By Tamsin Oxford - August 19th, 2015
Curvy Kate is a hugely popular lingerie brand that shot into the public eye around six years ago. From nothing to something truly special, the brand was grown through the judicious use of social media and has used its unique proposition to speak directly to its customer base and to ensure that its brand identity remains consistent and clear.
Hannah Isichei, PR and Marketing Manager at Curvy Kate talks about how the company established its identity using social media and why this strategy is still working so well today.
“We are a fairly new brand, we are about six years old, and back then social media had only just taken off in terms of businesses. We had a low budget and wanted to get to know our customers and find out what their needs were. At Curvy Kate we had been developing the product for about two years and were ready to reach out to our market and start conversations that would ensure we were giving our customers the products they needed.”
Facebook was the largest social channel at the time and provided Curvy Kate with the tools it needed to speak to its customers. As it is a wholesale brand that doesn’t sell anything directly, social media gave both the customer and the brand an opportunity to get to know one another.
“Social media has meant that our customers can talk to us and give us feedback and it allowed us to build a community quite quickly. We further drove this through our Star in a Bra competition. From the moment we launched as a brand we knew that we wanted to find a model that suited it and so this competition has become central to our growth and success.”
Star in a Bra encourages women of all shapes and sizes to enter a competition to become the face of Curvy Kate. Its launch year was so popular that the competition has become central to the growth and success of the brand, making the customers feel as if they are part of something with a feel-good philosophy and a sense of closeness. The campaign has always been social first and offers fans a chance to become a part of the Curvy Kate modelling family.
“As we don’t sell our products we have been able to do far more engaging campaigns. It’s not buy this and buy that, but rather being part of a community and a celebration of all women and their curves. The competition has been running for seven years and we have thousands of entries. We launched worldwide for the first time this year and have had more than 7,000 entries across the US, Australia and Europe.”
Danielle Wynne, Social Media Executive at myclever agency, works with the Curvy Kate account and goes into deeper detail about how social has played a role in transforming the Curvy Kate brand.
“Social is a great way to have a two-way conversation with fans and understand what they really want from your products and what they are interested in. This enables us to engage with fans and have meaningful interactions with them, which makes the brand a lot more likeable.”
The team opens up conversations and topics that are not just about the brand. They talk about body image and use trending issues to make a statement.
“We recently started a campaign that’s a spoof of the belly button challenge which has people seeing how thin they are by reaching around their bodies to touch their belly buttons. We changed this to be – check your breasts, if you have time to check something make it into something that counts and can change your life. Everything is focused on the brand and the messages between the brand and the customers.”
The Curvy Kate social team uses monitoring tools such as Brandwatch to find people who are talking about the business and to identify the keywords they mention regularly. This data is then used to tailor content to the most talked about topics.
“We are able to talk to more people over a mass area rather than being solely about lingerie. Also aiming to reply to everyone really helps to establish the brand as a caring voice as well as solidifying the fact that the brand is an expert in the field. We use third party tools to more efficiently and effectively monitor, not only social channels, but the web in general too.”
Crafting the identity
“Twitter is great for connecting with a loyal and switched-on community thanks to the natural conversations that occur on the platform. We are able to have intimate one-on-ones rather than just pushing messages out to all. Instagram is becoming more and more influential as it is inherently visual and with our physical product, the two go hand in hand. Plus, the audience on Instagram is so engaged you quickly understand what works.”
The Curvy Kate identity is about positive body image and respecting different shapes and sizes. The team uses social to drive this on an upbeat level and avoids being caught up in negative conversations.
“There is a lot of room for negativity and we have learned to have a certain amount of say, but now that the brand has an established fan base, they are more likely to talk through these issues between themselves.”
The team uses power bloggers to add another layer of reliability to the Curvy Kate brand as they believe that these will continue to develop and grow in influence. They have recently launched a new hashtag - #SwimStories – to leverage both bloggers and fans in sharing their embarrassing bikini stories to promote the AW swimwear range.
“Social media allows fans to feel more connected to the brand as well as to each other. They feel as if they are sharing our brand’s journey with us and become more emotionally invested. A brand’s community helps shape its identity – if the community is unhappy, this is translated into how people perceive them when they visit online channels and see hundreds of negative comments.”
“Building relationships is key. We have the best fans as they really do get involved and support what we do and share our messages. We have over 100,000 fans and try to remain close to them, to respond to all messages and to share content that will help our customers.”
November 2015, The Marriott Brooklyn Bridge
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