You’re producing a ton of organic social content, but your retail brand doesn’t seem to be coming to life, and you can’t tell whether your social content is adding value for any of your locations, much less the majority. So now what? How do you make your brand and content reflect the sweat equity you put into them while driving business value?

Our strategic, creative application

For social media, we partner a creative eye with a data-driven approach. We harness that dynamic partnership in three overlapping components for retail brands:

  1. Customer life cycle, where each stage supports and advances your marketing goals
  2. Content strategy and consistent content pillars, which bring brand strategy to life
  3. Authentic expression, delivering on content pillars to build trust and loyalty throughout the customer life cycle

Broadening success: Palm Beach Tan

Let’s look at Palm Beach Tan, a cornerstone of our retail portfolio. PBT is the nation’s largest indoor tanning salon brand, and we’ve helped fuel its growth from 40 salons in four markets to 550 in 92 markets. To achieve that growth and give it the momentum to keep building, we’ve employed a key strategy — broadening the appeal of tanning from a strong core tanning audience to a wider beauty audience. Social media presents a particularly powerful medium for bringing this strategy to life.

Customer life cycle

We dug into data to understand how prospects and current PBT customers use social media at each stage of the customer life cycle — from discovery through engagement — then determined which marketing goals we could support most effectively with social media.

For example, in support of our marketing goal to drive brand consideration, we know that PBT’s prospective customers use Instagram as a primary channel for exploring their world. So we develop branded content and mine user-generated content that positions tanning as right at home in their beauty world.

Content strategy and pillars

Working from a brand strategy built around “A Better Shade of You,” we translated this into a content strategy that included aligning tanning with the beauty industry. To guide content creation, we go beyond an overall content strategy into specific content pillars. We also strategically determine the ratio for each content pillar so we don’t over-rely on, for example, education.

Content pillars

One primary PBT content pillar positions tanning as a cosmetic solution and demonstrates the emotional benefits of tanning, as shown here.

Our research gave rise to a second primary content pillar when we uncovered specific reasons people say they don’t tan: Most significantly, they don’t know how to do it, and they’re nervous about what the results might look like. But this research also suggested that educational content could overcome these hesitancies . This PBT content pillar uses a casual, down-to-earth educational approach to overcome tanning barriers.

Left to right: (1) PBT’s Instagram feed helps prospects identify their skin type and choose the best tanning product for it. (2) We took a deeper dive into education to support prospects and ensure customer success. (3) Real customers address common spray tan concerns to help boost confidence.

Authentic expression

Authenticity is important across all media, but it’s foundational on social channels, where hot takes are plentiful and takedowns happen at the speed of text.

Translating authentic as real people, real results for PBT, we incorporate multiple forms of user-generated content. Most prominently, we created a PBT brand ambassador program to mobilize PBT’s passionate fan base and catalyze additional customer content. UGC is a powerful way to engage current customers, pique prospects’ interest and amplify PBT’s voice while upholding content pillars. By encouraging customers to showcase their real-life experiences and true selves, PBT stays true to its brand. UGC also helps ensure that we stay nimble in this ever-shifting landscape.

Amplifying customer experiences has been foundational to amplifying brand voice. Our PBT Ambassador program leads the charge in sparking user-generated content. And because PBT shares UGC from dozens of markets, that UGC can effectively support 500+ stores across the U.S.

Results: A better shade of value

Where does all that effort with customer life cycle analysis, content strategy and pillars, and authentic expression net out for our client? We’ve been able to help PBT reach prospects beyond their usual industry category, change perceptions about the benefits of tanning, deepen loyalty among existing customers and increase store traffic.

Get social with us

Our formula for success is simple but requires a mindset shift. Likes, shares and other vanity metrics can no longer steal the focus, especially in the context of multi-unit retail brands, where not all stores have the same needs at the same time. We offer a more sustainable, flexible approach that both evolves with your brand and encourages it to evolve.