Rockin’ Robbins, Part 2

In part 1 of a two-part blog, Retail Details examined how Robbins Brothers’ video marketing got its start. In part 2, we’ll take a look at how video marketing has changed the bridal jewelry chain’s approach to TV advertising and how it has enhanced the retailer’s online presence, from the main website to social media outlets.

For Robbins Brothers, video marketing is more than just a way of breaking out of the traditional jeweler mold: “The benefits of our multi-prong approach to young bridal with video marketing are meeting customers where they want to be met,” says director of advertising Diane Ferraro. “It’s about the best for younger bridal customers to connect with Robbins Brothers as a brand.”

The multi-prong approach for Robbins Brothers covers as many Web platforms as possible, starting with YouTube. Like many retail jewelers with a number of videos on YouTube, Robbins Brothers keeps its 119 uploaded videos organized with a designated channel. Roughly 80 percent to 90 percent of its videos are surprise marriage proposals, which includes news coverage of such pop-the-question moments.

A special story behind the store’s videos not only generates media interest but also viewer interest online. Robbins Brothers has helped put together many surprise marriage proposals for members of the various branches of the armed services. Other media- and viewer-friendly videos include proposals done in public places such as aquariums, restaurants, sports stadiums, airports, and even air fields. Collectively these videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of unique views for the retailer.  

And in the spirit of grouping memorable proposal videos, Robbins Brothers even shares links of videos that have gone viral, such a nervous groom fumbling through his vows during the wedding ceremony after several botched attempts at getting his bride-to-be’s ring on her ring finger.

But Robbins Brothers also does fair share of homemade videos. In early February 2009, Tracey Lyles, the company’s media services manager, walked around a busy portion of Pasadena, Calif., handing out long-stemmed roses and small bags of chocolates committing “Random Acts of Romance.” The video content was couples’ reaction to the gifts and response to man-on-the-street interviews about what random acts of romance the couples commit to keep their relationships or marriages alive.

Currently in a testing phase, the surprise marriage proposal videos are also being used online in the company’s “Guide to Finding the Perfect Ring.” Found on the company’s main website, videos from couples are part of five-part guide to buying the right engagement ring.

Menu bar options start with ring styles, the diamond that’ll be set in it, what Robbins Brothers offers in terms of a buying and store experience, the “Real Stories” menu bar that links to the couples’ videos, and the option to book an appointment online.

“Time is short for many couples,” says Ferraro. “The online guide gives young couples a very complete online experience that allows them to learn about us, our products, our customers, and our corporate culture.”

Facebook is another part of the multi-prong approach with videos uploaded weekly to Robbins Brothers’ wall. The Facebook video links go to the chain store’s blog on the main website and to Twitter.

And the approach is working: In 2009 Robbins Brothers had 2,500 to 3,000 “likes” on Facebook. Two years later, the chain store has more than 29,000. Ferraro describes the upward trajectory of Facebook likes as a “slow and steady increase.”

Facebook content is uploaded four to six times a week, depending on the intake of news and videos. In recent weeks, postings on Robbins Brothers’ wall have been an eclectic mix of bridal and bridal fashion news, celebs wearing brands, links to the company’s blog, vendor-related news and contests, and, of course, videos.

Twitter is less about content and interaction and more about gauging reactions to content. The microblogging website is also good for sending out video links, which contributes to the viral quality of Robbins Brothers’ YouTube videos.

“All of this is our 360-degree approach,” says Ferraro. “Social media has enhanced our online presence and we’ve developed a strong sense of community online.”

The marriage proposal videos are also being repurposed as TV commercials. “People love the surprise [marriage proposal] spots,” says Ferraro. “And it helps capture an audience we don’t normally reach online.”

Robbins Brothers will continue working the surprise marriage proposal videos because: “The sky’s the limit,” says Ferraro. “The video contest and the campaigns we create from them are only limited by people’s imaginations.”

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