If you missed Part 1 of my interview with Tori Allen, the president of Brainchild Associates, read it here.
Here are some key points from part 2 of my interview with the President of Brainchild Associates, Tori Allen.
- In Tori’s educated opinion, the typical natural hair consumer is an influencer and an ambassador.
- “Building a relationship with them [consumers] is important because it’s not enough to advertise. You have to engage with consumers, empower them, educate them on how you can make their lives better”.
- Key trends in advertising and marketing enable brands to build on their relationship with consumers.
- Pinterest is the next hottest form of social media! It allows companies to get the attention of their audience and to incorporate user-generated content. “It’s a dynamic experience where you are both sharing with one another”.
- Some of the best business advice she’s received was to over-deliver.
Tiffany: Who is the typical natural hair consumer, in your eyes? (i.e. demographics, attitudes)
Tori: The typical natural hair consumer is one that is an influencer. I think natural hair consumers are influencers and ambassadors. I think that more than any other hair group, natural hair consumers are more aware of the products that are used. They are more in tune with how the products work on their hair, versus relaxed consumers. As a result, they can attest to and recommend products accordingly to other natural hair consumers because they have an experience that is different than non-natural hair consumers. With perms, the chemicals get your hair to the same point. This is not the case with natural hair; natural hair is different, and different strokes for different folks. If you find something that works for you, you have a tendency to be more passionate about letting other people know.
Being natural is so new; it’s a phenomenon for a lot of women. It’s a new awakening; it unites women. There’s an innate sisterhood among natural women – they share styling tips. Take, for example, this whole YouTube phenomenon where women are in the bathroom showing how they do their hair…,, companies/brands can tap into that. It can be tremendous in bringing forth a fan base, when you bring those products to the natural hair consumer. Building a relationship with consumers is important because it’s not enough to advertise. You have to engage with consumers, empower them, educate them on how you can make their lives better.
Brainchild Associates assisted with the PR campaign for a survey for Design Essentials to assess why women are going natural, and the top reason given was to restore the growth, health, and condition of their hair because of the damage caused by chemicals. We polled over 500 women. Across that sample, the survey showed that peer-to-peer recommendations were low (surprisingly). At the time we administered the survey (over a year ago), that was the least common reason why people were going natural. Other reasons were that going natural was a more affordable way to maintain their hair. People were concerned with losing their jobs since the economy was not fully restored, and the cost of relaxers was getting more expensive.
Tiffany: What are some current cutting edge trends in marketing? Advertising?
Tori: Anything that allows brands to build on the relationship with consumers are really key. We [Brainchild Associates] use a lot of social media because it is a very effective tool that allows brands to build relationships and have two-way conversations with their consumers. Now, Pinterest is the second most popular social media site, second only to Facebook; it’s out-paced Twitter and YouTube. Pinterest is the #1 social media site for women’s interests; it’s based around people sharing images and videos. It’s engaging for all senses and people are really captivated by images, especially in the beauty space. As often as companies can show these images, they can get the attention of their audience. You also incorporate user-generated content among your images. It’s a dynamic experience where you are both sharing with one another. This tends to be very effective.
These days, advertising incorporates social media networking sites, allowing brands to interface directly with their consumers. Consumers are not just looking at an advertisement on TV; they can see a Twitter ID, YouTube channel, and QR codes in advertisements. There are so many different ways that people can touch and feel a brand; it’s beyond that one-dimensional advertisement of the past. The companies that are always looking for ways to engage their consumers, I think, are going to be the ones that will go far. Aside from hard advertising, event-hosting is the ultimate form of engagement. Companies can take their fans off-line and out of the magazines, and bring them together in a live experience, where they can interact with the brands face to face. You need the direct connection with fans, whether you host your own fan club event or an event which you sponsor, it is critical to engage consumers in these ways.
Tiffany: What has been the best advice given to you before/since starting your business?
Tori: Some of the best advice I always hold dear is that you have to figure out a way to over-deliver. It’s good to always be seeking an opportunity that the client is not expecting. This can help clients understand the true value you bring. At Brainchild, we’re always looking for new ways to expand upon what we’re doing with our client, pursuing added exposure even after we fulfill the goal. I’ve worked with clients for 4+ years and typically the relationships I develop are long-standing. This has contributed greatly towards the relationships I have with my clients. We’re always looking for new and greater opportunities, and continue to learn more. This keeps us fresh and sharp.
Tiffany: Thanks again for speaking with me, Tori. I really appreciate it.
Tori: You are very welcome.