Brand Breakdown

Brand Breakdown Part 4: Phlur (Creator Content and TikTok)

October 15, 2022

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over these past four weeks, it’s that Phlur’s ‘Missing Person’ perfume is a masterclass on the power of selling a feeling, not features.

They’ve used TikTok to make potential shoppers all over the globe long for nostalgia and sparked a sense of wonderment around what the perfume might smell like for them.

Invoking feelings in shoppers is one of the many ways brands can capitalize and iterate on their creative. 🎨

In a marketing world plagued with data loss, brands need to prioritize their creative strategies. Creative assets and creators are quickly becoming one of the most impactful pieces of a brand’s marketing strategy.

We posed the question, “how can Phlur further capitalize on their virality to build their organic content and connect with creators?”

Here’s what we found:

🪝 Hooked on a feeling

⚡️ Quick:

  • Uses nostalgia to intrigue viewers
  • Gets people talking about their experiences with the scent
  • Highly branded

🌹 Smelling the roses:

It’s no secret, Phlur creates a sense of nostalgia. Who doesn’t miss someone? They don’t describe their perfume in the video as notes of X and hints of Y… they let potential shoppers wonder and relate to the product in their own way.

They position the scent as more than just a perfume that you spritz for special occasions. It’s an experience that *only* people who buy the scent get to participate in. And that exclusivity creates curiosity.

Nostalgia + curiosity = 🔥

The steps to creating curiosity for your brand:

  1. Think about your biggest product benefit
  2. Understand what feeling that benefit gives your customers
  3. Think about content you can post on TikTok that will spark curiosity about the feeling

Here’s an example: If you’re selling teeth-whitening toothpaste, start a brighter smile challenge and get people posting about how white they can get their teeth with your product! 👄

As strong as Phlur’s Missing Person message is, there’s a missed opportunity on their organic TikTok page — the posts are limited, and most skew towards the branded side.

It’s important to remember that your organic page is another touchpoint in the buyer's journey. If you’re casting a wide net with creator content, and a high volume of traffic lands on your page to find one use of a trending sound from 2 years ago, they will second guess your brand's legitimacy.

That is why striking a balance of scrappy and branded content is key. 🔑


We’re loving the use of scrappy content (and trends) by DTC brand Glossier and think they could serve as a form of inspiration for Phlur.

Scrappy content is major for top-of-funnel awareness. Chances are, shoppers will see your brand for the first time on their TikTok For You Page. Being scrappy provides something for users to engage/interact with and gives them something to remember your brand by. 🧠

There’s a time and a place for both scrappy and polished creative, but if your brand hasn’t given scrappy a fair chance on socials, it’s time to give try it out and analyze the results.\

📸 Smile, you’re on camera

⚡️ Quick:

  • Creators creating hype
  • Fantastic social proof
  • 5 ways to increase organic content volume

🌹 Smelling the roses:

When you have a product that goes viral, you might find user-generated content (UGC) coming out of the woodwork. This video has just under half a million views and shows the couple trying Phlur’s Missing Person and describing what it smells like to them!

Capitalizing on a feeling means that creators aren’t doing a sales pitch. They’re sharing their genuine experiences with the fragrance, a fabulous form of social proof for video viewers. 👍

Phlur is missing out by not using this content to build on their own organic feed. Sure, it pops up when you search ‘Phlur,’ but when people click through to the brand page, there’s not much to be discovered.

Your organic feed is crucial to the buyer journey. If potential buyers see a video with your product in it and visit your empty profile, they lose trust and might mistake you for ‘just another internet brand.’

Here are five easy hacks to increase your brand validity through volume of organic content:

  1. Duet. Find top content about your brand and add context! Try, “this is why we did this..”
  2. Stitch. Stitching on TikTok allows you to incorporate 5 seconds of content from another video into your own. Find the best hooks from creators and capitalize on them!
  3. Greenscreen. Show scrollers of your website, talk about common questions, highlight reviews, etc.
  4. Use comments in videos. Find people are asking the same thing over and over? Respond to their comment with a video. Chances are, if one person is asking, many people are wondering.
  5. Capitalize on trends. There’s no shortage of trends on TikTok. Check for trending sounds, formats, and jokes.

📈 You have how many followers?!

⚡️ Quick:

  • Creator generated content
  • Micro-influencers
  • Repurposing creatives

🌹 Smelling the roses:

Having a creator who has 13.6M followers on TikTok talk about your product is a huge deal! It’s great social proof, and scrollers are more likely to buy something if one of their favorite creators is gushing about it.

Whether this content was gifted or bought, we’ll never know. But what we do know is that partnering with creators to share your products can be a great way to get more eyes on your brand.

Whether you choose to whitelist, darklist, pay for creator content, or gift content is up to your brand and budget.

The Pilothouse Studios team recommends dipping your toes into the partnership world with micro-influencers. Micro-influencers cost less, have high engagement, and better turnaround times. 🤝

We also love that Phlur reposted this video to their own TikTok page! If followers are landing on their page from a search or another video, it’s a killer way to show the product is well known and loved.

🙅‍♀️ FOMO no mo’

⚡️ Quick:

  • Building hype around product restocks
  • Using exclusive waitlists to grow your list
  • Answering FAQs with videos

🌹 Smelling the roses:

When you have a viral product, chances are your inventory levels are going to take a hit. If you’ve got lots of stock, this can be a big yay, but if you’re on limited supply, it can be a massive nay.

Phlur’s done something here that is a big A+ in our books. They’re not waiting for scrollers to see their back in stock video. Instead, they’re building hype for the eventual restock and giving users directions to sign-up for their email list for updates. 📧

If you have a product with low or limited inventory + high demand, customers are more incentivized to offer their data!

We recommend leveraging TikTok’s top of funnel to collect data even when your product is sold out. It allows you to own your list, send targeted offers, and create a VIP experience.

We also love that because this video is in response to a previous organic video, they can own the comments and respond accordingly.

Phlur does a great job of this. When their comments were flooded with comments about international shipping, they could make an informed decision about the wants of customers and find an offer that works for international shipping.

✨ Conclusion

TikTok organic and utilizing influencer and user-generated content is an incredibly powerful tool for your brand.

Our top 5 takeaways:

  1. Beef up your organic page. It’s another touchpoint in the buyer’s journey, so optimize it accordingly.
  2. Implement feelings into your selling journey. Nostalgia and curiosity create buzz.
  3. Share creator or UGC to your own page. Utilize the tools on the platform to make it your own!
  4. Use your TikTok organic page to own your comments. Respond with videos and answer FAQs.
  5. Build your list. Use product drops or back-in-stock to grow your email list and notify customers who’ve signaled they’re ready to spend.


That’s a wrap on the Phlur brand breakdown! What brand do you think should be on our brand breakdown schedule? Reply to this email and let us know! 👀

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