This is Part 3 of The Holiday Readiness Series, which will feature tactical tips and takeaways from experts that retailers can still apply to rev up their sales results. Looking for even more data and insights to power your approach? Check out Part 1, which focused on improving CX and Part 2, which focused on empowering store associates.
Touchland is more than just a hand sanitizer brand — it’s a self-care brand, according to Andrea Lisbona, the company’s Founder and CEO. With sleek packaging, an assortment of fun colors and luxurious scents, Touchland sanitizers are equal parts helpful and enjoyable, creating a lot of creative opportunities on social media.
That’s why Touchland’s four-person marketing team (including Lisbona herself) leans into a powerful combination of brand values and creative storytelling to guide social content creation. During the holiday season, the brand remains true to this core strategy, but the team also listens and engages with consumers to get valuable insights that lead to timely content around holiday gifting moments — moments that are incredibly lucrative for the brand.
“I always say I’m the CEO and Chief Marketing Officer of the business because I love branding and spending time navigating through social networks to see what’s trending and what’s shifting in the industry,” Lisbona said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Everyone comes to the table with ideas and backs them with data. We all have a voice, and we all have a collaborative conversation around the decisions we implement.”
Lisbona shared insights and best practices to help brands fine-tune their social strategies as the holiday season progresses.
Tip 1: Always Maintain Your Brand Voice
When the holiday season hits, it’s always tempting to ramp up the holly and jolly language. Sure, it’s the perfect time to test posts with a more upbeat tone and style. And in some cases, you can even lean into some seasonal references to get people in the holiday shopping mood. But Lisbona recommended that even as brands begin to sprinkle in their holiday references, they should still remain true to the brand tone and voice. After all, as consumers venture across social platforms, that voice is what creates continuity as they consume your content.
For Touchland, that means remaining true to the brand’s psychographic, or innate, values, desires, goals, interests and even lifestyle choices. “Our goal is to reinvent and elevate personal care into moments of joy that inspire pleasure,” Lisbona explained. “Our target demographic is so wide, and we always think of our customer as someone who isn’t just trying to fulfill a need. They’re not just trying to kill germs; they’re looking for a full sensorial experience that starts with the packaging, then goes into the moment when you spray your hands, and you feel the hydration.”
Touchland taps into this full sensorial experience by creating content that’s valuable, but still bright, energetic and playful, foundational characteristics that influence the voice and “vibe” for the brand’s text, videos and imagery choices.
“You have to create content that is specific to each channel, but the brand should always have the same voice,” Lisbona said. “We have a very playful, fun and colorful brand. We like to joke but at the same time be taken seriously since we’re a disruptive brand. That all transpires through our social media presence.”
Tip 2: Embrace What Makes Each Platform Meaningful
Touchland prides itself on testing every platform. Lisbona noted that it was one of the very first brands to join TikTok and that it aims to be an early adopter of new apps like Lemonade and services like YouTube Shorts. However, that means the brand has to build a robust content strategy that focuses on what people love about the brand, but then adapts to what makes each platform unique and valuable for users.
“We try to curate content because what the TikTok content consumer looks for is not the same as what the Pinterest content consumer looks for,” Lisbona said. For example, ASMR content is very popular on TikTok because it’s a very sensorial platform, so the team creates special product-focused content to appeal to those behaviors. Conversely, Pinterest is driven by inspirational content, so Touchland creates very high-end photography that shows the design elements of the product.
“One of the biggest challenges for every marketer is relevancy,” Lisbona said. “How do you keep being interesting and relevant, and how do you continue to entertain without being repetitive and boring on social media? To address this, we spend 70% of our time on ideation and brainstorming. We challenge ourselves to determine how we can evolve as a brand and not be complacent, especially on social channels. The other 30% is spent on execution.”
Tip 3: Give Your Team Autonomy Over Creative Decisions
Although Touchland has a small social media and marketing team, it is mighty. After all, they’re supported and empowered by Lisbona to hop on what’s trending and move swiftly in their creative process, when it’s appropriate and aligned with the brand voice and essence.
Giving your marketing team creative autonomy is generally a good practice year-round — especially on social media, there’s always a new trend, challenge or “meme” to incorporate into your posts. Doing so shows your relevance and overall alignment with your audience.
“I like the team to have ownership over their areas and take leadership so each one is a CEO of their own role,” Lisbona said. “They have to have the idea and execution validated within our values, but then they can move in record time. They take full responsibility and ownership over their tasks.”
Social media speed and agility are especially critical during the holiday season, because your ability to ride with what’s trending can impact your bottom line for the quarter. “We really jump on trends; we don’t want to wait for three layers of decision-makers,” Lisbona said. “If something is trending, we find a way to just stick to the brand but execute in a very fast manner.”
However, Lisbona advised that before marketing teams try to ride the latest viral wave, they should do a quick gut check to ensure the trend truly aligns with brand values.
“Sometimes, you see brands move too fast and they lose that brand voice,” Lisbona said. “It’s challenging because when you start to see these videos go viral, and you’re driven by numbers, you may want to act, but you lose the overall picture of the brand. We’re not focused on numbers here; it’s about the quality of the work, brand alignment and overall relevance of the impressions we get.”
Tip 4: Create Content to Spread Seasonal Inspiration
Some shoppers are undoubtedly buying a few (or more) items for themselves this holiday season. That’s why, leading into the peak of the holiday season, Touchland’s social media messaging emphasizes “one for me, one for you” services like its Build Your Own Bundle tool. This allows consumers to build a five– or 10-pack of hand sanitizers that combine various fragrances.
However, consumers’ primary focus is on finding the perfect gifts for friends, family and even co-workers. That’s why even Touchland leans into content that offers gifting inspiration. For example, the brand creates videos around preparing gift baskets for Friendsgiving and even how to find the perfect “stocking stuffers” for Christmas.
“The beauty of Touchland as a brand is that we’ve made personal care giftable,” Lisbona said. “We’re able to create this joy and excitement [especially] among middle- and high-school aged kids and we see Touchland on their gift lists…these gifting moments really shine for us. On social media specifically, we try to create moments and examples to give people ideas through timely media.”
Lisbona added that the Touchland team also taps into consumers’ search behaviors on social, as well as what content is trending, to understand consumer behaviors and expectations. These insights then guide Touchland’s content creation and resharing. For example, some people use their Touchland products as a centerpiece for their outfit, so the brand wanted to capitalize on that.
“Some people use it as a fashion accessory; they create a monochromatic outfit and match it to the color of their Touchland,” Lisbona shared. “Some brands try to stick within the four walls of the brand, but we want our community to share how creative they can be.”
Tip 5: Align Calls to Action with your Omnichannel Experience
Some consumers may prefer to do the majority of their shopping online this holiday season, but as the season progresses, they may want to ensure they get their gifts on time. That’s why Touchland is integrating messaging over the course of the season that aligns with its vast omnichannel network.
In addition to its branded ecommerce site, Touchland has a presence on Amazon as a small business seller, as well as in physical stores like Sephora, Target and Ulta. Touchland aims to showcase all of these options so consumers can shop in the most convenient way.
“There is nothing worse than expecting something for Christmas and not getting it,” Lisbona acknowledged. “We have an omnichannel strategy, so we don’t try to use messaging like ‘last day to order’ for our DTC site, because couriers are overloaded and there are always factors that could lead to the package not getting there on time. Having such a big footprint means we use messaging that outlines all the places where we’re available, so consumers can get our products right away and without any risk.”
Brands with a wholesale presence can take a similar approach to keep their products top-of-mind even as the Christmas deadline nears.