To: Emily Weiss, Founder and CEO of Glossier

Dear Emily,

Watching Glossier’s ascent—with customer feedback at the forefront—has been nothing short of exciting. For an industry that assumes success is predicated on the gut, instinct and taste of companies, not consumers, Glossier proves that the two are not mutually exclusive—they are mutually beneficial.

In relationship terms, if most brands are parents, their customers are children—a relationship that, at its core, is one-sided. Glossier has cultivated a brand-customer relationship more like that of two friends on equal footing—a dialogue. The brand’s existing voice and aesthetic is that of an effortless friend, which resonates in a world where everyone is trying hard to not look like they are trying hard at all.  

But you can push this trailblazing reimagination of the brand-customer relationship even further. Glossier takes advantage of customer feedback on the back-end for product development, but while you include customer reviews on your website, you have yet to harness these testimonials as robustly on the front-end. Already, 79% of your 2016 sales came from peer-to-peer evangelists and the door is open for customer feedback and testimonials to play an even more integral role in your sales and marketing strategy.

Here’s one idea about how to do it.

Reimagine your website through the words and images of your customers.

Brands spend an immense amount of time defining themselves with visuals and text. Both are especially important for companies that sell products people put on their bodies, which makes them more personal.

Yet there is often dissonance between how a brand thinks about itself and how customers think about the brand. This perpetuates a never-ending game of cat and mouse as the brand tries to remain one step ahead of customers, analyzing their reviews and metrics and painstakingly guessing and anticipating their needs.

But if customers could shop and experience Glossier through the words and images of their peers, the brand-customer relationship would reach new heights. More prominently featuring comments and visuals—which are already organically posted by actual customers—could bring an even more authentic, approachable voice and look to Glossier’s messaging. Glossier could attribute the images and words to the real customers who posted and wrote them, further driving the network effect you are already mastering.

One way to execute this customer-centric vision of Glossier would be with a “lens” that shoppers could toggle on and off on the website, depending on whether they want to view the brand through Glossier’s point of view or that of their peers.

This would accomplish a few important things:

  • It would further establish Glossier as the leader of brands that truly put the customer first. Without being explicit, it says that Glossier stands behind its tribe so fervently that it will let them speak for the brand anytime and anywhere. This would drive customer loyalty, referrals and—most importantly—sales, to even higher ground.
  • As an after-effect, it would further catalyze customer feedback. Customers would become even more willing to speak on behalf of the brand now that they feel empowered to impact a company that seriously values their opinion.  
  • It would allow you to be bolder with images and messaging, since there are some things brands simply can’t say about themselves, either because it would come off as pompous or as off-brand. A brand that receives organic feedback from customers, however, can endorse these comments and opinions on its platform without concern.

There are two important caveats to this program. First, Glossier would still retain total control over what goes on its website. And second, none of the featured testimonials could come from commissioned Reps, as this would diminish the validity of the feedback.

Giving the customer this much control is uncharted territory for brands, which is exactly why Glossier has an exciting opportunity to take the first leap—one that aligns with the brand itself, while sending tremors through the industry.

This is just one idea among many that would further extend Glossier’s lead in redefining its customer relationship. Let me know if you would like to hear more.

Richie Siegel
Founder and CEO
Loose Threads