[Interview] Neha Kant, Clovia on breaking stigmas around lingerie through social media

Social Samosa
Jun 06, 2017 09:56 IST
New Update
Neha Kant

Lingerie, Social Media and how a digital innerwear marketplace has managed to fuel conversation around a topic that is traditionally met with awkward facial expressions and discussed in hushed tones. Social Samosa in conversation with Neha Kant, Founder and Director, Clovia as she takes us through the brand's social media strategy and digital properties.

Beginning with shedding the societal stigma associated with lingerie, Clovia has inspired women to come out and share their experiences with each other within an established social media community for women, 'Clovia's Closet', and a content platform, The Pink Diary.

We explore Clovia's social media and digital marketing strategies from the past and present to uncover Clovia's successful journey online.

Lingerie comes with a lot of stigma and stereotypes in India. How helpful has social media been in breaking these?

Social media today arms users with both knowledge and awareness of all that is available for them to explore. Besides, social media is also a platform where users share their views and opinions on almost everything, including products/services they may have used. Through social media, users’ views get amplified, and this helps create buzz around a product to break any stereotypes associated with it.

Women have traditionally discussed lingerie in hushed tones. We ask - why shouldn't women talk about it in a much more open and confident manner? What is so embarrassing talking about innerwear? Rome wasn’t built in a day - some things don’t change overnight. But we have consistently tried to use all our platforms to break the stigma. Be it our Superwomen campaign represented on Facebook via a comic strip - a tongue and cheek take on how even superwomen can face lingerie problems, thereby urging women to share theirs, or our community outreach where we encourage women to ask questions on our owned platforms such as Clovia’s Closet. We will continue to endeavour to challenge stereotypes; over the years, the engagement has increased and we are encouraged to see women coming out of their closets to discuss lingerie openly and freely

As a lingerie brand, what kind of issues does Clovia face on social media?

Lingerie, and lingerie shopping, in India have always been associated with social awkwardness, and that is the biggest marketing challenge for the brand/category.

We have a two pronged approach for our social media campaigns/communication. On one hand we have educational content - with visual information led depiction be it product features, right sizing, fits etc. and on the other hand, we have quirky, topical campaigns that talk about about lingerie related topics in a humorous and interesting way to drive across the message without being preachy and encourage engagement.

How would you describe your brand voice on social media?

We choose to be lively and warm, keeping a personal and direct tone to connect with our Social Media TG. Our campaigns have a quirky sense of humour, the language is funny and simple. This, we believe, helps us to both engage and entertain, while also educating our TG. We share information on selecting appropriate lingerie, as well as extending knowledge on sensitive topics like breast-health, self-examine, hormones and the like..

You did a campaign with Neeti Palta? What was the idea behind it? How did the campaign fare? Do you think content is the right mechanism for branding products such as lingerie?

Today’s discerning consumer can be engaged only through high quality contextual content. ‘Content is King’, as they say, and this is even truer for social media campaigns. Clovia has always looked at content as a key component in our approach to engaging with our TG - our intent is to create and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent conversations. From videos, to owned content on our platform, to pictorial depiction of our ideas, leveraging users to amplify content on Facebook and Instagram, we’ve run some very successful campaigns.

The Neeti Palta campaign was completed 2 years back and saw phenomenal response, riding on the comedy genre. Since then, we have executed multiple campaigns across different platforms, and enjoyed successful outcomes.

What other content hooks do you use to connect with your audience on social media?

UGC - User Generated Content - helps create impactful connect within communities. Community members are keen to know what their peers think, and the opinions of peers have greater credibility than the claims made by brands. By involving users in multiple campaigns, we are creating relevant hooks within our active social communities .

Having said that, our own content successfully uses written and visual content for informational messaging into the realm of lifestyle experiences. We achieve this by leveraging trends. An apt example would be during the peak of Sonam Gupta trending, which tried looking at the other side of the picture by trying to understand what made Sonam Gupta Bewafa! We ran a series of cartoons conveying why she may have dumped the boy, which turned out to be a stupendous success!

In addition, Clovia’s owned content platform - The Pink Diary, is a true reflection of today’s women - sexy, independent and confident. Using quirky, self-deprecating humour, it features wacky takes on ‘the pressure of having new year plans’ and ‘the rant of a single girl on Valentine’s Day’. The platform has great following, and has garnered a lot of likes and shares on social media.

Women are often shy or awkward to speak about lingerie. How do you use social media to build a bridge with them?

Lingerie has traditionally been a tricky, uncomfortable subject to discuss openly in our country. You either beat around the bush and hope that the conversation leads indirectly to the subject, or create a closed group where women can discuss lingerie related topics in a judgement-free, healthy environment.

Clovia has tried to create engaging conversations around lingerie by running topical campaigns on Facebook communities on Mother’s day, International Yoga Day, leading up to the wedding season, and other occasions. Besides engaging with our users, we also hope to help them open up and feel comfortable discussing issues which otherwise they may be hesitant to talk about.

We also run a successful Facebook community called ‘Clovia’s Closet’. A strictly closed and invitation-only platform, here fellow members discuss lingerie and related topics. The discussion can be routine - such as where to find detachable straps, or more utilitarian - such as choosing the perfect bra to wear while running.

Clovia’s Closet has nearly a thousand members, and growing every day.

Which social media platform has been the most helpful to you as a startup and how?

Social media keeps evolving, with multitude of platforms available for choice. Brands are going to have to be able to use the newest platforms to support their marketing efforts. Clovia is widely present across Facebook, Instagram, Google and Twitter. Each platform has been helpful in its own way.

I’d particularly like to mention Instagram and Facebook, which have significantly impacted our direct user engagement and connect with new audiences, positively. It has also helped us understand user preferences and requirements better. Overall, the brand persona and ethos of Clovia has been successfully communicated.

Our users are our brand ambassadors and they have helped us engage with over 3 million people. Late last year, we partnered with select members from our Clovia community to launch a much-awaited winter collection. Customers became the face of our collection. Users got their moment of fame, and we got an opportunity to show off our awesome range and ‘delight’ fans in the process.

Similarly, we recently ran a successful Instagram campaign with our users. Creating perfect looks and styles, we visually represented our brand, celebrated its personality, and kept it top-of-mind for all users. The campaign was based on the premise - if your brand were a person, how would you describe its personality? Like our users! Spend just a few seconds scrolling our page and you'll quickly be able to understand the brand when you see a young, sporty, twenty- something woman who values looking good and is not afraid to flaunt. This highlights Clovia’s offerings as well as of users who embody our target buyer persona - colorful, playful, and inspirational.

On Instagram, videos tend to get a lot of traction - our videos capture interesting moments, say our designers at work with the designs of the latest collection, or behind-the-scenes action during shoots, which makes for good consumable content for our followers.

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