was by encouraging others to stay home on Mother’s Day.”
Customer-Driven Marketing Evolves For Changing Times
Proudly identifying his brand as a “customer-first company,” Tirocchi explained that the team used their understanding of customer needs and concerns to clarify the direction of the campaign. “Consumer insights are at the foundation of our business,” he said. “We have systems in place to get surveys, feedback and interviews directly from our community of customers and brand ambassadors.”
These data-driven practices are not new to the company. From paid advertising to customer service and chat, Shapermint prioritizes being relatable and authentic. “That’s why understanding our personas is so important to us,” Tirocchi said. “We analyze a lot of quantitative and qualitative data to understand what their interests, needs and desires are. We want to clearly let consumers know how we can help them, and that messaging is always shaped by our values.”
In light of the novel coronavirus, Shapermint has had to evolve these practices, taking a fresh look at consumer sentiment and behaviors to determines how best to support consumers across channels — especially online. Since making slight tweaks to its marketing and advertising plans, the company has seen a 30% to 50% year-over-year growth rate for April and May.
“We analyzed the situation and identified how we could support the community and our teams, keeping engagement in a relevant way without escaping the situation,” Tirocchi explained. “More people are buying online, while big brands are simultaneously pulling marketing budgets. Being a digitally native brand, we were quick to understand these new insights and adapt to them. We are actually scaling our campaign budgets across Facebook, Google/YouTube and Pinterest, while preparing to activate TV again.”
Moving forward, Shapermint will prioritize keeping its voice relatable, but will be adapting omnichannel strategies based on in-depth research around opportunities and consumer insights, according to Tirocchi . “COVID-19 is accelerating the normal adoption of e-Commerce. It will bring a new normal that will push brands to find new and more effective ways to connect with consumers. We have plans in place to continue sustaining our growth, as we accomplished even in this situation, and continue to adapt to the needs of our consumers.”