Before Rare Beauty launched its first product and became the liquid-blush juggernaut it is today, it was hosting Zoom chats. During the pandemic, based on social listening data, it invited top-engaged community members to participate. The group rallied around a brand they knew little about, based on one common, passionate interest: Rare Beauty’s founder, Selena Gomez, the most-followed woman on Instagram.
Many joining the Zooms were members of Gen Z, which Ashley Murphy, Rare’s vp of consumer marketing, noted is “one of the loneliest generations.” On the “Rare Chats,” they discussed everything from “what they were binge-watching on Netflix to what happened on ’90-day Fiancé’ to how to destigmatize mental health,” she said. After each Zoom, the brand would add the participants to a growing group DM on Instagram. Eventually, there were more than 50 people in the group, Murphy said. “The DMs were out of control, and it became a lot to manage.” The brand eventually migrated the members to the group-chat platform Geneva, where 500 people from across the country remained in touch. “We wanted it to be a private, safe and welcoming space,” Murphy said. Now, that community has migrated to yet another home: TYB. The “play-to-earn” digital platform was launched last year by Outdoor Voices founder Ty Haney. Before inviting Rare Beauty’s 6.4 million Instagram to join its new community, the brand gave the Geneva group early access.
On TYB, a user has a wallet for all of the communities they are a part of. The wallet holds collectibles and coins, which one can earn by tagging the brand on TikTok, for example, or by saying hi in the brand’s chat. Users are able to convert coins to discounts. Currently, around 50 brands host communities on the TYB platform. Topicals was the first to join, followed by Dieux, Stratia Skin, Bread Beauty Supply, Loops and Ceremonia, among others.
Haney realized the importance of community at Outdoor Voices, her first venture as a founder, which became known for its well-attended community walks and runs. Outdoor Voices’ ambassadors served as “our most valuable way to introduce new people to the brand,” Haney said. “Anyone who found the brand through [that] community was four times more valuable than [those acquired via] pay-to-play.” That realization served as the foundation for TYB, she said.
As for Rare, those 488 people who participated in the brand’s Geneva group for years have joined TYB and begun accessing its perks. As a reward for their longstanding participation in the brand’s community, they were given an exclusive digital collectible. It reads “You are rare” and is stamped with Gomez’s signature. Newer members’ first collectible, given for joining, will be a digital necklace with Rare’s “R” logo. Members of Rare’s TYB community are also given a $5 discount to rarebeauty.com when they join.
According to Haney, TYB provides brands, which pay to use the platform, perks that social networks do not. That includes direct connections and data about a community member’s purchase history and engagement with the brand. The engagement data ranges from their posted reviews and social shares to their IRL events attended and their completed online challenges.
Haney said that, on average, brands on TYB see 8x engagement on the platform, compared to other platforms. In addition, they see 2.2x higher purchasing frequency and 23% higher lifetime revenue from TYB members, compared to non-TYB members.
Since The Outset launched on TYB on September 18, it has seen a 26% increase in order frequency, Haney said. On average, brands see a 28% increase. On the platform, The Outset has an active community of around 5,000 members, which it calls “Skinsiders.”
“We’re really going after creator and celeb brands where there’s already an audience,” Haney said.
Rare will use TYB in a variety of ways, including to further incentivize attendance at its IRL events. “Certain collectibles will only be available if you attend our in-real-life events in L.A. … [Others] will only be available if you join our virtual Rare Chats,” Murphy said. “One of the most exciting things is that we can implement TYB [elements] both digitally and in real life to deliver that omnichannel experience.”
When joining TYB, Rare was looking to answer the question of: “‘How do we continue to strengthen [existing customer-to-customer relationships] and develop a deeper connection with our community, which ultimately results in brand affinity?” Murphy said. “We’re now selling in 36 countries, [so we have to scale digitally].”