Saje extends community focus to social video

Company co-founder Kate Ross LeBlanc explains how building community can build business.
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Saje, the all-natural skin care and essential oil retailer, has produced a holiday video – a bit of a rarity for the brand.

Its YouTube channel does have a number of how-to videos showing off its products. But typically, its marketing investments are made in experiential and in-store activations, keeping with its community-focused approach to growth.

However, company co-founder Kate Ross LeBlanc explains that the new video – which she calls its “most significant” production to date  – isn’t intended to stray from that approach.

The video features a handful of influencers from the wellness space speaking about gratitude. For example, motivational speaker and recovering quadriplegic Mike Shaw discusses his take on the subject in an interview while a Saje diffuser puffs happily beside him. Five other such figures talk about the role gratitude plays in their lives before they are presented with a letter from a loved one explaining why they’re grateful for the interviewee.

LeBlanc says the company relies on personal connections and word of mouth to build its brand. Saje is on a growth trajectory that will see it soon open 16 new stores in Canada and the U.S. And, granted, part of that is fueled by new investment. But much of it is driven by strong sales built through community outreach that its marketing team nurtures in a number of ways.

The community focus has emerged perhaps most prominently through partnerships with like-minded businesses such as Soul Cycle and Yyoga, with which Saje has run product trial programs to expose it to new user groups.

Those partnerships are built by the team’s local community specialists, marketers that run all activations within a given region. Each one is empowered to design their own experiences for consumers, such as bringing in nutritionists or sleep experts to give a talk in-store. Saje ran 280 such activations this year.

The holiday video is meant to fit into that strategy as well. With no mass media buy, the company wants users to share socially as yet another way Saje can promote connections between individuals.

“We’re all about connection,” LeBlanc says. “When people discover us in that way, it’s authentic because it comes from someone who means something to them.” Television, by comparison, is “so one-sided.”

“Customer service is woven into everything we do,” says Katie Dreschsel, VP of marketing, digital and customer experience. “We want two-way conversations, talking to people who want to hear from us.”