Stephanie Rance

Stephanie Tavares-Rance on how Family Dollar engaged bloggers to become brand ambassadors for their FD Fabulous campaign

“Our HBA (Health and Beauty Aids) category was declining, and we were trying to think of a way to engage our consumers in a really fun way.”

When she was the head of Digital Marketing, Social Media, and PR Manager of Family Dollar, Stephanie Tavares-Rance and her team faced an awareness challenge. The brand was fighting the notion of appearing as a cheap and low-quality retailer.

As a result, customers were not aware of the wide variety of affordable products, including the large selection of health and beauty items available.

It's the first time a retailer has taken a stand to say that black is beautiful and black women are beautiful.

After a brainstorming session it came to Stephanie, “Let's use vloggers and bloggers to tell our story of the great products we sell in our store.”

But before reaching out to those influencers, they segmented and identified their target shopper and discovered their target audience in high-traffic, urban markets was African American women.

“Let's talk to this woman specifically, in a really compelling way,” says Stephanie.

The concept they developed to attract these women was called Family Dollar Fabulous.

“Family Dollar Fabulous is a celebration of African American women, it's a celebration of multi-cultural women,” Stephanie explained. “It's the first time a retailer has taken a stand to say that black is beautiful and black women are beautiful.”

The campaign was designed to provide African American female shoppers with solutions and ideas that enable them to look and feel “fabulous.” Family Dollar worked to position themselves as their go-to neighborhood store for trusted beauty, hair, and personal care brands at great prices, while providing added value with tips and inspiration.

“We wanted our customers to know we are a great place to shop,” says Stephanie.

In order to convey this, Stephanie determined the best way to tell their story was to engage with women who have tons of influence.

Family Dollar tweet

She found her influencers the old fashion way: She searched for bloggers and vloggers who were already talking about beauty, lifestyle, and loving the skin they're in. The ambassadors chosen had huge social media reach and influence, with an average Twitter and Instagram following of 70,000.

After personally reaching out to these women, they were signed on to a one-year contract as brand ambassadors for Family Dollar Fabulous. Their responsibilities included creating how-to videos, testimonials, and product reviews.

They also participated in Twitter chats, Instagram takeovers, and store appearances, all while promoting the hashtag #FDFabulous.

But before they kicked off the campaign, Stephanie invited the ambassadors to meet under one roof to show them what the brand was really all about.

At the Family Dollar headquarters in Charlotte, NC, they created their first exclusive kick-off event: FD Fabulous.

The most influential fashion, makeup, and hair styling experts, local beauty bloggers, and national brands came together in one room to share their secrets with each other and to share tips and tricks with shoppers through social media.

Suppliers of brands found in stores were invited to provide product demos and tutorials. Each supplier brand was partnered with a blogger who then had to review the supplier's product. Suppliers included Revlon, P&G, Unilever, and Luster to name a few.

The FD Fabulous event series has continued to grow exponentially.

Their first event included 10 suppliers and 15 bloggers. Two years later, FD Fabulous hosted 18 suppliers and 41 bloggers in Atlanta.

“In the beginning it was a challenge to get these people to partner with Family Dollar because they were really worried about their brand and associating with us — but then they saw we stuck with the event and it grew and became better and better. Now I have to turn people away,” Stephanie says.

The FD Fabulous event has trended on Twitter, garnering 64+ million organic PR impressions and 522+ million social impressions.

They realized maintaining the momentum from the event was critical to ensuring the campaign's overall success.

In social, that meant content was pushed out on a pulsing schedule. Because the FD Fabulous event was private, content was released in snippets on “Fabulous Fridays,” showcasing reviews and products through their social strategy of educating, motivating, and sharing. If viewers wanted more information from the event or about products, they were forced to reach out directly to the ambassador's sites, or read more from the Family Dollar Fabulous blog.

Family Dollar tweet

Along with weekly content, a dedicated blog on Family Dollar's website served as the beauty hub for Fabulous. The blog includes original blogger videos reviewing products found in stores, coverage from the event, and customer testimonials. This allows for more eyes to travel back to Family Dollar.

Beyond social, Fabulous was also extended to print through magazines. Stephanie was able to set up a partnership with Ebony magazine providing the brand a lift to their platform and solidifying them in the beauty category.

Family Dollar

In the upcoming year, Family Dollar is planning on implementing a five-city takeover at the corporate headquarters for big brands such as P&G, Unilever, Revlon, and Luster.

From there, they will do a 15-store blitz in those particular cities and invite bloggers to hold meetups with their followers in Family Dollar stores.

“A win is the fact that people are saying ‘I never knew Family Dollar carried XYZ products, and it's cheaper than Walmart. I'm gonna go shop there and buy it.'”

Watch Stephanie's full presentation here from our Brands Only Summit. Stephanie has been a member of since 2014.