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Growing a Community That Loves Your Brand

How to reach more of your biggest fans

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Mila Aldrin
Mila Aldrin
Director of eCommerce at Moon Juice

Mila Aldrin is the Director of eCommerce at Moon Juice, the cult wellness and beauty brand that is bringing plant-based healing, juices — and most recently, beauty products — into the mainstream. Moon Juice has taken the $4-trillion-dollar global wellness industry by storm, growing from a single physical location to an online brand of cosmic proportions.

Establishing Your Brand Community

When you sell in a niche market, establishing your initial community will involve a lot of targeting, segmentation, and analytics. But, once you’ve hit the diehard fans who are naturally drawn to your brand, reaching consumers with a budding interest in your vertical will depend largely on how you approach product development and education.

At Moon Juice, we’ve found that there are tons of people who are interested in wellness but just need a bit more information or outreach to engage with our brand. Using community to make those connections and reach potential customers gives them a space to learn about your products from like-minded people and develop the confidence to try out your brand.

Scale Your Community With Accessible Product

I think one of the things brands underestimate when talking about community-building is the product itself. If you’re planning to expand past one product, you must constantly re-think and re-evaluate who you’re developing those products for.

At Moon Juice, we experienced this evolution with our Moon Dusts, a collection of adaptogenic blends that provide targeted support depending on where stress affects you – Beauty, Brain, Sex, Power, Spirit, and Dream. We found that while the Dusts quickly resonated with a niche audience of herbalists and those familiar with plants like Ashwagandha and Maca, their purpose and usage wasn’t as well understood by a larger audience. Since we believe so strongly in spreading our message of stress relief through the power of plants, we knew we had to create a product that would be super easy to use and thus, more broadly appealing. So, earlier this year, we launched SuperYou, our first adaptogenic capsule. Taking a supplement in pill form is such a familiar format that the success of SuperYou really helped expand our community. While we still cultivate our Dust enthusiasts with new recipes and blends, we’re now able to also cater to those looking for a simple way to incorporate adaptogens into their lives.

direct-to-consumer ecommerce marketing

Since we can never fully predict how a product will take off with any given audience, it’s extremely important to stay agile and ready to adjust, quickly. If you’re too set on a certain target audience or focused only on people already within your funnel, you could miss out on great opportunities to grow your community.

Don’t Get Carried Away With Trends

When building a community-based brand, where some brands go wrong is trying to follow trends rather than following what they’re known for and good at. Before Moon Juice, I worked in the color cosmetics industry and I would see it all the time. A few years ago, highlighting became “the thing” and every color brand rushed to launch highlighters. We ended up inundated with hundreds of indistinguishable highlighting products, while there were probably only two or three brands that were really doing it well.

That’s the real pitfall — racing to follow trends, and then losing your brand identity and value proposition in the process. The fans you gain chasing trends won’t be nearly as engaged as your core community and you’ll turn off long-term enthusiasts who valued your brand for its point of difference.

At Moon Juice, feedback from our core community really helps guide product development. We use consumer insights shared through reviews, social media, and in person at our three shops to decide which products we need to launch or create next. By keeping our most enthusiastic customers engaged with our innovation pipeline, we’re building a strong word-of-mouth community that organically shares products they’re excited about with their friends and followers.

Educate Holistically

In the wellness space especially, consumers expect full transparency when it comes to which ingredients go into their products and how to most effectively use the products. If they’re buying online, without seeing, touching, or tasting the product, all the moreso.

direct-to-consumer ecommerce marketing

Consumers want education and information, so by being very transparent and forthright with that information, you can really build a community that trusts your brand. Not only that, you also become a sort of destination for content in your vertical, which means that when interested people start digging for information, they find your brand. You can achieve this with educational videos about your products, events at pop-ups or physical stores, blog posts or even online fact sheets for product launches — there are endless ways to reach and engage new audiences with educational content.

Education is a major and ongoing project at Moon Juice. Initially, educating our consumers was focused in-store and mostly required staffing knowledgeable teams to serve up alchemizations and talk to customers about products. Now, with the growth and expansion of our digital channels, education has become even more of a challenge and opportunity for us. Through our partnership with Sephora, we started creating educational videos for our products which allowed us to explore new formats for sharing content. Expanding how we reach our consumers with education and use information is a top priority as we continue to build trust and strengthen our community, both in-store and through social/digital channels.

This focus on education can translate into any vertical — whether it’s explaining how a garment is made or how to use a new piece of technology. It will take people from being excited about your products to feeling empowered with knowledge and trusting enough to make a purchase they feel good about.

Conclusion

  • Consider new formats – If your brand is super specialized, create a more accessible version of your best products to reach a broader community with similar interests to your core customers.
  • Stick to what you’re good at – People will share what works, so hopping on the bandwagon for the latest trend is unlikely to make for an exceptional product that people will talk about.
  • Educate, educate, educate – Create collateral that gives people important information about your products and also serves as an educational hub in your space.

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