Barb Hughes is a blogger reviewing IMC licensed products

When IMC’s clients told us that they were ignoring some of their most profitable and loyal customers (women 45+) I got confused: how can consumer-centric companies work against their own self-interest?

After doing research for many months I launched a product that these women themselves said they badly wanted: VibrantNation.com, a website where they could connect with and support each other on issues unique to their stage of life.  Several million women later, Vibrant Nation not only represents another example of IMC developing innovative new products; it has also given us invaluable insights into using social media and online content to make new purchases happen.

Our first case study in this space is a digital marketing campaign supporting the partnership between our client, Borghese, and its licensee, Icon Eyewear.

We had a feeling that a brand started by one vibrant woman (Princess Marcella Borghese) and run by another (Georgette Mosbacher) was perfectly suited for getting women to talk to each other about its new products.

We also like the licensee.  Icon targets women of all ages with its products, but it also likes the brand’s strength with Boomer women 45+, especially for the readers in its line.

Our research at Vibrant Nation has taught us that women 45+ are researching brands online (and via social media) more than ever.  They are also engaging online with beauty brands more than any other category.

28% of respondents to a recent Vibrant Nation survey of women aged 45-65 told us that they follow/like beauty brands on Facebook/Twitter.  (Only 19% follow/like household products brands; and only 16% follow/like food and beverage brands.)  And 63% of these Baby Boomer women told us that they are like to research beauty brands online – again, more than any other category.  This is good news for a brand like Borghese.

With this knowledge in hand, we asked members of our Vibrant Influencer Network (VIN) to try out and write about the new Borghese-branded readers and sunglasses.  VIN members are active and influential women who generate content on Vibrant Nation and also on their own popular blogs and social media platforms.

The results were great.  We generated over 20 posts from influential bloggers that were featured on Vibrant Nation (where they will remain as evergreen marketing content for the brand and the products) as well as their own websites.   Vibrant Nation marketed the content to over 300,000 members and visitors, and VIN members reached an additional 200,000+ readers through their own blogs and social media.  One woman actually posted a 3-way minute video about her new readers on YouTube!  All of this content will now remain permanently online to market these products and the partnership between Borghese and Icon.

This word-of-mouth campaign is not just a good fit; it’s likely to make women buy more of Icon’s eyewear.  In our research, women tell us that online articles and reviews are more likely than anything else to get them to actually start buying.

At IMC we’ve always said we make great products happen; we now also make great new products get talked about – and bought.

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