By: Cynarah Ellawala
Understanding that as a start-up, our client’s budget was limited, our strategy for the launch of their product line in Seattle was purposely intimate and highly targeted. In the past, we have done company launches with over 800 people in attendance. However, the costs implication of an 800-guest party is much higher. Thus, our approach in creating an intimate gathering was to hand-select women of influence with whom we felt the client’s brand would resonate. We wanted a diverse group a women who reflect today’s world, and our client desired to create a brand and product that is in-line with the modern woman whom, as our client loves to say, is “More than a Ma’am.” Why do phrases “Don’t Call Me Ma’am” and “More than a Ma’am” resonate with these women? Because, as you will see from the pictures below, being called “ma’am” makes us feel old, like we are past our prime, and more importantly, women take on multiple roles in our daily lives. Today’s women are driven. We are leaders, not just at home or in schools, but at the office as bosses or business owners, or in politics. But I digress…
Trying to make an impact with a small budget is something we thrive on and knew that with the array of holiday parties we were going to have to compete with, we needed to make it more than just a holiday event and come up with something that would help us break through the clutter and create intrigue and chatter. Answer: The Naked Party.
The idea behind the Naked Party was fundamentally rooted in the DNA of our client’s brand, which aims to create a movement around real women, real beauty, with an attitude that says that we are free to be ourselves. As our host for the evening, an experienced aesthetician, said that night, “the idea that taking care of yourself and your skin is not vanity, it’s a necessity.” We wanted our guests to leave with this message — go home and think about it. Once women get over this hurdle, the next steps don’t have to be complicated or costly to do so; and as it turns out can also be good for the environment, your skin, and your soul.
We invited our guests to arrive, as they are, naturally beautiful, with a naked face — no makeup. Although our client was skeptical at first, and almost shied away from the word “naked,” we are glad they put trust in us and took a leap of faith.
We agreed on a targeted number of guests we wanted to attend the event based on the capacity of a pre-selected venue. The goal was 50–60 women. As part of the theme, we wanted to create fun ways that the attendees could experience the brand. One of the things we felt was most important, given that DCMM is a skincare brand, was to ensure that our guests could test out the product — and part of asking them to come with a naked face was to facilitate the testing of the product. We employed three aestheticians and trained them on the product ingredients, specific uses, and benefits, prior to the event. Three aesthetician stations were available for guests to sit, have mini-consultations about their skincare needs, and test out DCMM products.
Another large component of the DCMM brand is their manifesto. It has multiple positive affirmations about being a woman, aging, taking on the world, conquering mountains, beauty, and so much more. DCMM wants women to join their movement by signing and sharing their manifesto. This also needed to be prominent at the event itself. We suggested a giant print of the manifesto on which women could sign next to the affirmation that most resonated with them or add their own message.
Given that the event was taking place during the holiday season, we suggested that our client set up a sales table and that they package bundles of products to sell, as well as individual products. We also urged them to package products as stocking stuffers, which was done by merchandising the table and products in Christmas stockings. Lastly, we encouraged guests to buy gift certificates for their friends as well.
Other components of the event included a social media wall with white boards where women could write their own answers to “Don’t call me ma’am. Call me…”, or “I am more than a ma’am because…”, and take photos for sharing. A video camera was also set to take their audio/visual responses to these same promptings. We felt this represented a perfect opportunity to capture real women on camera, talking about these topics for the client to later use on their website or their social media.
The event was held at an intimate wine tasting room that also provided custom label wine for the evening with our client’s logo on the bottle. Gift bags for women who were brave enough to show up with no makeup, giveaways, and other branded merchandise also rounded out the evening, along with a short speech from the aesthetician and our client addressing their engaged, happy, and attentive audience.
Even with a small budget, our concept and detailed execution paid off.
- We welcomed more than 50 handpicked guests, including local media, bloggers, and highly influential ladies who posted photos of the event on their social media.
- About 90 percent of those women tested out the products using the aesthetician stations; our experienced aesthetician speech was well received.
- 95 percent of the women signed the manifesto.
- All women took pictures on the media wall, some multiple times.
- The venue (tasting room) owner mentioned that this had been the most well attended public event held at his venue.
- Don’t Call Me Ma’am made sales that evening; many of the women bought products for themselves or as gifts.
- Most importantly, nearly everyone woman, with the exception of a handful, showed up with their naked face. We have the photos to prove it and that’s empowering!
After this event, our client saw the value and ROI in doing small, targeted events. Not only because it provides cost savings, but also for being a company in the early stages, it gives them the opportunity to more intimately interact with women and get feedback for improving their product and their company message.
They now have a model for how to host events and many of the assets can be reused as they replicate the event theme in other iterations. Finally, by having women intimately interact with their brand, Don’t Call Me Ma’am is creating loyal brand advocates who will start doing the selling for them.