As part of an ongoing series, we’ll be sharing advice for brands looking to launch successful creator campaigns across different sectors. This month, we’re honing in on CPG companies. Learn how they can optimize their creator marketing programs to better generate brand awareness and drive conversions. 

From ground coffee and frozen meals to face wash and laundry detergent, we rely on consumer packaged goods (CPGs) on a day-to-day basis. But because these products require routine replacement, most marketers tend to assume that we fall back on old buying habits and stick with the brands we love most.

While this is true to some degree, recent changes in consumer behavior are now culminating in a widespread loyalty shakeup. With online shoppers now easily able to find affordable alternatives to their current favorites, we’re seeing more competition in the CPG sector than ever before. 

In this increasingly crowded market, companies are turning to creator marketing to broaden their reach and boost sales. Creator partners provide a valuable platform for brands to establish a memorable, impactful narrative, helping generate more meaningful engagement among specific consumer demographics. For this very reason, 44% of CPG brands today say they work with creators. 

To secure customer loyalty in this era of limitless choices, companies should partner with creators who know how to use their voice, aren’t afraid to be vulnerable and can foster a real connection with their follower base. 

The product needs to tell a story 

A perfect face and alluring aesthetics may initially draw in an interested consumer, but it’s not what makes them click the buy button. Consumers are now more mindful of where their money is spent, and also more willing to switch brands. There needs to be something special or exciting about the product for it to warrant a purchase. 

As part of its #SOLinmyprime campaign, body care brand Sol de Janeiro partnered with relationship expert Shan Boodram, who boasts more than 579,000 followers on Instagram. While advertising the launch of the company’s new body cream, Boodram posted a video detailing her experience as a pregnant mother at work—setting boundaries, getting her first-born child into a daycare and expanding her team to better manage her workload—and says that she’s proud of reclaiming her space as a woman “in her prime.” 

Boodram establishes a strong emotional connection with her audience by opening up about challenges that women encounter on a daily basis. Often, creators become the voice for the voiceless, using their platforms to shine a light on issues that people care about. Creator marketing allows brands to elevate these issues, providing a space for real representation and engagement. 

By leveraging an effective storytelling strategy to celebrate female strength and resilience, the #SOLinmyprime campaign speaks to a specific segment of women who may feel underrepresented in the beauty industry—in effect, creating a powerful brand narrative to generate meaningful conversations. 

To foster an authentic connection with your audience, partner with inventive creators who know how to tell a story. But before you dive in, make sure you establish a clear direction for your campaign to serve as an important reference point for creators to build upon. Don’t just rely on creators to think outside the box—the partnership should be collaborative so that brands can lay the groundwork for storytelling success. 

Differentiation is key 

Beauty and cosmetics brands often take a cookie-cutter approach to marketing on social media. Ads of models with flawless skin and photos of products aesthetically placed on marbled surfaces randomly turn up on our Explore Pages in hopes of catching the skincare lover’s attention. 

But as online shopping allows us to break old habits, stray from the mainstream and discover new products, we’re seeing a new generation of affordable indie brands crop up, appealing to beauty and CPG markets

The brand narrative for The Inkey List—a personal care brand that prides itself on pricing integrity and product transparency—encourages us to embrace our authentic selves and stand up for what we believe in. No one is better suited to convey that message than its creator partners, whose platforms are meant to instill a sense of belonging and inclusivity. 

TikTok skincare creator Caress (@caressmd)’s video features a drastic before-and-after transformation of her face using two of The Inkey List’s most popular products. She attributes her remarkable glow up to the brand’s concoction of powerful ingredients. By unapologetically showing off her flawed skin during the first part of the video, Caress adds a personal touch to the marketing campaign and inspires her audience to open up about their skin-related struggles.

Skincare expert, humanitarian and YouTube creator Hyram also collaborated with The Inkey List to launch the Changemaker Kit: A selection of his favorite brand products, which comes with a custom-made “I am a Changemaker” tote bag. In line with Hyram’s personal mission to affect positive change, 10% of its proceeds is promised to Ashoka, a nonprofit that creates community and global solutions by supporting social entrepreneurship. 

The brand successfully differentiates itself with a unique approach to creator-led campaigns. By sharing personal glow up stories and implementing purpose-driven collaborations, The Inkey List launched an authentic awareness campaign that not only highlighted the effectiveness of its products, but also emphasized its values-based goals. 

Keep it fresh with timely activations

Faced with so many delicious choices in an oversaturated snack market, consumers might be tempted to change things up to find their new favorite go-to treat. To reignite interest and keep their audiences engaged, food brands are identifying meaningful calendar moments to celebrate and connect with consumers. 

Last year, sister companies and partnered with BEN to drive conversions during the holiday season. With a fun, festive twist on seasonal packaging and flavors—like Bacon Bourbon jam and Strawberry Margarita flavored pretzels—mom creators and lifestyle creators on Instagram successfully played up the aesthetics and excitement of gift-giving with colorful Christmas-themed unboxing videos. 

Building on that momentum, creators also went the extra mile by describing who they were planning on gifting their licorice and pretzels to, including their childrens’ teachers, neighbors and close friends—even their mail couriers as a thank you for their hard work. With this thoughtful approach, their creator marketing program secured a combined 192% increase in month-over-month conversions. 

With the winter holiday season already a competitive time for CPG brands, it may be worth looking into unique milestones that are specific to your company and its products. Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, went all out with a SnapChat campaign on National Donut Day. By launching donut-themed filters for customers to use and partnering with popular lifestyle creators on the platform, the brand was able to promote its limited time offer in a unique, engaging way. 

Even in a crowded market, CPG companies can still differentiate themselves by establishing a compelling narrative—and unique creator voices play a vital role in that storytelling strategy. By thinking outside of the box, partnering with the right creator and finding timely calendar moments to celebrate, CPG brands can make a lasting impression on their audience.