Hair tools brand T3 Micro is pivoting from its usual product-centric marketing strategy to launch a storytelling video series called “I Hair U,” which was produced in-house.
The first episode is titled “Growing Up Hair” and aired on June 16 across T3’s brand channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. There were also preview screenings with magazine editors and influencers. The first episode’s focus is on nostalgic and cringe-worthy hair trends, cuts and styles. Subsequent episodes will air weekly until July 29 and will cover celebrity hairstyles, hair challenges and hairstyle goals, as well as iconic hairstyles and haircuts. T3’s traditional marketing and advertising strategies have predominantly been product-focused. This includes top-of-funnel ads on streaming channels, in print publications and in digital channels. Additionally, T3 works closely with major accounts like Nordstrom, Amazon, Sephora and Ulta Beauty to place its products in point-of-sale sections in-store, or to join in on those retailers’ digital campaigns.
“There is an opportunity for T3 to enter a larger conversation about hair, not only in the functional sense of helping people achieve hairstyles with our products, [but] also to talk about hair and how we all feel about, it to help educate and entertain on all sorts of hair topics,” said Karolina Bakalarova, T3 Micro vp of marketing. The objectives for T3 are to evolve awareness, broaden storytelling and expand the scope of its content.
The 18-year-old brand is based in Venice, Calif. and is privately owned. It declined to disclose sales figures. However, between Feb. 2020 and Aug. 2020, T3 experienced a 32% increase in daily e-commerce traffic as the company promoted its DTC business, according to Total Retail. T3 sells 40 different products, including blow dryers, curlers, flat irons and brushes across DTC e-commerce and wholesale.
T3’s customer demographic is people ages 25-45. Bakalarova said there are also paid digital ads on social media, in addition to unpaid social posts, to announce and promote the show. She said she could not break down the exact ratio of paid versus unpaid efforts, but expected viewership to be a fairly balanced mix. She declined to cite the investments in the campaign.
The emphasis on storytelling is part of a greater push by brands to form emotional connections with their customers. Lately, brands like Lawless Beauty, Glossier, Neutrogena and Shea Moisture, and even retailers like QVC and HSN, have prioritized storytelling. This trend is indicative of how consumers use brands and products to shape or affirm their personal identities. Additionally, the abundance of quality brands in the market necessitates the need to offer more to customers than simply good but utilitarian products.
“Hair is the most emotional of all beauty categories and is so tied to our identity and our life experience,” said Danielle Chocron, managing director of creative agency Blonde and Co. “It connects us with our families, our children and our friends, and it’s also such a conversational, chatty topic. It’s absolutely key for brands to get to the heart of hair and focus on storytelling and the consumer truths, versus just being product-focused.”
The hair tools market has been fairly resilient during the pandemic. According to Kline Group data, sales in the U.S. of hair tools and appliances, in general, declined by only 1% in 2020, mostly due to a lack of blow dryer purchases. With many salons temporarily closing between the second and third quarters of 2020, customers shifted to at-home styling. As it’s using a top-funnel campaign, T3 will not look at the immediate sales results, but will instead factor what the campaign is doing for brand awareness, engagement, reach and impressions between now and the end of July.
“As T3 grows, this part of how we’re evolving,” said Bakalarova. “We’re always revisiting our communications and our media mix, and trying to follow our consumers and figure out how [to] best reach them.”