Plum invests 60% of the AdSpends pie in top-of-the-funnel activities: Shivani Behl, CMO, Plum

Shivani Behl, CMO, Plum

With an increase in ad budget by 40% over last year, the 100% digital brand plans to explore alternate media and communication avenues. Shivani Behl CMO, Plum gives Social Samosa a peek into the brand’s marketing blueprint.

Starting in 2013 as a sustainable D2C skincare brand, Plum over the years has expanded itself into various other segments including color cosmetics and a different range for men. The brand is all about saying no to any artificial beauty standard, elevating self-care, and championing real goodness. Shivani Behl, CMO, Plum shares how they weave in this stance in their communication and media plan subsequently.

Demystifying the concept of beauty, Plum puts major bets on social media platforms, where Instagram acts as the main channel for it to create awareness and collaborate apt influencers.

In a freewheeling conversation with Social Samoa, Shivani Behl, Chief Marketing Officer at Plum, shares more on its overall communication strategy and increasing advertising spends.

The brand is on the lookout for exploring OTT advertising at scale and alternate channels other than digital. It also is aiming to double its revenue achieved the last year.

Communication Strategy:

For Plum, the relationship with Plumsters (its customers) goes beyond just the transactional means and is rather a deeper emotional connect that is appreciative of the brand and its overall ethos. 

Other than being toxin-free, 100% vegan with the research-backed product, the brand differentiates itself basis the ‘real goodness’ of not only its products but also how it interacts with consumers. Not only does it disclose the ingredients of the products but puts forth all the genuine reviews and feedback.

Behl shares that the brand is aiming to amplify its entire ‘Be Good’ proposition by partnering with creators, agencies and taking it out to the masses. “We are still somewhere a bit niche and we really want more eyeballs to be generated for the brand.”

Also read: How men skincare brands break stereotypes via social media

In line with the whole strategy of going far and beyond just the digital audience, Plum recently onboarded Famous Innovations as the agency on record and Mithila Palkar as the brand ambassador to amplify their proposition.

From a media mix perspective, being a D2C brand, it is very heavy on digital with 100% of its spending on the same. Although it does look at the offline channels of sampling through various partners. But with COVID-19 permitting this year, the brand is also looking at alternative media, whether it is television or OTT advertising.

Plum has increased its ad spends by about 35 to 40% over the last year.

Social Media – The Key Channel

In Behl’s words, social media works wonders for the brand – from creating awareness to conversions. It advertises through YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Digital footprint:

  • Instagram: 568K
  • YouTube: 25.1K
  • Facebook: 242K

“The kind of results that we get on social media conversions is far better than paid, the typically paid conversions that one really optimizes for. Social media is also used as a platform for educating the consumer about the different ingredients of our products,” she says.

It effectively uses its social media platforms to create awareness around its products and demystify and simplify beauty from a consumers lens perspective. Out of the overall digital spending,

Plum invests 60% of the pie in top-of-the-funnel activities.

Instagram

“Instagram is our front runner from a social media perspective. The fun entertaining way is the tone that we take for our social media, which is primarily led through this platform,” she says.

The brand is present on the platform in a very fun, peppy way with varieties of short, snackable content. It primarily uses this platform to educate the audiences on all subjects beauty and skin. Plum gauges the ROI on the platform through the reach numbers.

YouTube

Plum utilizes YouTube for long-format content majorly around how to do videos, products reviews, and everything around skin informatics. 

It uploads Shorts too for quick tips. Other than promoting the products, it is also helping the audiences build their own healthy skin-care regime via content on the channel.

The brand is also going to start with another series on YouTube, called the ‘Inkey List’, which will talk about each and every individual ingredient that has been used by different beauty brands. From an ROI perspective, other than looking at reach numbers, they brand also keeps a track of its Google search results.

Facebook

The brand maintains a very vibrant and diverse profile on Facebook. Skincare routines, makeup tutorials, and beauty regimens, Plum’s Facebook channel has varied content snippets in static post and video formats.

Since the time of its inception, the brand has strongly believed in disclosing all of its products’ ingredients with 100% honesty and the same reflects in its content too. Its ‘Judge.me Reviews‘ section is all about honest feedback of the audiences available for the public eyes.

Content Marketing

The brand has tonnes of educative content across platforms that discuss varied subjects surrounding skincare. “Education is the core of our content videos and the product is not in your face spoken about,” Behl says.

It does a lot of live sessions as well with its consumers to talk about holistic beauty in general and ropes in dermatologists, fitness experts, and nutritionists for the same. 

Plum recently announced the launch of its content creator program the Plum Squad with an aim to provide a platform for budding creators to channel their day-to-day beauty passion into a full-time career with the brand.

Behl feels that there is so much talent out there in terms of content creators, who have a passion for beauty but don’t really have a platform to showcase it or even amplify it to a larger audience. The same program, she feels, will also help the brand to solidify its content strategy and the might of its in-house team to be able to churn out engaging interesting content.

Nano x Celebrity Influencers

As part of the digital strategy, influencer marketing is one of Plum’s strongest pillars. 

A few months back it also launched an influencer affiliate program ‘Plum List’ and has about 1000+ influencers already on board, who are creating content and becoming the voice of the brand. These creators not only talk about the product but there’s a commission angle attached towards the sale. 

Sharing her thoughts on the importance of influencer marketing, she says that it’s very difficult for any brand to ignore the importance of content creators today. 

Also read: How Plum’s #LikeAMother campaign garnered 3L+ campaign impressions

“Influencer have their own cult following. Whenever we collaborate with beauty-specific influencers, we see major traction because it is totally a holy grail for a lot of consumers. It’s impossible for any brand in the beauty space to not work with influencers. We have seen certain brands who said no to influencers earlier, also getting attracted towards this entire strategy and slowly and steadily joining the bandwagon,” she says.

Not only do these influencers help the brand to create content, but also provide it with the added reach and help spike the product sales.

Advising fellow marketers on reaping maximum RoI through influencer marketing, Behl shares that while celebrity influencers will give enough awareness, it’s extremely important to have a very healthy mix of nano influencers too, which give added reach and credibility.

But how to go about choosing the right creators?

We go through their profiles, their followers, engagement, the kind of brands that they have associated with in the past also play a big role. Also, another factor that we keep in mind is the men-women followers skew,” she adds.

The brand associates with influencers across multiple categories and not only beauty influencers. In the past, it has roped in stand-up comedians who make a more engaging twist to beauty challenges, and lifestyle influencers as well.

Sales & Distribution Strategy

As of now, in terms of revenue contribution for the brand, 40% comes through offline and 60% through online channels. 

While online is led by marketplaces and its own B2C platform (which contributes 20-25% within online revenue), for the offline, the brand is in about 250 towns today via 950 assisted outlets and about 10k non-assisted outlets and modern trade stores. It has also recently launched its first store.

Behl shares that the aim is to open 50 more stores in the next two years. It has signed up 6 stores already. The brand also plans to double the revenue this year and is really looking at improving the customer experience through its D2C platform. 

“This year, we are heavily investing in tech upgrades on our platform and we really looking at creating more experiences through VR try-ons to give an easy understanding of the product and shorten the purchase cycle. We have dabbled with live commerce on a small scale, but we see that becoming the center stage towards the latter half of the year. Therefore, there will be lots of focus on building and improving the consumer experience via marketing automation, tech interventions which is the prime focus for us this year,” she adds.


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