Lingerie brand Aerie is a good example of a values-driven company, and one that has incorporated values into all aspects of marketing since its launch. The ‘AerieReal’ campaign has consistently promoted self-empowerment in women, with its initial 2014 campaign promoting its own use of un-retouched images. Since, it has continuously fostered organic engagement, with Aerie asking its own online community to submit their personal stories in 2021. Some examples went viral, such as a post by TikToker Hannah Schlenker, helping to further generate natural affinity and engagement for the brand.
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Being ‘purpose-driven’ has become a strategic priority for many brands in recent years, particularly since the pandemic, but few are actively translating purpose into action. One way that brands fall short is by being broadly purpose-driven, without any real sense of how this purpose might align with a product, or the values and needs of its customer-base.
Interestingly, research by Deloitte found that – while consumers do often prioritise price and quality – many also elevate a number of other areas, albeit in a more nuanced way. For example, one third of consumers aged 25 and younger value sustainability when specifically making beauty and personal care purchases.
Ultimately, it is about aligning with what customers care about the most, which is something that Sephora strives to do with its purpose strategy. Alongside the most obvious, such as beauty advice, CMO of Sephora Americas, Deborah Yeh, told CMO Today that this means uncovering deeper needs, “such as, “Help me feel more seen and appreciated for being me. Help me feel included in the shopping experience.” That’s where we as an organisation need to think about all the systems at our disposal and our role as a retailer and member of the beauty industry to ensure that we are really serving people as people.”