Each year, The Body Shop chooses a charity to support at Christmas time. This year, they partnered with Launch Housing and dabbled in TikTok to combat homelessness.
New kid on the block, TikTok, has made waves overseas for its potential to bring a new element to fundraising through social media. Campaigns such as Movember in the UK are a great example of its power, but in Australia the channel is relatively untouched especially after fears earlier in the year it would be banned due to allegations that it provides user data to the Chinese Government.
But, given the all-clear in August, we’ve been waiting to see how nonprofits and their partners are planning to use the new channel to raise funds and awareness. The wait is now over.
This Christmas, The Body Shop partnered with Launch Housing and dipped their toes into the unknown world of TikTok. They created a TikTok duet challenge with The Voice prodigy Siala becoming the first official donation hashtag challenge in Australia.
“When Siala tried out for The Voice she was living with her mum and her siblings in a women’s shelter as a result of family violence. We approached her and she was keen to come on board. We then had the idea to cover Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless), which is about the fact that homeless women are just like you and me – it just seemed like the perfect statement,” says The Body Shop’s Marketing & Corporate Responsibility Director, Shannon Crisp.
The challenge asked TikTokers to duet Siala using the hashtag #sheslikeyouandme with The Body Shop donating $5 per post, up to $20,000.
More than skin deep
The Body Shop is a brand built on doing good. Since inception, it’s balanced purpose with profit, and last year they made it official by becoming a certified B Corp. In fact, they became the first global B Corp founded by a woman. This classification meant that they re-articulated their purpose – to fight for a fairer and more beautiful world.
Their purpose is their compass and directs them in choosing their causes to support and charity partners. It’s broad enough that this translates to social justice issues, human rights, animal rights and the environment.
“[Founder, Dame Anita Roddick’s] philosophy was ‘looking good should be about feeling good’ – the whole idea that when you feel good, all the best things about you are evident. The idea that when you love yourself, that leads to love for our planet, people and animals,” says Shannon
“Really at the heart of it, we are a feminist brand. In the early days [founder Anita] was very much in a world of men in lab coats in the beauty industry and she was the antithesis of that,”
Inspiring grassroots activism
This year, with lockdowns and social isolation, came reports of increased domestic violence. The Body Shop took notice. Earlier in the year, they ran a global campaign called ‘isolated not alone’ to combat the rise in domestic violence during COVID-19.
When Christmas came around, instead of the typical global partnership, each country was given the freedom to choose their own Christmas charity partner.
“All they asked us to do was to choose something that was centred around women. For us, it was a lightbulb moment finding out that 61% of Australia’s homeless population are women with children – often due to domestic and family violence,” says Shannon.
They had a contact at Launch Housing and the partnership fell into place.
In the initial planning stages, The Body Shop asked Launch Housing what they needed and how the organisation could utilise their platform. A relatively new charity, formed from the merger of Hanover Welfare Services and HomeGround Services in 2015, Launch Housing requested help raising awareness, getting their name and cause out there.
“At its simplest level, it was about demonstrating the problem and challenging people’s biases around homelessness,” says Shannon.
This awareness campaign worked with The Body Shop’s target audience: predominantly young, smart ethically engaged women. It also worked for the platform TikTok.
“TikTok started out as a platform for people to share their singing and dancing and now it’s becoming a platform for people to vocalise activism and to share their personal stories. Young women are using it to really bring awareness to causes.”
“We thought if we could promote Siala’s song and ask people to join us and inspire that sense of entry-level activism. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt this year with the Black Lives Matter movement, the bushfires, and COVID-19 is that lots of small actions can lead to big change,” says Shannon.
“At the heart of it, it’s really inspiring critical conversation and just starting somewhere. If someone is able to make a TikTok video that raises awareness, and they can touch just one person who then inspires another person … that grassroots movement is what we were hoping to inspire.”
360 degrees of promotion
In order to run the campaign, The Body Shop met with TikTok numerous times to discuss how best to use the platform. Despite TikTok’s algorithm deemed more ‘democratic’ – meaning it’s easier to discover content from people with low numbers of followers or views – they engaged with TikTok influencers to help get the message out there. They had support from TikTok Creators such @Roryeliza, @jasminetxo and @inoxiasounds who have a combined following of 10.3 million.
They were not afraid to throw some money behind the campaign. One day, they paid for a takeover of the channel to promote the hashtag challenge. They also allocated budget to promote Siala’s cover of Gypsy Woman on Spotify to catch the attention of radio and TV.
“We put media spend behind it because we really wanted to make sure that it reached as many people as possible. Radio stations and TV stations will be more interested if the song is higher up in the charts so it’s that cyclical process,” says Shannon.
The cover is currently number four in the Spotify charts. At the time of writing, the hashtag #sheslikeyouandme has close to 400 million views. While the overall campaign results won’t be known until January, the TikTok campaign has reached its goal of $20,000. But, according to Shannon, they’re not the only benefits. The staff engagement aspect has been a great side-effect.
“We really see our staff as the ambassadors of our brand. They’re having conversations with consumers and they are so excited about this campaign. Many of them have participated in the TikTok Challenge themselves – and have been trying to spread the word and embed that in the culture of their team meetings. It makes them feel really connected, especially in what has been a disconnected year.”
With TikTok broken in, it will only be a matter of time before more and more charities tap into its potential. Who’s up to the challenge?