French perfume brand House of Creed is hoping Neiman Marcus’ most influential store employees attract more female customers.
Now through the end of September, Neiman Marcus and Creed are running a joint social ambassador program: Store managers at every Neiman Marcus location have selected two to three employees to act as ambassadors for the brand, which involves posting on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook two times a week, and reaching out to their own clientele to promote Creed’s new women’s fragrance, Floralie.
To select the ambassadors, the Neiman Marcus social media team and buying office worked with the beauty department managers of each store to identify associates from departments such as shoes or men’s that have already been actively engaging with their customers on social. The associates participating in the program all received a content toolkit with suggested copy and photography featuring Floralie, which was prepared by the Neiman Marcus team. Associates are also encouraged to create their own content, the spokeswoman said. Associates are eligible for Creed’s storewide selling contests but are not additionally compensated by Neiman Marcus. As of last week, there were 200 posts across social media platforms and over 283,718 total impressions
The 255-year-old fragrance brand currently has a majority male clientele, around 70 percent, and Floralie is only its second major women’s perfume launch in the last two years. In addition to partnering with Neiman Marcus’ ambassadors, the company has also put a digital marketing plan into place and updated its website.
“We feel marketing is important, but it won’t get us to the next step. For us, it’s tradition of the brand and the art of perfume-making, taking risks and being close to the customer [this way],” said Emmanuel Saujet, co-founder and CEO of Creed’s North America distributor International Cosmetics and Perfumes Inc.
To support the Neiman Marcus initiative, Creed developed a 10-part video series to help introduce customers to the brand. The series features interviews with Olivier Creed, the master perfumer for the brand, in addition to a glassmaker, an artist and more. The concept behind the video series, which is similar to the brand’s series for the 2016 release of the perfume Aventus for Her, is based on “inspiring” imagery and visuals, Saujet said. The series will live on Creed’s website and social channels, as well as Neiman Marcus’ channels.
“We don’t have a product-centric discussion; we have a customer-centric discussion, and we match the most interesting lifestyle aspect of a customer with a fragrance,” said Saujet. “It is very challenging to sell perfume online, and as a small company, we don’t have that many points of distribution, so if you are in Arkansas or Boise, Idaho, you don’t have a store near you.”
Overall, the marketing team for Creed increased its spending on digital by 25 percent for the fiscal year 2017 and 60 percent for the current fiscal year.
Moving forward, the brand is aware it needs to have a modern digital presence and is working on its website to add new features and leverage the customer data it gathers. The online business grew 55 percent last year, and between February and August, it saw an additional 18 percent growth, Saujet said. The website will re-launch on early October and offer customers a store locator feature, sampler sets for purchase, a live-chat function and a quiz to help people find a new fragrance based on their preferences. Behind the scenes, the brand is working with third parties to understand the data the brand is getting from its e-commerce.
However, the brand is conscious of the perils of too-rapid growth online, Saujet said. Although he is confident the brand can increase its female customer base by 5-10 percent, he said he would be concerned if the overall online business suddenly accounted for 75 percent of sales, for example, because that growth is not sustainable. The brand declined to say what percentage of sales are online versus retail.
“We don’t want to get over excited; we want to understand where the growth is coming from,” he said.