Behind-the-scenes content: the key to customers

Product teasers and sneak previews are go-to ways to create hype before a launch. But some businesses are going one step further – showing customers the nitty-gritty of building a brand or of product development.
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It’s a trend that’s taking off on TikTok. Étoile Collective, which makes functional furniture for beauty enthusiasts, uses its account to take followers around its office space and show the process of monogramming products. Illustrator Eva Malley films day-in-the-life content for her TikTok, which includes packaging customer orders and prepping wholesale orders. 

Crowdsourced hype

Businesses that haven’t officially launched are also sharing more behind-the-scenes content, doing away with the need to be ‘perfect’ before their first product drop. ‘A lot of money goes into building products under wraps. Some businesses just don’t have that kind of money,’ says Nick McLauchlan. Nick and partner Jessie Kenneth are developing cookware brand Season. They haven’t launched any products yet, but have a healthy following on a pre-launch email newsletter that they send out every Sunday. 

‘It’s tough to keep the momentum going on side projects, so the newsletter helps us stay accountable and show up week on week,’ Jess adds. Here is how else it’s helped them.

• De-risking product development. From the handles on their pans to color options, Jess and Nick have called on their subscribers to shape next steps in the product development process. ‘It’s a small batch of data that is really vital to our understanding,’ Nick says. ‘About 25% to 40% of people who open the emails are doing surveys for us.’

• Forecasting demand. ‘We’re selling a high-value item, so we want people to know the product and know us,’ Nick says. ‘Transparency helps us build trust in a short space of time and move people through a sales funnel.’

Amelia Christie-Miller recently launched UK-based Bold Bean Co, selling heirloom beans sourced from Spain. Before launching, she built an Instagram Close Friends list, feeding people with exclusive behind-the-scenes content on the development of her brand. Here is how the list informed Bold Bean Co’s planning. 

• Co-creation. ‘The Close Friends group has been my version of a co-founder in Bold Bean Co,’ Amelia says. ‘Everything from the brand name to the brand design and tone of voice has been co-created with them. They were our real-life mini focus group.’

• Brand advocates. ‘Because those in the group have seen the ups and downs of the business, whenever we post a milestone – like our fixture in [the] Planet Organic [supermarket] – they all go crazy with engagement and supportive messages. They’ve been the ultimate champions.’

A version of this article was published in the Courier Weekly newsletter. For more useful stories, tips, tricks and simply good advice, sign up here.

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