Under The Hood: Charlotte from tbh
1-800 D2C speaks with tbh's Head of Growth to discuss building a celebrity brand & growing the audience beyond just fans!
It’s been pretty exponential since launch. Internally, our team is small - we have a CEO, Head of Marketing, and myself (Head of Growth). We’re going to be making our first hire since launch, which is pretty exciting.
tbh is founded by Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers on Stranger Things, so we launched to incredible demand. It’s been unbelievable to watch. Obviously having Noah as the celebrity founder and face of the brand has opened many doors and opened them a lot faster than normal. We've seen our sales 2x a few times month over month, and we’re expanding into retail really quickly.
How involved is Noah in tbh?
He's so sweet and recently graduated high school! He’s multi-talented and has been really excited about the marketing of tbh. We’re dropping a new merch line, and since he loves fashion he was pretty involved in that. He loves anything having to do with social, and I'm sure you've seen him all over our TikTok. So he's really involved in terms of these big picture ideas of where we want to take the brand.
How have you expanded tbh’s audience beyond Noah’s fanbase?
We came out of the gates really, really strong. It was so exciting, and there's so much love and support for the brand. Many people discover tbh through Noah, but we’re always thinking about how can we reach a new audience beyond Noah’s. How can we find people who love Nutella and want a healthier alternative?
Now that we’ve been in the market for a few months, we want to tap into different audiences. We’ve had a lot of success with vegan groups because Nutella isn’t vegan, but tbh is. You’d be surprised how many vegans stopped eating Nutella, haven’t had it for such a long time, and are thrilled when they discover tbh.
We’ve been testing out ways to market to these groups and see what messaging sticks. Our product has a lot of differentiators and values to the consumer - it’s vegan, no palm oil, and half the sugar of Nutella.
At the end of the day, we want to be a permanent staple in your pantry.
How do you discover new customer segments?
We’ll do the basics like following vegan influencers on social media or TikTok and commenting on relevant pages. But the way we’ve really discovered our customer is by talking to them. We have one-on-one conversations with customers. We send out surveys. Elena (tbh CEO) will send personal emails, particularly to subscribers, and ask them questions like: How did you find us? How do you like tbh so far? What’s the best part about tbh? How do you eat it?
We want to hear from the customers, themselves, about what brought them to tbh, and then we want to lean into that to find more like-minded people who’ll love the product.
What’s been drawing customers to tbh?
Drool-worthy content has been something that's resonated so much with customers.
We sent out a survey a couple of months ago where we asked: when do you eat tbh? What time of day do you eat tbh? What meal do you eat tbh?
The answer was overwhelmingly breakfast, and it really shaped how we did our next content shoot. We wanted to visually hone in on ways that people can incorporate tbh into their breakfast and use messaging that tbh is a great way to start your day.
What’s your view on Amazon and keeping d2c customers engaged?
We’re on Amazon because it attracts very different buyers than our D2C channel, so it opens the door to a different customer base.
We’re very protective of our D2C channel because the D2C buyers are really supportive fans of the brand. This year we’ll be rolling out an Ambassador program and building out our subscription program. We want our subscription program to be unique and provide genuine value. For example, we launched a cupcake with Sprinkles and gave subscribers access three days earlier so they could shop the pre-sale before it sold out. We’ll also give subscribers sneak peeks of products, ask for their feedback during product development, and so much more. Of course, our D2C customers get all of our content. Our email newsletter program is really strong, and we share recipes that showcase different ways to use tbh.
Tell us a bit more about your email newsletter program.
We send at least one email per week, at most three emails. Every email should have something valuable in it, so it may be a recipe, sustainability tip, or a collaboration with another startup where we offer discounts on each other products.
Next month we’ll be rolling out SMS marketing.
What are the three biggest things that you've unlocked in growth?
1. I think the name of the game is content, like delicious content. I think when we came out of the gate, we had a lot of really beautiful content, but it wasn't the drool-worthy content that people want to see. We've spent the balance of 2022 capturing that content and ensuring it’s much more accessible UGC-style content that’s relatable but also aspirational with a mouthwatering aspect to it. Cracking the content strategy has been number one. Anyone in growth will tell you right now that paid advertising is really hard, so it comes back down to creating content that stops people mid-scroll.
2. We’re also always iterating on our landing page. We're in the process of doing another update to it now. When someone comes from TikTok, Google, or any other meta-property and lands on our page, we want to make the UX intuitive. We’re always iterating on the order of the landing page and testing things out. I think the landing page is such an important part of the digital strategy.
3. Anyone who tries tbh is obsessed with it because the product speaks for itself. We believe the more people who try it, the more successful we're going to be. We’re constantly going to events and sampling the product. We went to Foundersmade and Expowest. Our Head of Marketing did sampling on Barnard’s college campus during earth day. We're hoping to launch a college ambassador network because tbh really resonates with the Gen Z audience, and it’s also a great college snack and easy to eat and store in your dorm room.
What's your tech stack?
Thanks for sharing Charlotte!! Go go you and tbh!