In the age of social media, the zeitgeist moves at a lightning-fast pace, requiring all brands to be continuously plugged into the customer conversation.

Wander Beauty, the skin-care and makeup brand devoted to beauty on the go, has embedded customer conversations and feedback into its digital, social and product development strategies. A strong community has afforded Wander the ability to maintain a strong DTC presence, craft and sustain an authentically engaged community, and weather the larger industry downturns brought on by coronavirus.

In the latest edition of Glossy+ Talks, an exclusive series for Glossy+ members, Divya Gugnani, Wander Beauty co-founder and CEO, discusses how customer conversations offer mountains of data, why transparency and honesty with customers are always required, and how Wander Beauty is discussing today’s racial inequality conversation internally and externally.

Glossy+ members can access the full video of the Talk and Gugnani’s slides below.

Sourcing and using customer data
Conversations are not merely an exchange of noise, but a treasure trove of data in the form of opinions, desires and needs. Brands can better serve their customers by finding out who they are and can build a community by finding out what makes them tick. 

– Wander Beauty used to have a “batch and blast” approach, said Gugnani, in order to get messages out to large groups of customers, but the brand has since altered its approach. Wander Beauty now customizes communications across email and SMS, and provides specific triggered emails that have exponentially driven its revenue.

– Wander Beauty monitors the amount of time customers spend on the website and the response time of customer service, as well as customers’ satisfaction rates and top complaints. The brand also conducts Facebook and Instagram polls, text message surveys and email surveys. From there, the team spends time crafting a marketing and communication strategies that speak to who its customers are.

– “Text messaging costs a lot more than email, so when you send a text message, you need to think about what the average order size is of the customer [you’re sending a text to],” said Gugnani. For example, brands need to ask themselves, “What is the lifetime value of this customer?” and “Does this person want to engage with me via text message?”

Establishing an authentic brand voice
There is always chatter made around authenticity and how brands can communicate it. But part of being authentic is not only about what a brand has to say, but keenly listening to its customers.

– “We always lead with education, entertainment and engagement,” whenever Wander Beauty speak to customers, said Gugnani. It’s an axiom of consumer brands that people only shop a brand if he or she feels it creates value in their life. The best way to do that is to understand how to innovate within the product pipeline.

– The coronavirus pandemic has thrown every brand for a loop, but it has also been an opportunity to for brands to demonstrate value to customers by being there for them. Wander Beauty asked its customers how they were feeling and what they wanted to see from the brand. Answers to the latter included at-home workouts, fast Zoom makeup tutorials and how to replicate beauty services at home.

– “Listening to your customers can be a strong way to understand how to speak, when to speak and what to say. [You can] ultimately drive immense revenue by having more tailored, personalized communications with both your team and your community,” said Gugnani.

Navigating today’s conversation around racial inequality and diversity
The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have given way to mass protests nationally, and intense discussions around diversity and inclusivity within the beauty industry. Wander Beauty has tried to take an active role by not only being transparent with customers around where it stands, but also how it plans to be better. 

– “The same conversations you’re having at home with your loved ones and your family should be the same conversations you’re having at work, and should be the same conversations you’re having with your community,” said Gugnani. Although discussions around race and inequality can be sensitive, Wander Beauty’s customers have demanded honest and transparency from the brand, which it has not shied away from.

– Wander Beauty has implemented diversity training within its company, and after Gugani took the course, she sent an email to the team to show the certificate of completion. It is Gugnani’s philosophy that leaders should set the tone of what a company’s values are and then ensure it’s the same across teams.

– “When I look at [hiring for] our team, I think about: Who can I add to the organization who has unique and different skills? … How can we get the business bigger? It’s by adding unique and diverse talents that have different perspectives and can grow the global business of our organization. If you want to innovate, you need diverse voices at the table.”

Event video

See the slides