Jonathan Ward - artisan scented candles

Jonathan Ward - artisan scented candles

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A look Inside (Part 1) Marketing

April 24th 2020
Jonathan Ward

With ample spare time in the wake of our current global position, I wanted to offer a little insight inside the choices we made as a young niche brand.

The world has changed. All industries will likely shape their marketing approach rooted in new values.

When you're busy and caught up in busyness, it can be difficult to see the truth. In times of adversity the lens that you look at the world through becomes crystal clear.

We are part of an industry that has changed significantly in fifteen years. The magazine industry used to be our vehicle to successfully marketing products and gaining visibility. The rise of digital marketing had a prominent effect on the print industry (as we are all aware). In the digital world, visual response time is faster, infinitely less "curated" and spontaneous. Enter the rise of the influencer.

Looking back to the era when print journalism was in full swing, product inclusion on a page was governed by a few factors. A good amount of the products were selected based on their advertising contributions. In a beauty or fragrance piece, the same brands would feature (possibly with different products) every month. This would account for 60-70% of the page. The remaining product inclusions would be split across products that worked from a visual perspective with the colour and mood of the story and possibly the seasonal time when the piece would go to print. The remaining 10-20% would be open to brands like mine who were courting inclusion through their public relations representative.

To me, this creates a slight disparity between the validity of product worth and performance. In essence the hand of the advertising department holding the hand of the editorial department can raise a question over the journalistic integrity of the piece.

I wanted to offer a little insight into embracing new marketing opportunities as a new niche brand. I will use my recent campaign for Assassin Belarus as an example. There can be a temptation for new brands to look at instagram statistics (followers) as an indicator of how successful exposure can be. For my Belarus campaign, we aligned with industry journalists, writers, perfume specialists, seasoned editorial writers & four influencers. I have outlined a quick case study of the results for sending a product to two alternate industry professionals. One industry writer and one influencer.

1 : Fragrance writer, copy editor industry specialist.

Detailed blog post with linkage back to the Belarus product. Detailed fragrance description and opinion in digital content via blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Two Instagram stories. A second opportunity with another industry professional. Four new Instagram followers. Two new e-commerce orders and new customers.

2 : Influencer with 21,000 followers. 

A four second instagram story yielding zero results.

I write this not to smear the validity of the influencer world, but as a new brand the relationships that you form, should be carefully selected. Influencers are self focused, they are selling themselves primarily. If 80% of their profile is self-image focused, it is unlikely that they will be intrigued enough to get into the heart of your brand as their focus is very different from a writer, journalist, perfume specialist.

For smaller fragrance or home fragrance brands whose RRP is low, influencers can be a positive way to approach marketing strategy as it potentially turn to sales if the partnership is aligned correctly. For fragrance products with a higher RRP, it is highly unlikely that someone will click to purchase on a new brand from looking at an insta-story. Have you ever purchased expensive fragrance products you have never smelled before from a new brand ? I have not.

As a conclusion, choosing marketing partners carefully and selectively is really important. Vast followers do not automatically indicate sales, brand insight, product knowledge or new customers. A thousand followers pertaining to genuine industry fans, writers and professionals, can be infinitely more valuable.




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Jonathan Ward
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