How can brands cultivate a consumer who also markets the company to her friends?
Connie Anne Phillips, publisher and chief revenue officer for Glamour, offers two hypothetical readers, Emily and Stephanie. “You’ve noticed that Emily has had a perfect hair day every day, and when you compliment her, she says ‘thanks,’” said Phillips. “Nothing about serums, nothing about new tools, nothing about Drybar — which she knows has just opened around the corner from you. Then you run into Stephanie. Now, Stephanie looks great, too — she’s trim, she’s fit, her skin is glowing. Only when you compliment Stephanie, she says ‘thanks so much! I’ve been going to SoulCycle and I love it — I found the best instructor, I’m going on Saturday, you’re coming with me, I’m booking you a bike right next to mine.’ The point is, both women have a huge knowledge base about looking great. But Stephanie has something else. She has the desire to share it. Not even just a desire — she can’t resist sharing it. Add to that she has hundreds of followers to share it with. At Glamour, we developed a term for the Stephanies of the world — the popularizer.”
The magazine, which trademarked the term and commissioned a large research study on the topic, found that traditional influencers no longer exist, Phillips said. A large part of this is due to mobile technology and social media’s rise — now, any woman has a front-row view of shows or festivals. “It cut down the red ropes and gave us all access,” she said. “Trend sharing became so much more important than trendspotting. This is a world where the popularizer rules.”
The popularizer loves social media and beauty, and above all sharing that love and knowledge with others, said Phillips. “She thrives as the curator of her network — but that network, both online and off, is huge. She accounts for about 20 percent of the population, but her voice connects to so many more.” Most popularizers are posting at least daily on social channels — whether it be Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube or Facebook. “As technology comes around, she immediately embraces it,” said Phillips. “And she doesn’t just share with you, she shops for you — 86 percent will make a dedicated shopping trip to find a fashion or beauty product for someone other than herself. So not only is she a great consumer, she’s a good friend. And as a result, she has clout.”
Best practices for speaking to popularizers, said Phillips? First, know your medium. “Popularizers love traditional brand advertising, on the pages of magazines or billboards,” she said. “However, when it comes to social media, that is not the case. [There] she wants you to keep it real, particularly in video tutorials. Second, your relationship with a popularizer is not a one-way street. She needs you as much as you need her. You provide her with the social currency that keeps her in the front and center of her network.”
Phillips was joined on the panel by Glamour’s Ying Chu, executive beauty editor; Maureen Choi, senior beauty editor; Simone Kitchens, associate beauty director, and Lindsey Unterberger, executive digital editor.