Sourse Chocolate Vitamins is investing in influencer marketing to boost brand awareness and get in front of Gen Z, millennial and Gen X shoppers.
The digitally native brand was launched during the pandemic in 2020 with initial advertising and marketing efforts including social media, paid search, influencer and brand partnerships. Those efforts expanded deeper into influencer marketing last year, with Sourse sharing affiliate codes to earn commissions on sales.
“We love working with influencers who have an audience on multiple platforms, like YouTube,” said Megan Howard, senior director of product marketing at Sourse. “This is a strategy that has helped us scale quickly.” Howard did not provide exact figures.
It is unclear how much of its advertising budget went to influencers and social media marketing as Howard could not disclose the exact figures. However, according to Howard, about 80% of ad spend has been spent on digital marketing channels. Of that spend, Google Ads and display make up 20%, social media ads make up 40%, mobile games make up 15%, influencers and brand partners make up 25%. Offline channels have been direct mail, brand events and partner activations.
Among the influencers Sourse worked with were Nicole Cogan, an angel investor blogger and wellness enthusiast, and fashion model Sanne Vloet. “We like to build relationships with our partners for the long term and we’re a cruelty-free company and love working with like-minded partners whose followers are looking for clean label options, which are hard to find in the supplement industry,” said Howard.
Securing influencers with long-term contracts is one way brands have tried to maintain a connection with consumers. The thinking goes that the strategy will reinforce the brand’s messaging in a close-knit community setting among an influencer’s following, particularly as influencer marketing struggles to mature given its measurement issues.
Sourse sold above one million bags of chocolate bites within two years of launching and continues to grow, Howard said, adding, “We saw strong sales in our first two months, leading to almost $2 million in sales in our first year. Since then, we’ve grown over 400%.“
While the brand is available direct to consumers online, it also has a retail presence at high-end spas and clubs like Soho House and Joanna Vargas. The brand aims to target Gen Z and millennials who prioritize their wellness routines and seek clean-label vitamins.
Health and wellness are currently popular topics for many shoppers. It is more common for brands to disclose ingredients and to focus on nutritional concerns, such as gluten-free or vegan, according to industry analysts. “From a marketing perspective, Sourse Chocolates is positioning itself as a leader and providing market education through its blog content,” said Lily Rotter, senior director of demand generation at Skai. “Given their D2C approach, they have the ability to control the marketing, brand, and messaging.”
In an era in which people are more concerned about their health and appearance than ever before, Sourse Chocolates can position itself as an industry leader by playing into childhood favorites as well as something everyone loves: chocolate. A majority of Gen Z (73%) believe they are more concerned about the environmental impact of food choices than previous generations, followed closely by millennials (71%) according to the 2022 Food and Health Survey.
Sourse is underway in its retail expansion, working closely with retail partners on social media, email, and in-store promotion beginning with Foxtrot convenience stores. “The supplement industry is crowded and can be confusing and we want to make it easy to understand,” Howard said.