Question :
Kia ora, I have a few months old small handcraft biz.  Before I began I developed a scaling strategy which reduced my 100% reliance on hand making over time.  However in the current environment some opportunities have shifted forward.  I have been able to engage with other local makers to curate some beautiful gift boxes.  It means I can push some funds directly to them and can also whakamana and promote the mahi they do.  I haven’t been able to receive all of the items yet as some suppliers aren’t shipping until level 3.  So I haven’t promoted this openly to date, rather teased the upcoming release with an intention to promote outright in the next week-ish. My existing customer base is amazing and they want to support local, authentic businesses.  As I’m new, it’s still small – my biggest following is currently on Insta.  I’m working on building brand awareness and traffic to my new website.  I’ve drafted some marketing ideas but I’m unfamiliar with marketing around these particular products (gift boxes).  I’m starting with some limited releases of wāhine and māmā boxes (with others planned) to test the market. I have work to do on building brand awareness generally and marketing this new product specifically. Do you have any tips on smart strategies for either brand awareness (small, handcrafted, wāhine Māori biz) or new product marketing (curated hand crafted, small maker products) in the current environment?  

Question submitted 15/04/20 @ 10:48pm
Industry: Brand & Marketing
  • Up

    For me it always comes back to knowing and understanding your customer. Who is the target buyer that you think is the best fit for your product? Are they male/female, into which age bracket do they fall, where are they based in NZ (overseas?), what are their emotional attributes that make them want to purchase these gifts? (ie resonate with Māori handicrafts, want to support local, have a strong affinity for NZ made, want to ship to friends/family overseas etc).

    The best way to get this information is to look into your existing customer base, understand common characteristics between them, and then set up and conduct customer persona interviews. You should be able to conduct 5-10 of these interviews using a series of questions to help you better understand your target customer persona.

    Once you understand your customer, then you can start to use the learnings to fine tune your messaging / value proposition / Unique Selling Proposition based on their answers, and adapt your brand awareness strategy to ensure you target more of the right customers, with the right messaging at the right time. This allows you to spend your marketing budget targeting these customers specifically which means you get a much higher ROI on your marketing spend.

    Once you’ve built your customer persona/ideal customer profile, you can then use it to launch a highly targeted brand awareness campaign. I’d suggest using social media (although I’m biased) as a great place to start. Remember storytelling, and really tapping into the emotional triggers of WHY customers should buy your product are much more effective than just straight product messages. Also, engaging with customers on social will help build your engagement and profile. If there is a way to create visual content, that is easy to share, and/or engage your customers in the creation of this content (eg videos of customers receiving/unboxing the product) then this is more likely to resonate with customers and be shared by them.

    You could also start looking into a search / and content strategy which should help to drive more intent based inbound demand, who are further along the buying journey.

    I hope this helps~


    Ngā mihi – Thanks so much for your advice Kirsty. That’s inspired a few ideas!

    I think the thing that’s been holding me back the most has been ‘right-fitting’ the campaign to my customer profile. I have some good info around the profile but it’s the next step which is where I’m a little stuck and where I have the most to learn at the moment.


    Hi Lisa,

    Totally agree with the advice advice from Kirsty. Telling the stories of you, your purpose and passions and those of your makers will help people going from being aware that you exist to wanting to purchase from you. Creating visual content is also important.
    In terms of building brand awareness you have both organic (free) and paid tactics that you can use.
    On Instagram your organic options consist of:
    Collaborations (with your makers, other businesses that share a purpose or an audience. Tagging each other in content is a good way to be discovered b=while people are ‘going down the Instagram rabbit hole’.
    Collaborating with ‘influencers’ is also a great way to build awareness. Many have rates where you pay them to post on your behalf but sometimes a surprise and delight gift box to an influencer who shares a similar target demographic to yours can get a great response.
    Competitions – Follow to win is a quick way to build followers. Tag someone
    Hashtags – using local hashtags and hashtags relevant to your community will help build awareness. Things like #shoplocalnz, #buylocalnz etc are popular at the moment. Also #shopmaori, #maorimade, #maoriinbusiness etc to reach people specifically looking to support maori business. Also look at what other gift boxes, local and maori-led business are using to see if you can discover some relevant ones.
    Being social: Identifying your target market and talking to them (commenting on posts authentically) on social is another time-consuming but free way to grow.
    UGC (user-generated content) – encouraging your customers to share photo’s of your gift boxes when sending or receiving and tagging your account can help build brand awareness through word of mouth.

    Generating awareness through advertising can be as simple as boosting an Instagram post to your ideal target audience – based on location, age, gender and interests.
    Also thinking of testing the triggers that might make people purchase. Our kaumatua may be stuck at home for a lot longer than the general population – encouraging people to buy a care box for them could be one trigger. Essential service workers who have been on the front line – a thank you box for them etc.

    Good luck!

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