Customer Story How Darling and G&B Turned a Gifting Campaign Into an Evergreen Program
Darling is a lifestyle brand that has built a meaningful community around a shared mission: to shift cultural mindsets on beauty and self-esteem. Darling was the first magazine to not photoshop women’s skin or bodies and are igniting a deeper conversation in the fashion industry and helping women dress with confidence.
Their partnership with G&B, a leading exclusive digital talent firm who bring a human touch to influence through deep engagement, passionate storytelling, and enviable results, continues to expand on this mission.
At a Glance
Learn how Darling, a lifestyle brand with community as their cornerstone, was able to:
- Identify on-brand creators
- Scale an evergreen ambassador program
- Increase brand awareness
Background An Expert in the Industry
With a passion for connecting brands with their target audience through the power of content and community, Sarah King brings a wealth of knowledge from a decade of working in the creator economy.
Prior to joining G&B as their Head of Brand Management Division, Sarah has worked with micro to macro influencers securing long-term partnerships and led the influencer programming and talent bookings at industry-leading companies that include Who What Wear, Rose Inc., and Perelel. She has built influencer communities and managed marketing campaigns for top tier and emerging brands across the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle spaces.
“Sarah and the team at Darling worked incredibly well together to create the stunning results seen here. What makes success possible is great planning, a client that is open to big ideas, and of course, great tools like CreatorIQ that help bring the vision to life. This program had all of these ingredients, plus great leadership, which created wins for all involved.”
Mission Growing an Authentic, People-First Program
Prior to launching their clothing line in May 2023, Darling attempted to put an ambassador program into place that focused on members buying their capsule collections at a discounted rate, and selling to their own communities on and offline. Although the program offered a commission rate of 25%+, this did not prove to be a sustainable or scalable model.
To support the collection launch, Darling tapped G&B to secure paid partnerships and organic gifting to 50 recipients for their Spring/ Summer 2023 capsule. G&B targeted diverse female influencers that embodied the Darling mission of supporting and celebrating people of all ethnic backgrounds and body types.
Upon completing a very successful gifting with a 64% acceptance rate, Darling extended their partnership contract with G&B with the goal of a restructuring strategy around the ambassador program.
G&B was tasked with introducing an evergreen influencer program that generates sales, new customer acquisition, and brand awareness by honing in on community.
Challenge Building, Scaling, and Retaining a Community
Darling’s goal was to build and scale their community and ambassador programming for long-term growth and brand awareness. They tapped G&B for their unique capability of mapping out and executing on an evergreen strategy for retention, where G&B highly encouraged them to sign up with CreatorIQ.
Prior to getting set up on CreatorIQ, Darling was primarily sourcing accounts that followed them on Instagram to invite them into their ambassador community, in addition to the existing subscribers of their magazine. There was no streamlined process for identifying on-brand creators that could resonate with the new clothing line, or any access to engagement rate stats and audience demographics as provided by CreatorIQ for vetting. Additionally, the platform they were using did not offer detailed post analytics for reporting and analyzing in order to measure success. It was used purely for communication and pipeline tracking.
Solution Offering Gifting and Affiliate Opportunities
G&B implemented an “Always-On” gifting program to achieve a consistent flow of User Generated Content (UGC), while simultaneously screening talent to recruit into Darling’s ambassador program, the Darling Society. From June through September 2023, G&B built and scaled Darling Society, leveraging existing Darling relationships and the new relationships that developed from gifting.
In an effort to cast a wide net and make the program more enticing to all, G&B added an affiliate option knowing that a handful of people would find the ambassador posting requirements to be too much of a commitment, and prefer to only share their code when Darling organically makes it into their content.
G&B outreached a total of 1.2k people, got product into the hands of over 600, onboarded 265+ people into the Darling Society program in partnership with the Darling Community team, and drove over $1M in EMV.
“Our partnership with G&B has been a phenomenal success! At Darling, the community is at the heart of our brand and mission. This principle guided us as we ventured into the apparel market. We knew that community marketing would be pivotal to our strategy. Therefore, we invested in people, formed key partnerships like the one with G&B, and embraced cutting-edge technology with CIQ/Tribe.
Since launching, our Ambassador program has seen tremendous growth. As CEO, I value the data that we get from CIQ/Tribe, as it allows us to make informed data-base decisions as we grow the brand. We're thrilled about the future as our community embraces and shares our message: 'Darling, You are a work of art.'”
- Over 600 influencers were gifted Darling products from June through September 2023, helping drive awareness and brand loyalty.
- Drove $1.4M in earned media value.
- Influencer content produced 3.3M+ estimated impressions, 20.2M potential reach, and nearly 260k post engagements.
Fast Questions with Darling and G&B
- How would you describe your experience with CreatorIQ in three words?Convenient, effective, and informative
- What would you tell other companies considering using CreatorIQ?A platform like CreatorIQ is essential for any company planning to run campaigns with influencers, or looking to build and scale their community through gifting and ambassador programming. It’s well worth the investment, especially for brands with large growth goals. I swear by their campaign management tools. The platform is capable of running multiple short-term one-off campaigns at a time, in addition to long-term community centric programming where creators receive product on a regular basis. I love leveraging their CreatorGift tool for this purpose as it works in tandem with Shopify. Gifting orders can be fulfilled in large quantities via the brand’s fulfillment center so nobody in the office is spending all their time packaging and shipping hundreds of gifts.
- How has it been working with CreatorIQ’s team?Always a wonderful experience working with their team. I’ve been working with them since they were called “SocialEdge.” The CreatorIQ team always feels like an extension of the team I am working on. They are responsive and there to help you navigate the platform when you’re stuck. I’ve even been on a texting basis with some people for those moments when I have a quick but urgent question.
- What would your job be like if you didn't have CreatorIQ?I’ve definitely been there. I’ve worked with several brands that were not using CreatorIQ, and let’s just say, I much prefer to be on the platform. It enables me to be more organized and more effective with my time. List-building takes much longer when you have to source talent through old spreadsheets, emails, pitch decks, and good old-fashioned IG/TikTok stalking.
With CreatorIQ, I love that you can create custom tags for each profile added to the database, particularly for those moments when you need to tap talent based in specific locations. I can also maximize on my time when running campaigns on CreatorIQ as all materials live there – I can upload the creative brief, and request for talent to submit content previews there, as opposed to going back and forth on email with various uploads during the approval process.