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How Truffle Helped Position Gender Fluid Retailer VERV as a Leading Voice in the LGBTQ+ Community

We’ve always celebrated individuality and self-expression here at Truffle - from our hiring processes and the capabilities of our diverse team, to the bespoke approach that we adopt for each of our clients. Over the last month, we’ve rolled up our sleeves and got to work in establishing a social strategy for VERV, an exciting retail platform offering gender-fluid fashion and accessories. And what better way to celebrate Pride month than giving you a little sneak peek into the Truffle processes that formed the strategy for VERV?

Here’s how it unfolded…

As an emerging retailer stocking brands that create gender-neutral apparel, VERV came to us wanting to raise awareness and drive sales. We took this as a starting point for our strategy research. Combining both qualitative and quantitative data, as well as social listening, we extrapolated actionable insights for our client.

And while the retailer’s main client base is in the UK, our research found that there’s a significant opportunity to broaden the focus with a more international audience; in short, our conclusion was that the US market is just as important as a target as the UK. The percentage of American adults identifying as LGBTQ+ significantly increased by a whole percent, from 3.5% in 2012 to 4.5% in 2019, signifying that the market is becoming more willing to identify themselves within this community. With a whopping total of 11m+ people in the US identifying as LGBTQ+, amongst a whole host of other factors, our recommendation was that VERV should capitalise on the opportunity through both its operations (free shipping) and social media presence (more international content).

But we don’t just look at current trends. Our approach to strategy is threefold - a ‘triple threat strategy’, as our CEO Ellie says...

First of all, there’s the research - qualitative and quantitative. This is where we’ll take insights from the existing data that a channel might already have but it’ll also be combined with a deep dive into trend forecasts and ‘the fluffy stuff’ as one client once called it!

The second part is applying our experience and expertise. Having set up as one of the first ever agencies to focus purely on social media, our extensive knowledge in digital is absolutely fundamental to developing a social strategy that covers all objectives at optimum level.

The final part to our formula is simple - a bloody good dose of common sense (#watchthisspace for a more ‘ranty’ blog post that explains our value in using one’s initiative and being proactive At. All. Times… It’s quite a big deal to us)!

The above three components and our creative mindsets allow us to make accurate predictions and provide the best recommendations for our clients, even when these contrast with the initial assumptions or expectations that our clients may have initially had. Anyway, back to VERV. Looking at the retailer’s business objectives and its overarching mission of empowering the community, we pinpointed an approach that was founded on an ‘ecosystem’: the better VERV delivers on its mission, the better it performs as a business. The business model very much relies on the community. So, when it came to social, it wasn’t enough for VERV to just be pushing product messages or highlight designers. VERV needed to be a leading voice in the LGBTQ+ community and engage with social and cultural topics that the community cares about. As part of the strategy, we also:

  • Developed a refined tone of voice

  • Created a robust audience segmentation, and recommendations for growth based around the interests of specific consumer groups

  • Created key content pillars for VERV to follow

  • Developed a tiered influencer plan (macro, micro, nano) and identified everyday people that fit with the client’s goals and expectations.

  • Suggested diversified content based on channels - something that is absolutely fundamental in the social space but a lot of brands overlook (consider Instagram Stories as a platform of its own - if you think you post the same way on Stories as your static feed, think again)

We packaged all of this in three hero creative campaigns for VERV to take on. Since then, its community on Instagram has significantly increased, and our client partner is launching the first proposed campaign! Make sure to give them a follow on Instagram to see more! No two brands are the same, which is why we take pride (see what we did there?) in having a highly tailored approach for every client. The constant for us is combining strategic insight, creativity and a dose (or three) of non-traditional thinking. How is your social media strategy? Slide into our DMs or give us a call and we’ll see if we can help!

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