Social advertising and influencer marketing have become powerful weapons for telling the story of a brand. And companies can use these exceptional methods to raise awareness about their brands, attract more customers, and increase sales.
However, social advertising requires a clear goal and the right strategy. Similarly, before diving into influencer marketing, companies must define their objectives and find influencers whose stories resonate with the brand's philosophy. After all, what's the point of choosing a person with thousands of followers if their audience doesn't match the brand's vibe?
In this episode of The Vibe podcast, our host Alex Campbell welcomes Lauren Loehr, the Director of Social Media and Influencer Marketing at Arhaus. They have an interesting chat about the idea behind social media and influencer marketing, their goals, and the significant difference between traditional advertising and building partnerships with influencers.
About the podcast:
The Vibe is a podcast for modern marketers looking to stay at the forefront of marketing and keep up with emerging technologies. In each episode host, Alex Campbell offers cutting edge thought leadership on building omnichannel experiences consumers want and mobile-first brands that do it all. Through expert interviews, thought leadership discussions, and brand spotlights, listeners leave equipped with strategies, insights, and trending news to elevate their career and navigate the changing marketing world.
[00:00:19] Alex Campbell: I would like to welcome everyone to The Vibe podcast. My name is Alex Campbell. I'm the co-founder of Vibes and I am the host of The Vibe. So I am very excited for today. We have a fantastic guest, Lauren Loehr from Arhaus. Welcome, so nice to see you. And I did comment on your plant and your plant is
[00:00:40] Alex Campbell: fantastic. Yes. Good. Good. For today, I'd love to just kinda have you give a little background of yourself and what you do for Arhaus. I think for anyone who didn't recently move and I'm currently living in your showroom. Yeah, exactly. So why, yeah, if you could explain a little bit about Arhaus and your role, that'd be great.
[00:01:03] Lauren Loehr: Yeah. I've been at Arhaus for about three and a half years now. I'm the Director of Social Media and Influencer Marketing there. And if you're not familiar with Arhaus, I know you are because you are in the market, but you know, we're a family founded furniture company based in Cleveland, Ohio. We focus on working with artisans around the world to hand furniture for our company rooted in sustainable values.
[00:01:32] And it's a wonderful company to work with. And part of my job is being able to help get the stories of the brand out there, and it's so easy because there are so many.
[00:01:44] Alex Campbell: That's great. And then, and so, you are in charge of the social and influencer marketing?
[00:01:50] Lauren Loehr: I am, yes. When I started, you know, we actually didn't have a social media or influencer marketing department. Yeah, and the team, you know, the smaller marketing team was looking for somebody to basically post once a day on social platforms, reusing imagery and content that was created for maybe a catalog or a store signs. So I was able to come in actually before I took the position, I was able to come in and take a look at what I felt they needed and put together a proposal.
[00:02:28] And I was lucky enough to be able to get the job to build out the group.
[00:02:33] Alex Campbell: That's great.
[00:02:35] Yeah. And so, I'm curious about influencer marketing, right? It's a relatively new term, relatively. Like, what is that? What is influencer marketing? What do you do?
[00:02:45] And I'm genuinely curious about how that world works.
[00:02:48] Lauren Loehr: Even though it is a newer term, it's, it's thrown around a lot. It could mean a lot of different things. So basically it's like finding partners, working with other people who have influence. So again, that can be a range from local influence to millions of subscribers or followers, and working with those people to help talk about your brand and share your brand story in our case.
[00:03:14] Alex Campbell: Yeah. Yeah. And I, and are you looking, I mean, I guess how much of it is you going out to find them, them finding you? I mean, I assume there's agencies involved somewhere in the middle. Do you search out people who, I mean, maybe it's more than just style, right? It's more about the, how they fit with the brand.
[00:03:33] Lauren Loehr: Yeah, absolutely. It is different everywhere. I'm really lucky that a lot of people do want to work with Arhaus, as you learn about that we exist, and our story and who we are. You know, we have a lot of people reaching out to work with us so we can take a look at those people, see if they're the right fit,
[00:03:54] but then we do research and taking a look at content creators. So maybe influencers who have smaller following, but we love the material that they're creating, the content that they're creating. And we would like them to make things in their own world, but using our brand. So finding those people, or, you know, maybe more celebrity level influencers, we'll find someone who we think really resonates with our brand and, and reach out and see if they want to partner, work together to bring Arhaus to life in their, in their home, in their world so that they can talk about us, share what we're all about and help us, you know, just share our story.
[00:04:37] Alex Campbell: Yeah. And I guess from your, I mean, you're, your very unique background having gone, you know, you were in the agency world in the beginning, now you're in the brand world. And have you been doing social and digital the whole time?
[00:04:50] Lauren Loehr: My background is in advertising, so I actually worked at a handful of like big global ad agencies before I ever entered the world of Arhaus. And social and digital was definitely a piece of what I did, but it was more like holistic storytelling where I worked on a lot of 360 campaigns.
[00:05:10] That 360 is just, you know, it's not just digital, it's not just social, it's television, it's print in store outdoor, like billboards. Basically all of these different mediums that come together in this 360 view to tell your story and to share about the brand.
[00:05:28] Alex Campbell: Okay. And I guess I'm curious from your standpoint, because marketing has changed a ton.
[00:05:34] I mean, we both, like social and influencer marketing didn't exist, like not that long ago. And I'm curious your thoughts on the consumer, right? I mean, marketing is marketing. It always has been, but, but the channels are different, styles are different, the ways you engage are different. You know, I guess what from what you've seen is still the same?
[00:05:57] I mean, is it still the same thing or, and then kind of what's different?
[00:06:02] Lauren Loehr: I mean, it's the same, we're we're telling a story. You know, the idea of telling the story about your brand in order to educate and inspire, it's the same, it's just now we have so many more mediums and ways to tell it.
[00:06:19] The story is the same, but it's how we're telling the story has changed and keeps evolving as technology evolves, as opportunities
[00:06:27] Alex Campbell: So there's so many more mediums, right? It's not just TV, and like radio, and print, right? So like, how do you make sure that that story is told in the same way across all those media?
[00:06:38] Lauren Loehr: Oh my gosh. Well, you can't do it by yourself. So obviously having a good team and making sure that you're on the same page from a strategic level at the beginning. What is the goal? What are we trying to talk about? What are we trying to get behind? So for something like Arhaus, one of our brand pillars, our sustainability, quality, handmade by artisans.
[00:07:02] Those are things that are never going to change, you know? Even if we tell it differently in a catalog then a online video or an in-store sign. There are different mediums, and we will tell the story differently, but it is still the same story.
[00:07:18] Alex Campbell: Yeah. Do you ever find that, that story doesn't either isn't great in one medium or as much better in a different medium?
[00:07:26] You get, like, do you focus on that one or do you still use an overarching strategy?
[00:07:33] Lauren Loehr: I, there's definitely stories that come to life easier in certain mediums, and there's times when it's best to, it may be like a print out or something where you have one shot, one image, or you think... A billboard outside is a great example because you think them driving by, you get one image, you're seeing it from far away and you see it for a second.
[00:07:54] Like you have a much different experience as a consumer seeing that, and maybe the point of that is to get your brand name across because really you can't absorb much more than that in a second. But then you go to a place like an email that is this more intimate or a text message, and this more intimate experience, it's in your hand. I say in your hand, because your phone is your computer now. But yeah, you have this experience that this medium, and that gives you a deeper experience.
[00:08:23] It lets you read about whatever the points are you're trying to make for your strategy. And then you take a look at video, especially the online video on social, and there's opportunities to mix photography with video, with interactivity that can really take people through the deeper version of the story.
[00:08:44] Alex Campbell: Yeah. That's really interesting. Yeah. I mean the deeper version of how, like, you know, I think when we think of today, it's so fragmented and there's so many different pieces. You know? How do you, like, is there a difference today in kind of not controlling the story, but the controlling the narrative and understanding the narrative versus there was in the past?
[00:09:05] Lauren Loehr: Yeah, less control now with more opportunities. I think, you know, for the most part it's the same to be able to take a look at again, what does that goal, what does that mean strategy? How do we want to, as a larger team looking at, how do we want to blow that out on multiple touch points?
[00:09:21] What resources do we have, where we're going to just be like top line brand awareness, and then what resources do we have to be able to go into that deep diving element of it? And then of course like influencer marketing and partners, and even on the PR side with editorial content, there is less control, I would say, because you have to trust your partner.
[00:09:46] Like you are giving someone else the bullets, your the bullet points. You're giving them the notes and they know about the brand, but you can't dictate the words they're going to use to talk about it. So you need to be able to, so there is some of that same control as far as like from planning, you can map it out, but you have to be able to, to trust a little bit as you bring in other people and more mediums.
[00:10:13] Alex Campbell: I mean,
[00:10:14] is that hard sometimes? Or is it, I assume it's hard in certain areas.
[00:10:19] Lauren Loehr: Yeah.
[00:10:19] I would say not hard necessarily, you just have to learn that, I like to say creativity is subjective. So, you know, even internally I might present a series of creative ads and they get killed because somebody
[00:10:38] likes the color blue instead of the color green. You know, it doesn't mean that something will work is, is less valuable won't work as hard. So I think us to be as marketers and creatives, to be able to know, "Hey, we want to tell this, this large story. We can't just tell it by ourselves." Part of this journey is working with these partners and also building our story into all these different mediums, where to a certain point we can control,
[00:11:02] and then we
[00:11:04] You know, I like to try, I like to pick my partners based on people who I feel like I can trust. Obviously there's a first time working with everyone, so you'll learn quickly.
[00:11:15] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:11:16] But that's very different than, than the old days, you know, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, you know? I mean, so like, what's the contrast there?
[00:11:26] Alex Campbell: It's very different because then you didn't have to worry about others. You can create your story, and that was the story, right?
[00:11:33] Lauren Loehr: Well, it is really different, like it used to be more expensive. It used to be more limited to your resources. And, but with that, you did have more control. When I was at the agencies, you know, as a creative team, we come up with this idea - the client.
[00:11:49] Loves it, buys it. And then we get to put it together. We can, you know, if it's a TV commercial, we get to choose our actors and our actresses, we script it out, we know all the words you're going to say, how you're going to do your hair, what you're going to dress like. And that comes together in this very polished final piece that lives in a few places.
[00:12:08] So now we have to, again, trust our partners. Like we are choosing partners that are very successful in what they're doing, or less they wouldn't be considered influencers. Like they're doing something right to appeal to their audience that's making their audience want to continue following along and engaging with them.
[00:12:26] It might not be the exact way that we as a brand would have done it if, you know, if I hired my actors and scripted it word for word, but there is again that level of trust. And I think we need to make sure that, we need to understand that there will be different ways of talking about it like.
[00:12:45] Alex Campbell: When we think about authenticity, that's where it comes from. Being authentic to the brand and being authentic to, you know, people who love the brand, you know, I think that, I think it's a tremendous, it's a tremendous change from where it was.
[00:12:59] Lauren Loehr: Absolutely. And it was something that, you know, now there's more opportunities of where places can live with the growth and opportunities. You know, your mind has to change into what you are comfortable with and just trust that,
[00:13:14] that you're not making things or that you're not choosing partners who are doing things that are detrimental to the brand. They're just doing it differently. And, you know, there are a lot of... I was at big ad agencies, like I am in, I was in this mindset too. And there are a lot of people who've been in advertising for a long time.
[00:13:32] And they're used to having total control.
[00:13:34] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:13:34] Lauren Loehr: So
[00:13:35] that's it.
[00:13:36] Alex Campbell: I mean, in the agency world, like that, that's a big shift.
[00:13:39] Lauren Loehr: Yeah.
[00:13:40] It is a big shift. Like you need as a creative to be able to understand, like there's a collaborative element to partnerships, you know? It's really easy as through the last decade as influencer marketing has grown for people who have, are not familiar with it, or are, you know, those true creatives in advertising.
[00:14:03] It's easy to say, "Here's the idea, and then we'll have some influencers do things." But it really is like understanding what does that mean? What is the value in having these partnerships? And if you can actually be strategic in how you're choosing people and what you're having them do and how they're telling their story, knowing that
[00:14:21] you can guide them strategically, but pos, but not no pixel push them. Like it'll just make everything stronger.
[00:14:28] Alex Campbell: You just made that up or is that a thing? That's great.
[00:14:31] I mean, again, that's, that's gotta be hard. I mean, and just knowing what I know, and you are in the agency world. You know, the, the creatives, it's not just a, "Oh, let's create," named the campaign, "Subservient Chicken." Right? Remember that? What was it Burger King? Yeah. And that was, but like there was control, right?
[00:14:51] Alex Campbell: Could some of those campaigns exist now, and it's interesting to think about how they'd be different today versus in the past.
[00:14:58] Lauren Loehr: That would've been this one piece of just goes out in the singular time and expect it to blow up. Like everything has, has legs now.
[00:15:08] Alex Campbell: What was your, what was your favourite campaign from 10 years ago, early, early digital, say that?
[00:15:14] Do you have any favorites? Do you have any?
[00:15:17] Lauren Loehr: Or just in general?
[00:15:18] Alex Campbell: Just in general. I love Subservient Chicken. Those are hilarious.
[00:15:24] Lauren Loehr: No, that was a good one. You know, when I was at FCB, they did a lot of fun things with KFC.
[00:15:30] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:15:30] Lauren Loehr: So that was a good brand. So they did like chicken corsages, you know? Like putting, putting their product in places something completely ridiculous, but it was like the humor in that, which was really funny.
[00:15:42] And then the Kmart once.
[00:15:47] Lauren Loehr: "I
[00:15:48] shipped my bed. I shipped my pants."
[00:15:51] Alex Campbell: And just so everyone is listening, it's S H I P.
[00:15:56] Lauren Loehr: And they also had big gas savings.
[00:16:00] That actually worked on this, they were really smart.
[00:16:04] Alex Campbell: That is really clever. So, so, all right. So those campaigns, right? We're talking about some of the huge campaign. I mean, even go back to like, was a and like the iconic campaigns, like we haven't seen many of those recently. Right? I'm trying to think of one in the last, you know, two or five years, like you don't have these big campaigns like everybody's talking about. I'm trying to...
[00:16:31] Out of touch. Yeah.
[00:16:33] Lauren Loehr: Maybe I am. Now I remember one of my favorite like big ones when I was at Leo Burnett was for Special K and they did something where they, I believe it was, "What do you gain when you lose?" And it was just talking about the confidence that you gain. And I also remember they, you know, they did, as part of the larger campaign, they did something where they did a pop-up in all the clothing sizes. All the clothes in this store, they didn't have size labeled.
[00:17:06] Alex Campbell: Oh, really?
[00:17:12] That's really interesting. Yeah. And I think that's the, I mean, now that I'm thinking about it, I mean "Ice Bucket Challenge", right? That was a very effective way to use, so, I mean, it was charity. But it, but it was a very effective way to use social in a big way that kinda, you know, got out there to a huge market.
[00:17:33] Lauren Loehr: Absolutely.
[00:17:35] Alex Campbell: So, so when you're thinking about like social and influencer marketing, are you thinking of those big campaigns or is it more around the specificity of a campaign or of a idea? You know, that really, that hits a smaller market, but in a more authentic way?
[00:17:54] I don't like to think of influencer marketing as
[00:17:58] Lauren Loehr: in a bubble.
[00:17:59] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:18:00] Lauren Loehr: I mean, obviously we can, we can think of small things like gift guides for season, where we work with partners to bring things to life. But really it's just one of the many facets of a larger push to care about the brand. And it's, you know, we're at our smartest, when we can find a way for the campaign we do with influencer partners
[00:18:26] directly relates to one of our brand pillars. So again, looking at Arhaus, we offer complimentary interior design services. So we have 50 plus interior designers now who will do 3d renderings of your space, help you pick out everything. There it's basic, they are real interior designers that would potentially be taking the place of somebody that you might hire externally.
[00:18:52] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:18:52] Lauren Loehr: And to support something like that, you know, we'll have the print ad, we'll have spreads in our catalog. We will have mailers, but bringing that into other areas, we try to bring that thread on social media by having our interior designers on our Instagram to go live, or do a story, to educate about what the design trends are.
[00:19:15] Instead of us showing a photo that we've taken and saying, "Hey, the design trends this fall are velvets and Juul tones." Why don't we use our designers to talk about that and show their face, show that they're there. And then again with our influencer partners, you know, we're, we want to find ways that our influencer partners can share about our brand, and our brand attributes,
[00:19:42] and one of them is designer. So I love partnering our interior designers up with our influencer partners, because it's just a win on all
[00:19:52] Alex Campbell: Yes. Do you refine that they just start,
[00:19:55] they just start working together and stuff..?
[00:20:00] Lauren Loehr: Yeah, like you have ridiculously talented creative influencers. You have ridiculously talented interior designers. We obviously want to talk about our design services, because if we talk about our design services, we will ultimately sell more furniture, which is the ultimate goal in sales. And you know, we're partnering with these influencers who, their whole career right now is storytelling.
[00:20:26] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:20:26] Lauren Loehr: And so they can, I, I love doing this client, partner them up and I get updates all the time. I'm like, "Hey, you know, we just did this family room or this dining room," projects that are way beyond what we even started with. And you know, content creators, influencers, they are sharing on their platforms regularly,
[00:20:48] so they're always in need of something to talk about, as well. So that's kind of that relationship that I love where we can provide something that they need.
[00:21:00] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:21:01] Lauren Loehr: I have part, I have some partners who are amazing designers. They don't need an interior designer, but I have other partners who I don't love them because they're great at design, but I love them for these other reasons,
[00:21:12] so if I can partner them up with an expert designer, they, you know, are able to elevate the space that they're working on and their projects and they have more things to talk about.
[00:21:22] Alex Campbell: Yeah. No, that's amazing. And when you think about it, you're enabling this almost community, right, out there to, to do a lot of the things that were done by one agency in the past, or one specific part.
[00:21:36] Right? I think that's amazing. I think that's
[00:21:39] Lauren Loehr: Yeah. And you know, again, a lot of that trust is there. You give up a good amount of control that I might've been used to having at an ad agency.
[00:21:52] Alex Campbell: Yeah. So like, thinking about your change from the agency world to a brand world, I would imagine that the brand world is more concerned on that piece because of the...
[00:22:04] You know, I, I think when we, you mean, as we started going out to companies that like a lot of the first questions are, "What could go wrong? What could go wrong? What could go wrong?" And so, and I, I feel like, and this maybe it's just me, but like, I feel like there's more of that on the brand, on the actual brands, because they probably have more to lose.
[00:22:21] Right? So I guess what's your experience with, you know, on the brand side now kind of breaking down some of those not barriers, but there's some of those stories and thoughts internally around like the insecurities around that.
[00:22:38] Lauren Loehr: Yeah. There's definitely a big difference when you're in advertising and you're creative coming with ideas.
[00:22:46] It's like, "The sky's the limit. Let me, you know, throw all these amazing things. They might cost multiple millions of dollars, but, but I'm a creative. I'm like, I'm going to give you the world." And it's amazing when brands can actually execute on that. But then coming from the brand side itself, you do have a lot of those other pieces in line.
[00:23:08] Like you have to keep in mind, I might love a partner because of the content that they create or their humor or their style, but then you do have to do your due diligence and take a look and make sure that I would be trusting you to be a voice of this brand. Is there anything that I should be aware of? Or is there anything that makes me nervous?
[00:23:30] You know, I have been able to foster a lot of new relationships with influencer partners since starting at Arhaus. There have been some that haven't worked out, and they're most of them have been amazing people to work with. And so I feel like I automatically understand that I'm working with someone else who is going to be doing creative their way.
[00:23:53] I trust them, but again, I'm just me and there are so many more people in the company.
[00:23:58] Alex Campbell: Like in thinking about that, I mean, Arhaus has been around for awhile and, you know, I think has, it was the catalog, right? The catalog was...
[00:24:06] Lauren Loehr: The catalog.
[00:24:08] Alex Campbell: The catalog was how, it was the big, that's gotta be the biggest marketing channel.
[00:24:12] Yeah. So taking that thought process and introducing kind of the topics you're talking about, like how'd
[00:24:18] that go?
[00:24:19] Lauren Loehr: Yeah. I, I think it's just a lot of education. There, when I came into the company, you know, everyone's really excited about social media. Some people are excited about influencer marketing, but it doesn't mean that everybody really knows what that means. Because for a long time, social media was, "Let's post on Facebook."
[00:24:42] Alex Campbell: Right.
[00:24:43] Lauren Loehr: Like, "What's that, what's a daily or weekly Facebook post?" So it really is the education that continual education, and then a big piece of it is proving it out. So, you know, obviously coming in, educating people on programs that we haven't had in the past took some time, and I still, as new people come in, I that's one of the things I love to do is to
[00:25:08] help share information. I actually, as we have new interior designers who come into the company, I teach classes with them on how to use social media so that they can build up their own personal portfolio on social media and how they can use it effectively because ultimately they are one of our brand ambassadors.
[00:25:25] They are like an influencers.
[00:25:27] Alex Campbell: Right.
[00:25:28] Lauren Loehr: In these case. You know, it was really, it still is kind of difficult to track. You know, I could see something on Instagram and two months later I'm looking for a sofa, I'm like, "Oh yeah, I remember that brand." Then I go into a store. So there's not really the connection that I can say, "Oh, I did this program,
[00:25:50] 'cause I had someone talk about it and then two months later they went into a..."
[00:25:54] Alex Campbell: I mean, so
[00:25:55] do you see that part of it changing? I mean, like if you think kind of two years down the road, I mean, is that where we're going to see improvements, or is it still...? I mean, this whole attribution question has been around forever. And I think, I mean, you know, the, the, the big social companies are obviously trying to work on that, but like, you can only get so far.
[00:26:18] Is that's going to get better?
[00:26:19] Lauren Loehr: I think it will, to an extent. Like we are seeing it with a lot of the platforms that we use, how there are incentives for people and brands to include shopability virtual shopping, like to know it.
[00:26:34] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:26:34] Lauren Loehr: A huge one. But there's still, it's never going to be a hundred percent.
[00:26:39] Alex Campbell: Right.
[00:26:40] Lauren Loehr: I think a level of it is the team, the brand team being on the same page knowing what is the purpose of this specific medium versus this medium. On something like Instagram there are a lot of opportunities for shopping right now, but it depends on what industry you're in. Like we are in an industry of high-end furniture.
[00:27:03] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:27:04] Lauren Loehr: I don't care how amazing the Instagram story is going to be. I'm not going to look at it and tap the product sticker, and first time I ever see it buy a $15,000 something, sectional. I'm going to go into the store or I'm going to do some more research. So it's not that direct one-to-one purchase all the time.
[00:27:27] It, it might be like that, and it is like that with some things that have lower price points for entry.
[00:27:34] Alex Campbell: We're, we're finding success with something like mobile wallet in there where I can get a mobile wallet, even if it's an offer or something like that. I can get that onto my phone and then I come into the store and I can actually scan it or check in that way, which is, I think it's an interesting way of starting to get that attribution for in store.
[00:27:55] 'Cause it's funny that people, people still aren't... I mean, e-commerce gets a lot of, it's a lot of press these days, but it's still only like 15% of all sales. 85% of people are still coming into a store. And the attribution there is just pretty weak, right?
[00:28:13] Lauren Loehr: Yeah. You want to go in and, but it's nice when you have the opportunity to go in and like, feel it, see what you're,
[00:28:20] what you're purchasing.
[00:28:21] Alex Campbell: Sometimes I've gotten a text from my wife saying, "You have to go in there and sit on this chair." Sometimes, yes, and sometimes I go in and I don't like it. So we, if that was just a pure e-comm buy like, we would come to Arhaus and either we're gone back, which is I'm sure extremely expensive,or just it would have been, it wouldn't have been a great experience.
[00:28:43] Lauren Loehr: Absolutely. You're not going to, or it's rare right now that you're going to spend a large amount of money on something that could or couldn't work like you want to be. Pretty sure, 'cause you know, there's also delivery fee on any furniture, any large piece of any, anything large. So it's never going to be a hundred percent in my opinion, but I'm excited to see how everything evolves and grows and new opportunities to help track things.
[00:29:13] I just think that as we get to those points, the brand teams being on the same page was what we're comfortable knowing and knowing that we're never going to know.
[00:29:24] Alex Campbell: Right.
[00:29:25] Lauren Loehr: And so can we still evaluate if a campaign is successful knowing that maybe we can't look at sales for something, or maybe...
[00:29:34] Alex Campbell: It's just so, has
[00:29:35] so internally, I mean, how do you, how do you deal with that? 'Cause I know everyone wants to track every, every transaction everywhere by, you know? Is there a certain point where it's feeling or it's not just going with your gut, but does that, does that still exist?
[00:29:51] Is that still a thing?
[00:29:56] Lauren Loehr: Going with your gut gets challenged, but honestly, you know, if you're going with your gut, it's probably because there's something to back it up.
[00:30:06] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:30:06] Lauren Loehr: So I would say a big piece is again continuing with the education of the purpose of certain platforms and what or what your goal is as a brand for certain platforms. Whether it's to have this brand awareness of a company. Like when I first started at Arhaus, the people who knew us knew we had these brick and mortar showrooms. We've been able to grow in our digital and social spaces over the last few years, that there are people who go into new showrooms and there is exactly the opposite.
[00:30:36] Like I never even knew you had a real, a real store. I only thought it was online.
[00:30:42] Alex Campbell: Wow.
[00:30:43] Lauren Loehr: Yeah.
[00:30:44] Alex Campbell: And I, I assume that's, that's the millennial, gen Z, younger shopper.
[00:30:54] Right, like, I don't know any more, 'cause I'm getting old.
[00:30:57] Lauren Loehr: I think it is a younger generations, but also, you know, really anyone who's on the
[00:31:03] Alex Campbell: Well, I'm curious about that. I mean, is like, I mean, I remember in Mobile, we always used to get a rep of like, "Oh, that's for like teens
[00:31:11] and for kids." And it's like, "No, it's not.
[00:31:13] Like everybody's doing just
[00:31:17] I mean, I remember everyone would be like, we would go into brands and they were like, "Yeah, this is a teen thing."
[00:31:23] "This is like five years ago. Like, what are you talking about? No, it's not." And I guess on the influencer side, what do you see the break, like age generation breakdown? I mean, I assume it does skew younger, but is it, is it as skewed as everyone thinks it is, or is that...?
[00:31:38] Lauren Loehr: I
[00:31:39] don't think it
[00:31:39] is. You know, especially, I would say, look at TikTok.
[00:31:44] And for anyone old
[00:31:46] and you think, "Oh, everyone's so, everyone's young," but really I know a lot of people in their fifties and sixties who are on TikTok doing dances. Yeah, especially I think during COVID, people playing around some of the new programs. It doesn't have that same age gate. Like you might use it a little differently,
[00:32:08] I do know a lot of people who are on the Instagram, but don't know how to use reels. They can enjoy them, but they don't know they don't make them. Or a lot of people who are on these platforms who browse and are, they get inspired, but they don't actively share. And then in our world right now, looking at furniture, looking at home decor, interior design, those talents can come from anyone. There's...
[00:32:36] Yeah, we, we find partners sometimes who are college age, and the initial thought is they're not our target, they're so young. But they are influencers and it's not that the people they're talking to are only young. You really like have to look at their target, their audience as opposed to the age of that person.
[00:33:00] That's crazy. Yeah. 'Cause you're talking about an audience with an audience, right?
[00:33:04] Lauren Loehr: Absolutely. It's like working with an influencer who lives in your neighborhood. Maybe they have a million followers, but what I want to work with them, if their million followers are all in Italy and we are only in North American company...
[00:33:23] Alex Campbell: So you, so you look through that. I mean, you look through where those followers are and if they fit into your, your demographic, that's great. Makes sense now that I say that aloud.
[00:33:38] Lauren Loehr: Being in an industry where it's like a physical product. It's not that we're going to email you your sofa. It doesn't matter where in the world you are.
[00:33:47] Alex Campbell: Yeah, exactly. So, so one thing I'm curious, you mentioned COVID. So, you know, COVID changed everything. Right? But, but I mean, what, what surprised you about that change?
[00:33:56] I mean, is there anything on that, that, that when you think back and it's like that was a meaningful change that wasn't expected? I mean, is there anything out there that pops out?
[00:34:06] Lauren Loehr: Absolutely. I think that a lot of companies, artisans included, had a way that they were moving with their marketing and their plan, things that have worked before that we're investing into that we're doing more of. And when something like COVID happened for us specifically, we had to
[00:34:25] shut down all of our stores, all of our physical locations. So people who are so used to focusing on consumers as they're coming into the store and how we're talking to them there, needed to have that little kick in the butt to say, "Don't be afraid to go test out these other virtual landscapes." And I, I did see a big jump from
[00:34:52] people who I was trying to convince that social media is a thing. And you know, that you should be more active in the space. A jump from them thinking, "Yeah that's awesome, but I don't have time." To all of a sudden them thinking, "Yeah, that's awesome. And now I actually need to do it because who knows what's going to happen with this,
[00:35:12] and my only way of reaching people is potentially virtual."
[00:35:17] Alex Campbell: Yeah. I mean, it is crazy how that changed. I mean, we, we had a number of customers who like Curbside pickup, right? Like it was, it was very challenging to get that, to be able to even think about that prior to COVID. And then, and now that just seems silly...
[00:35:32] Right, "It's convenient. It's great, and I don't have to use it now, but I even, I still do."
[00:35:38] Lauren Loehr: Yeah.
[00:35:39] That's a big one. And you know, the working from home.
[00:35:43] Alex Campbell: Right.
[00:35:43] Lauren Loehr: The idea of it's great to be physically somewhere with other people, it breeds creativity. But I feel like there are also a lot of limitations on who you bring onto your teams because of location.
[00:35:57] So to be able to have this testing time during COVID to prove out that, "Hey, it still can work." And, you know, for a lot of industries things grew.
[00:36:07] Alex Campbell: Yeah.
[00:36:09] Lauren Loehr: Businesses grew and companies discover that, "Oh, maybe I don't need to pay a lot for rent in this giant skyscraper building in three different cities."
[00:36:21] Alex Campbell: Yes.
[00:36:21] Yes. Well, fantastic. I think that's it. I think that was great. So yeah, so I just want to thank you so much for this time. It's been truly lighting. I now understand how influencer marketing works. And I don't have any follower. I wouldn't be on your list.
[00:36:39] Lauren Loehr: Influencers, they're all
[00:36:42] My, my parents call me all the time and they're like, "Am I an influencer?"
[00:36:50] Alex Campbell: Yes. Yes, you are. Oh, that's great. Well, yeah. So thank you so much for the time. I appreciate it. This has been wonderful.
[00:36:59] Lauren Loehr: Thanks so much.