Even when a brand doesn’t stand out for its overall digital competence, occasionally there are average or even below average brand strategies that have components deserving of our attention. In our most recent release, Digital IQ Index: Hair Care & Color, Paul Mitchell is one of these brands. Coming in 24th out of 53 consumer and professional brands, Paul Mitchell was one of 11 in the “Average” category. Where the 33-year-old pioneering salon brand stood out, however, was with its interactive “The Truth About Curls” campaign, which it launched in September 2012. Targeting the 55 percent of the global population with curly and wavy hair, Paul Mitchell introduced its new Curls product collection with a campaign that encouraged fans to share “curl confessions” on its microsite and on various social media platforms. Using the hashtag #curlconfession on Twitter and Instagram and creating a Like-gated Facebook tab (as well as hosting a Facebook chat with the co-founder of the site NaturallyCurly.com), Paul Mitchell created big buzz for itself and the new product line–all while building a substantial following.
Two months later, Paul Mitchell extended the life of the campaign by creatively projecting the best of the best of its user-generated content (i.e., Instagram pics) onto the sides of buildings in New York City and Los Angeles. It also distributed QR codes linking to a contest entry form. To reach even more consumers, Paul Mitchell used digital influencers like bloggers Michelle Phan, Leandra Medine (“Man Repeller”) and Christine Cameron, all of whom promoted the new line on their sites. Digital ads for the line tapped curly-haired influencers as well, including popular bloggers Christina Caradona of “Trop Rouge,” Claire Geist of “De Lune,” and Beth Jones of “B Jones Style.” The payoff for such efforts? Paul Mitchell saw its social media communities expand dramatically–Facebook alone by 123 percent.