Why we chose LOFT
As a smaller digital marketing shop, we have the luxury of picking and choosing who we want to work with. There are a lot of good companies out there but only a small number meet our criteria for companies that are a good fit with our agency.
Loft is one of those companies.
Last weekend I went shopping with my wife and we ended up in the LOFT. First off, the vibe of that store was a good one. I think it was a mix of the people and the clothes. It felt classy and genuine. I'm not really sure how else to describe it, but it just made sense.
She tried on a couple things and found this one dress that was "totally her" and she fell in love with it immediately. She was buying it and it didn't matter what I thought.
But I thought the same thing. It was a great dress. And the best part is it was under $100. So of course she found a couple other things that she needed before we hit the check out to round it out.
Behind the register I saw an image of a written letter that read "Dear What To Wear". For some reason at that moment, I had a really good feeling about this company. I liked what they were doing. On top of that the girls at the register were super nice and helpful to my wife.
And it was THIS experience that inspired me to start this series of deep dives, giving marketing feedback to companies who have a great brand but need a little help reaching their full potential.
So thanks, LOFt, for being a company that, by its very nature, inspires good things.
Let's start with something positive.
I really like the summer series campaign. I like the videos they created. They are funny and wherever they ran them, they probably had pretty solid engagement through to the end of the videos. It looks like they are showing signs of carrying this theme over into other seasons. I would like to see what they could do with this in the winter season, especially around holiday sales.
More on video
The LOFT Laughs videos they did were really good, but they just needed more! There isn't enough content. I can't tell what they've done with them, except you can see on their YouTube channel, where some of their videos got a lot of views and some had barely any. My fear is that not enough people have seen them. From the outside looking in, it almost looks like they hired an agency to create them (WIN!) but the execution of getting them in front of the right audience was fumbled. Again, it's hard to tell from the outside ....
There are so many ways they can use this hashtag to grow their brand on social. Here's just one that jumped out at me.
• There's not enough engagement with their audience who is posting on Instagram using the hashtag.
When you look through the posts on Instagram using this hashtag (and there are more than 70k!) you won't see very much, if any, engagement from the brand itself. This is a huge missed opportunity to have a real conversation with the customer using their product and embodying the brand. Without reaching out and saying "Yeah! That looks great on you!" or something that keeps the conversation going, the customer is missing out on that part of the relationship with the brand.
It's kind of like HAVING a father but he's emotionally unavailable. =( You want to share experiences with him but he's too busy at work.
One word - Influencers
It doesn't appear that there is ANY influencer engagement with their brand online. I couldn't find anyone saying that LOFT paid them to post, but of course there may be something somewhere.
Influencers are the way to hit their market and have impact. And then they can reach out and engage from there.
I found this style blogger, who would be a perfect person for LOFT to partner with. She loves the brand and would probably be JAZZED to work with LOFT on a series to promote their brand and the #loveLOFT hashtag.
If they reached out to influencers like this and offered for them to be the first to try a new line that was coming out, it would do wonders for their street cred.
If you want to know what my wife is doing every night, look no further than our living room couch. After a long day of work and kids, this is her time to herself to relax and watch tv. BUT, she's not just watching tv. She's on her phone looking at clothes, furniture and all things Instagram.
THIS IS THE RITUAL FOLKS.
So, here's another avenue that could work. Run 2 ads on Hulu during certain targeted shows. Run the first one talking about the #loveLOFT hashtag. It sets the stage for the second ad that asks their audience to do something with the hashtag. Like, share what you're doing right now. That would be interesting to see. 9pm on a Tuesday night, you refresh the hashtag and see 20k mid-thirty somethings sitting on the couch watching "This is us".
NEXT LEVEL MARKETING
Let's take this up a notch. LOFT ... you want to KILL IT with the ladies?? Here's the mother of all marketing for your brand.
1. Build partnerships with influencers (as stated above) in key geographic areas around the country. Leverage this for multiple ways to grow the brand.
2. Invite all of your influencers to host This is Us premier parties when the season begins (missed that boat) and season finale parties (still got time).
The rest will be history, my friends.
From my empirical data (don't ask me how I gathered it), I can tell you that more and more women are holding these parties that involve baking cakes and drinking wine. More than one would think! It's crazy and I don't get it. But I'm a guy and I can't bring myself to watch that show (too heavy).
Time to get serious.
I mentioned on the front end that when I was in the store I just had a good vibe about this brand.
The actual thought that popped into my feeble marketing brain was for LOFT to showcase the real women who MAKE the clothes.
WAIT! STOP! WHAT??
Yes, I personally think this could be an AMAZING opportunity for LOFT to showcase the ANN Cares side of their company. What company have you seen showcase the people who are making the clothing ... if they don't make the clothes in the U.S.? It's kind of taboo to talk about making clothes overseas but, um ... the majority of our clothes ARE made overseas!
So, why not own that story and tell the REAL and genuine story of a woman who provides for her family by being a part of the LOFT ecosystem? They have REAL women providing for their families at 90% of the other roles in their company **Applaudes** including those super nice and helpful ladies at the register when I was there with my wife.
This makes the most sense to me. And here's why.
In this 2012 interview with LOFT CEO Kay Krill, she talks about how they gave $25m to charities, etc with Ann Cares. On their website with their current CEO Gary Muto, he says they've given over $60m since 2005. Its hard to find where they have been delivering on those values unless you really look hard and even then it's a little lackluster. No big deal, it just looks like they haven't made this part of their business as much of a priority.
When I stood in their store, it felt like now is the time to make it a priority. I sensed that this is the biggest piece of who they are and they are leaving it out of the conversation. I really think the stories of who is making the clothes would resonate with their audience and draw them closer to the mission of the brand. If it's hard to find when you're looking , their audience is probably not getting the message.
Here are a few videos I found tucked away on their corporate site. It's just not enough.
Personally, I think this is the story they should be telling.
So, there you go.
Our first deep dive on a company we think has the chance to go further and do more, fulfilling their greater potential.
Have any thoughts ... on our thoughts?