How a startup subscription box service leverages brand love to grow its affiliate program
ICHIGO Inc. is a startup from Tokyo, Japan, with the goal of sharing Japanese culture with the world through candy, snacks, and kawaii merchandise with its subscription box services. Some brands like TokyoTreat—an exclusive and limited edition Japanese pop culture snack box— and Sakuraco—an authentic and traditional Japanese snacks and tea box—are among some of the most popular boxes offered.
ICHIGO Inc. launched its affiliate marketing program in 2021 to drive revenue and awareness for the emerging brand. It works with creators of all sizes to help promote its TokyoTreat and Sakuraco subscription boxes. The program deploys creators on multiple social media platforms but focuses primarily on YouTube creators who can reach an audience in the 18- to 50-year-old age range.
ICHIGO Inc. Founder Ayumi Chikamoto started the first ToykoTreat box service on her living room floor in 2015 after being inspired by sharing her love for her native Japanese culture with her friends in college. As Chikamoto rolled out additional boxes with various Japanese products, she began hiring a team to help build out the overarching ICHIGO Inc. brand.
In early 2022, ICHIGO Inc. hired Clay Thomas to run its affiliate marketing program to generate buzz for its TokyoTreat and Sakuraco boxes. By zeroing in on high-performing creators who genuinely love ICHIGO Inc.’s products and the Japanese culture that inspires them, Thomas has nurtured a strong community of influential fans who share their brand affinity with engaged audiences.
To scale ICHIGO Inc.’s affiliate marketing efforts, Thomas realized he needed a way to organize communications, generate and track affiliate codes, nurture long-term partnerships with top creators, and organize incoming content for repurposing on ICHIGO Inc. platforms.
Thomas made it his mission to partner with many different creators in various niches who produce quality content and genuinely love ICHIGO Inc.’s services. These meaningful partnerships would help the company share its brand story and build an emotional connection to its products.
“Having GRIN and having an all-in-one feature where everything is aligned and everything is kept up to date is something that you just can’t beat, honestly. It’s a one-stop shop, essentially. Everything you need is right at your fingertips.”
– Clay Thomas, Marketing Associate
As ICHIGO Inc. scaled its affiliate program, it became apparent that spreadsheets alone wouldn’t be enough to manage its growing number of creator partnerships and organize the amazing content produced by creators. The brand needed a way to free up busy work so the team could focus on building the brand and nurturing strong relationships with its highest performers.
ICHIGO Inc. found its solution with GRIN’s all-in-one Creator Management platform. From creator outreach and recruitment to generating affiliate links at scale and analyzing crucial data to determine the effectiveness of the program, Thomas had all the tools he needed to run a top-notch program right at his fingertips.
GRIN’s email integrations streamlined communication with the brand’s large creator roster, enabling them to tailor automated email sequences and ensuring no important information ever slipped through the cracks. And with an organized content library, Thomas and his team had no trouble finding the exact piece of creator content they needed to repurpose throughout their marketing funnel.
With GRIN, ICHIGO Inc. was able to build a creator roster eager to share their love for Japanese culture with their audience through the TokyoTreat and Sakuraco subscription boxes. GRIN’s intuitive affiliate marketing features made it simple for Thomas and his team to execute multiple campaigns from start to finish and report on the success of each. As the brand continues to grow, ICHIGO Inc. relies on GRIN to nurture authentic relationships with niche creators and keep the brand love flowing.
With GRIN, ICHIGO Inc. was able to: