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Chris ThorneCMOThe Honest Company
The Honest Company has built a loyal following among millennial mothers with their eco-friendly baby, personal care, home and health products. eMarketer’s Alison McCarthy spoke with Chris Thorne, CMO of The Honest Company, about how the lifestyle brand works to engage with millennial mothers and discover what they value.
eMarketer: What are the defining characteristics of millennial mothers that are most valuable for The Honest Company?
Chris Thorne: Millennial moms value safety, charitable causes and the environment. They have very busy lives—their time is at a premium, so they’re comfortable multitasking. They’re very connected, thoughtful consumers, are highly digital and appreciate quality design as well. I think The Honest Company really resonates with these moms because we offer high-performance, design-forward products that they can trust to be safe for both their families and for the environment.
eMarketer: What role does digital play in The Honest Company’s efforts to reach millennial mothers?
Thorne: The growth of digital—and social media in particular—has really allowed for dynamic and personalized storytelling. Our social footprint is extremely powerful, with millions of fans and followers, but we focus on developing one-on-one relationships with our customers vs. simply selling them a product.
An example of this is how we use digital to respond to our customers’ questions and comments in real time. Whether we get these through social channels or over the phone, we can now respond personally to help educate and inspire them. The company has done a really great job of actually talking to our customers to find out how we can grow with them throughout their lives.
eMarketer: Content marketing seems to be a major part of The Honest Company’s digital presence. Can you talk a bit about this?
Thorne: Content marketing is really important for us. We work hard to build new content almost daily, whether it’s through text, an image, a video or user-generated content. Again, this allows for personalized storytelling. Instead of it being simply about the products, it’s a way for us to get our brand voice out there and to inspire the customers.
eMarketer: How is The Honest Company optimizing its ecommerce strategy to appeal to these multitasking millennial mothers?
Thorne: We know that these moms have a lot going on, and that their time is limited. We’re always trying to make our ecommerce platform more convenient, both through our website and our apps. So that means simplifying the ordering and delivery processes, streamlining how customers learn about our products and customizing their orders and deliveries. We’re always asking: How can we make their lives easier?
eMarketer: Does The Honest Company connect with mother influencers via digital?
Thorne: We do. We have a lot of partners that we work with that we think fit well with our brand and value the same things we do. But we also work with people you wouldn’t even necessarily call “influencers.” These are just moms, dads and other people who love our products. We try to make it about everybody—not just the elite. With social channels, everybody’s now an influencer in some way.
eMarketer: What are some challenges in reaching these younger mothers?
Thorne: They’re extremely busy and have very little time to engage. And because they’re such a coveted demographic, there’s already so much noise out there. That means that brands must create really compelling content and products. It’s our job to make them actually want to engage with our brand, as opposed to forcing messages on them.
eMarketer: What’s one key takeaway you have for brands who want to connect with millennial mothers?
Thorne: Millennial mothers see right through inauthenticity, so the most important thing is to be authentic and true to what you stand for. Know who you are and what your values are, and how your products represent these values.
eMarketer: The Honest Company has expanded from baby products to other lifestyle categories, such as personal care and cleaning products. What other audiences are you targeting beyond young mothers, and how are you working to reach them?
Thorne: Rather than targeting different demographics with different products, we try to build better products that can grow with a customer throughout his or her life. For example, if you’re a college student and you want to keep your dorm room safe and clean, The Honest Company has a suite of products that will work well for you.
If in a few years you then become a young parent, we have products for those needs as well. Instead of thinking about set demographics, we focus more on lifestyle stages and experiences.
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