Peer-to-peer beauty company Avon is hoping its thousands of sales representatives will tune into its new podcast, and bring others along for a listen.
Today, New Avon LLC announced the launch of its first-ever podcast, Make It Happen: Powered by Avon, hosted by Evy deAngelis, the executive director of sales development at Avon. The podcast comes at a time when the brand in the midst of a digital transformation to make the company more contemporary through mobile-optimized features, pop-ups, and exploring marrying data with emotions for future product innovations. At the time, more brands are seeing the appeal of podcasts: Last week, clothing brand Maison Margiela launched a podcast with its creative director John Galliano, while Reebok has launched one about female-focused footwear, and department store Barneys New York debuted one in April.
There is a good reason podcasts are being leveraged as a new marketing tool. At least 40 percent of Americans who are at least 12 years old — approximately 120 million people — have listened to a podcast at least once, and 28 percent are millennials aged 18 to 34, according to 2017 data from Edison Research. DeAngelis said it was “absolutely intentional” to try and introduce millennials to the Avon brand and invite them to become part of its community.
The podcast features deAngelis speaking with a variety of successful Avon representatives, one on one or on a panel, or with other successful founders of various small companies, discussing the ups and downs of their business experiences. With “hundreds of thousands” of Avon representatives according to the brand, the podcast already has a built-in audience, and the podcast is seen not only as a way to reach potential new customers and salespeople but also as a way to imbue them with the entrepreneurial lifestyle and promote the credibility of the brand. But the Avon connection is purposefully deemphasized, she said.
“You’ll notice we don’t come right out of the gate with Avon,” she said, adding that the podcast was designed to be shared between current representatives and potential or new reps.
“While we still have the traditional business opportunities [like hosting a party or meeting], we wanted to give representatives the tools to share the business prospect without them having to get people together,” deAngelis said, adding that now, more than ever, people are busy, and a podcast gives them the opportunity to multitask by ingratiating Avon into their existing routines.
It also helps credibility to have a podcast that is inspiring without being indoctrinating. Direct-selling models often battle stigmas, as people can associate them with pyramid schemes or conflate them with multilevel marketing. The 132-year-old company markets itself as a brand that helped women earn their own income 34 years before they could even vote, and that continues to support women within a sisterhood-like camaraderie.
“If you look at the space in general on social selling, the companies that are really thriving are maximizing their storytelling ability,” deAngelis said. “We could have done this two years ago or two years from now, but we are at a point in history — given the popularity of podcast, and given the need to provide the community the ability to share personal stories with others — that we felt was the right time.”