Why One Jewelry Brand Intentionally Focused on Brand-Building Over Selling Products During the Pandemic | Coronavirus Series

Many brands that sell non-essential goods, like jewelry brands, have said their sales have gone down during the pandemic. But some are finding ways to persevere in spite of those circumstances. 

MyIntent.org is one of those brands. 

I recently spoke with David Pan, chief operating officer (COO) of MyIntent, who told me how the direct-to-consumer (DTC) jewelry brand is handling this particular challenge and what it means for the experiences they create for their customers. 

Read on to learn why David says brand-building is a higher-priority focus than sales at the moment, and discover some of the strategies MyIntent is using to engage and serve customers. 

 

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David Pan, COO, MyIntent

Marissa McGovern: How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your business? 

David Pan: We’re placing more focus than ever on building our brand and not necessarily selling our products. 

We’re a brand with a mission-based vision that happens to sell jewelry. Our jewelry has inspirational words that remind the wearer of the weekly, monthly, or annual mantra that they’ve chosen for themselves. We help people find their purpose and become their best. 

Rather than focus on selling jewelry during this time, though, we went back to our brand values and thought about how we could help our customers and community. 

"Rather than focus on selling jewelry during this time, though, we went back to our brand values and thought about how we could help our customers and community."

David Pan, COO, MyIntent

My brother and MyIntent founder, Chris, has spent the last seven years studying self-care and learning about what drives happiness and purpose, and how to let go of anxiety and fear. He’s attended dozens of retreats and conferences. 

When the pandemic started, he saw the stress, anxiety, and fear the world was facing and he sprung into action to form a “self-care school” of sorts on top of the MyIntent platform.

Through his own journey, he’s studied under some of the best self-care teachers and we’ve formed partnerships with these teachers to offer free Zoom workshops in meditation, yoga, movement, dance, singing, breathwork, and conversation hour. 

The mission of our classes is to serve the 30+ million Americans, and even more across the world, who have recently lost their jobs—people whose worlds have been rocked by this virus. While we can’t offer everyone a job, we can help you find clarity through the chaos, release stress, or just find a positive community. 

 

Marissa: Macroeconomic factors, like unemployment, are weighing heavily on marketers and co-founders’ minds. Some brands are even pausing aspects of their daily operations to save money. Have you paused or shifted any of your marketing resources?

David: We haven’t paused or stopped spending on our marketing resources. If anything, the pandemic has forced us to rethink how we better leverage our marketing resources. 

For example, one of the first things we did when the coronavirus hit was to rethink our entire abandoned cart flow to make it more relevant for the times. We updated every flow email with new content. We updated the customer stories we’re showing in our emails to be about WORDs that lower anxiety or express gratitude. 

As we’re launching our new series of workshops, we’re utilizing Hotjar to monitor how customers are interacting with our site and making tweaks to optimize. 

Of course, there may be software that a business has that’s no longer useful, but I would say it’s more important than ever to maximize the marketing resources you have available. 

"We haven’t paused or stopped spending on our marketing resources. If anything, the pandemic has forced us to rethink how we better leverage our marketing resources."

David Pan, COO, MyIntent

Marissa: I saw on your website that you give visitors the ability to sign up for your self-care events. Were you previously using signup forms or did you implement this marketing tactic as a result of the current crisis? 

David: We were previously using signup forms to collect emails and offering a discount, but now with our workshops, we’ve changed the type of forms we use on that page to be focused on staying in touch and learning about new classes. So we have an email signup form on that workshop page and an exit-intent pop-up form to stay in touch. It’s super helpful that Klaviyo allows you to have different types of signup forms for different pages. 

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In order to have people sign up for our new flagship weekly Inner WARRIOR Training (IWT), we also signed up for Eventbrite and were pleasantly surprised to find that Klaviyo has an Eventbrite integration that makes email collections super easy. Also, to our surprise, we’ve found that half of the people who sign up for our IWT are discovering us through Eventbrite itself. 

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This is very helpful because it’s a free customer acquisition tool. It’s also helped us attract people from all over the globe, which is unusual. Most of our community is from the US, but with Eventbrite, we’re getting people attending these classes who are from Korea, Jordan, Argentina, Australia, Kenya, and more. It’s been a great marketing tool to help new customers discover us. Because of our workshops, we’ve added thousands of people to our email list.

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"We were previously using signup forms to collect emails and offering a discount, but now with our workshops we’ve changed the type of forms we use on that page to be focused on staying in touch and learning about new classes...Because of our workshops, we've added thousands of people to our email list."

David Pan, COO, MyIntent

Marissa: How do you plan to build long-term relationships with your new customers and followers now and following this pandemic?

David: We strive to be a brand that impacts people to become their best selves. As we build trust with our new class attendees, we’ll find opportunities to cross-promote our products and invite them to check out our store. Additionally, our class schedule is hosted on our product store so class attendees can easily check out the shop anytime. 

 

Marissa: What’s your busiest season and has your planning for it changed due to the coronavirus?

As with most brands, holidays are our busiest time, but we’re unique in the sense that Thanksgiving, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday or Christmas, is our most popular holiday. 

Our Maker Kit is designed to catalyze meaningful conversation. It has tools that allow you to make bracelets and stamp them yourself with your WORD or the WORDs of your loved ones. You’re then encouraged to share why you chose your WORD and it leads to beautiful conversation and connection. In the past three years, we’ve positioned it as a mindful activity to do at Thanksgiving with your family.

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"I ordered the Maker Kit and wanted to make a ‘take away’ for everyone (35 people) at our Thanksgiving. It was such a privilege to have these conversations with my family and closest friends. We shared and learned a lot about each other, which is amazing considering we are so close and feel like we know each other well, but this gave an even deeper insight into one another. We have been talking about the project ever since. The kids even loved it! Everyone was raving about it and felt it was such a wonderful idea."

A MyIntent customer's review

We’ve historically started promoting the Maker Kit in mid-October to give it a full month’s run of promotions. We send emails, run Facebook ads, and take advantage of what’s usually a slow time for retail.

Unfortunately, these days Thanksgiving has often just become about watching football and making small talk, and it turns out that people are looking for something meaningful to do with the family so this helps us stand out from our competition.

The effort we’re taking to build a new customer base of engaged followers this year will hopefully help us become even stronger and more successful during the holidays.

The wrinkle in things this year is we don’t know yet if families and friends will be gathering like they normally would. Additionally, we’ve seen some supply chain delays and higher costs in recent weeks, so we’re already starting our holiday forecasting and planning.

"We’ve seen some supply chain delays and higher costs in recent weeks, so we’re already starting our holiday forecasting and planning."

David Pan, COO, MyIntent

Marissa: Reflecting on this time, are there lessons you’ve learned that you’d want to share with other marketers?

David: Yes, look for the bright spots. There are opportunities that can be found in chaos and uncertainty. We’ve had three aha moments. 

First, virtual self-care events. We’ve always wanted to help our customers achieve their WORD—to actually become their best-selves beyond wearing their WORDs. When times are fine, it’s easy to just keep pushing plans back. But the coronavirus gave us a needed swift kick to get the virtual events going. 

While the classes we’ve started are geared towards those who have lost their jobs, they’re also perfect for helping our current customers find their own clarity and purpose. We plan to continue offering these events and we’ll modify how they’re structured once stay-at-home orders ease. Perhaps we’ll offer different time slots to account for people’s schedules, for example. 

Second, the new classes are helping us tackle purchase barriers. One of the biggest purchase barriers our customers have is choosing the WORD they want to be engraved on their jewelry. If you can’t commit to a WORD, then you’re never going to buy a bracelet from us. 

We’ve tried to tackle this before. We have a whole page dedicated to helping you find your WORD. A variety of questions are on that page. We’ve even developed a quiz. 

In our classes now, our teachers will incorporate different questions and often ask the students to think of their WORD. For example, how will you impact your community this week? What’s a WORD that will remind you of this? I strongly believe that our classes are going to help people find their WORD and, in turn, help them get over that barrier much faster. 

Finally, innovation. People are still looking for products that provide comfort and inspiration for themselves and for meaningful gifts. Our brand happens to serve these needs.

Because of the coronavirus, we’ve become even more zeroed in on the data that we have. One of the data points we’ve started tracking is what are the most popular WORDs ordered by customers per week. An interesting finding was that for the week of March 14, 2020, the phrase “Hakuna Matata” was the 137th most ordered word. Now, it’s been in our top 15 words for the past four weeks. 

Because of this data, for the first time, we’ve updated the product photos on our homepage to reflect the WORDs customers are ordering and we’ve added Hakuna Matata to our homepage.

Additionally, currently, when a customer gifts a bracelet to a loved one, they can include an inspirational message but it’s printed on the invoice and it’s not something you’d want to put on your fridge. We’re ready to launch the ability to print this message on a keepsake card that someone would be proud to display. This is something we’ve worked on for a little while and paused when the pandemic started, but now we’re focused on bringing it to life to improve the entire customer experience. We have the flexibility to offer it as a paid add-on or offer it as a freebie for promotions. 

Marketing 101 is identifying customer pain points and needs. People are craving human connection more than ever and our product is one that can help fill that void.

Final thoughts

While sales for many jewelry brands have decreased due to the pandemic, other brands have found opportunity. MyIntent spotted creative growth opportunities, stepped further into their mission, and is positioning themselves for long-term success. From their new virtual events to finding ways to be more relevant to improving their product experience, this is one busy brand and we expect their momentum to continue.

Want to experience one of MyIntent’s workshops? The brand was recently a guest on Live From Your Laptop, a series of interactive virtual events designed to help you stay connected with the Klaviyo community during COVID-19. Catch the community Q&A and mediation workshop with MyIntent. Watch it on-demand

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