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Benni is a lifestyle company launched during Covid, offering high-performance face masks for those trying to maintain an active lifestyle throughout the pandemic. I was brought on shortly before launch as a designer and quickly took a lead on many growth and brand direction initiatives.
During our phase one launch, I lead many promotion efforts and strategy plans to ensure a successful presale round. One initiative to tap into our networks and get the product in front of relevant audiences included a shareable graphic package that we sent out to email contacts, investors, PR reps and more to be shared across their digital platforms. With this running in addition to our own social media countdown posts, we quickly sold out first run inventory.
One of my main responsibilities at Benni was managing, producing content for, and growing our social media presences. I began with a deep dive into the goals of the company, how we could use social media to reach them, and how I could leverage the online community to grow the brand beyond the initial ideas.
While determining what our approach to social media should look like, I studied other profiles we admired and made clear goals for why we use social media in the first place. I began by creating a social strategy deck so the whole team could understand our approach and so they could have a roadmap to continue posting after I left. This strategy is still in place today and the team continues to use the posting plan and follower interaction guide I established.
I also tested several publishing and listening tools to ensure the team was able to collaborate and proactively respond to all community engagements. This strategy plan allowed the Benni brand to expand past our established identity and flex to many types of movement and styles.
For our Instagram account (primary channel), I created a posting schedule that flexed for both repeated content (weekly motivation, challenges, announcements etc), and responding quickly to current events or content our team delivered randomly throughout the week. I also shot multiple photos for use across social media and other company channels (email, web, PR, etc).
GROWTH & ENGAGEMENT
To grow our audience, I collaborated with the team to develop a strategy for running giveaways for our followers. This tactic helped double our following in one week and activated our engaged community members. We saw over 200% participation after my first round of strategy adjustments and got our followers to view Benni as an exercise friend rather than lifeless brand online. I leveraged social and email communication to promote the giveaway, and started a plan to curate prize packages that would appeal to various types of active folks to draw in a more diverse audience.
I also worked with the team and consultant Sandra Ha to loop in public figure partnerships, influencer relations, and more digital community engagement. I tracked KPIs each week to monitor our progress and begin to tailor our content and posting strategy to what resonated with our audience. These insights continue to influence the social strategy today.
I also utilized Instagram features like polls and quizzes to get a real-time sense of what our audience wanted to see from the brand going forward. These insights informed decisions about color production, packaging, giveaway prizes, and content approaches.
As a small, frugal team, I was in charge of growing a following exclusively through organic posts, without an ad budget. These efforts resulted in not only growing our follower count, revenue, and impressions, but created a true community that shares Benni's values. This love for community is what drives the brand.
The #bennifam is made up of all the followers, customers, subscribers, employees, friends, families, investors, and more who give Benni its spirit. Anyone who has a passion to #keepmoving is welcome, and the community Benni inspires creates with them in mind every day. I created this hashtag and concept as a way to unite our audience under a common idea: just keep moving :-)
When I arrived, Benni had never sent an email. Working with the rest of the team, I lead our trial of email marketing platform Klaviyo to reach customers. Though it has several design limitations, I knew it would be the most practical choice for the company because it would allow those without design or HTML experience to create email campaigns without assistance from me or co-founder & designer Vu.
We collaborated to set up an email strategy that connects with customers during every step of their journey with Benni: from the first point of contact, to the add-to-cart, order confirmation, review request, and continued engagement through personalized newsletter content delivered regularly.
My strategic contributions to the email presence were also all about transparency and cultivating trust between Benni and its community. Manufacturing products during Covid provided many challenges and I made it a priority to keep our customers updated and informed on their order status to solidify Benni as an honest, agile company who navigates challenges openly and with perserverance.
To further expand our reach, the team and I developed a referral program that offers friends the opportunity to share a discount with their networks and receive cash back in return. This quickly grew our #bennifam and got people excited to shop the mask.
Benni's blog, Keep Moving, reaches out to our audience for all the things they care about: movement, lifestyle, interesting reads, company updates, and more.
Coworker Michael and I collaborated with CEO John to come up with a game plan for posting. One thing I focused on was making sure we had a wide range of topics covered that would allow us to speak to multiple audience sectors, not just super-fit athletes.
I also planned our email marketing strategy for the blog, and a segmented schedule to make sure our posts reach the right demographic.
Before leaving, I was able to contribute a couple posts and videos in my movement area of expertise: simple, easy yoga practices.
The rest of the team continued the format I set up to execute several more posts since the blog's launch and has created an engaging collection of stories that connect with the audience.
In addition to digital design and brand strategy, I owned several print design projects that visualize the brand system across contexts, further developing the identity the founding designer began to establish.
Upon arriving at the company, I realized there were so many unique features and benefits the Benni mask offered that weren't being effectively communicated to customers up front. I quickly proposed and executed a small according packaging insert that highlights some of Benni's key attributes that make it so special.
As part of a future product enhancement strategy project, I concepted antimicrobial mask bags that would be included with each purchase. This idea solves for a common user paint point of mask storage. After conducting primary research, I found that there is a common struggle to keep masks separate and sanitary from other belongings in a bag, pocket, purse etc.
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