“There’s nothing more intimate in life than simply being understood.”– from The Inner Circle by New York Times bestselling author, Brad Meltzer
Did you know the average woman spends $313 a month on her appearance? This makes the grand total over her lifetime near a quarter of a million dollars. And, though it may seem excessive in retrospect, as well as to others not as concerned with their looks, are there bigger reasons that are driving women to splurge? Could their reasons be more than skin deep?
Beauty products, like makeup, have shown to boost confidence. They make women feel prettier, or they address an issue that affects their self-esteem. Research also reveals makeup to help “women bond faster” among females who use it in similar ways. Yet, a Glamour article digs a little deeper below the surface, sharing how makeup conjures up fond memories related to these female bonds. For one woman, those memories are the times she and a cousin played with lipstick. They’re seeing her mom get dressed up for date nights with her father. They’re about getting together with friends to get dolled up for the high school dance. And, they include her sister-in-law’s wedding day, when she helped her get ready. In short, these memories all surround her “intimate female relationships” and influence the reasons why she wears makeup.
Beauty brand marketing strategies are not overlooking this woman’s reasoning. In fact, Marc Rey, an executive for Shiseido – a brand nearing 150 years in business – tells Forbes “the level of consumer intimacy is insane” in his industry. And, this explains why the beauty industry is burgeoning – with no signs of slowing.
A love of all things beauty was nearly universal in 2017, driving growth for the $445 billion industry. This is especially true for the prestige beauty market. In the U.S., for example, the prestige segment saw a 6% increase over 2016, holding steady for two years in a row, for a total of $17.7 billion in sales. And, in the U.K., the same market had 4% growth for a total of three billion pounds. But, the biggest change it seems is the type of brands dominating the market. Rey points out the drop for traditional makeup brands (-1.3%) in 2016 and instead, the huge increase for independent brands (42.7%) that same year. But, it’s not because brand leaders are ignoring changes in the industry. Forbes says neither established brands nor the “upcoming independents ignored the indications of change in the market.” Kat Von D, of the beauty brand of the same name, contributes it to lower barriers of entry, which challenges all brands to bring their best game. They must show their authentic self.
That’s because, just as consumers value intimate bonds, they want to not only give beauty brands their business. They want to have genuine relationships with companies. They want brand intimacy. It’s important since, like a recent book shares, stronger bonds equate to “stronger business return and longevity.” Beauty brand marketing sets its sights on intimate relationships. And with success, it helps them grow deeper and even fosters new.
Event marketers and agencies are realizing success with intimate beauty brand marketing in these three ways.
There is a time and place for everything. And, nothing could be more accurate when determining the best time and place to build relationships and get intimate with consumers. You’ll want it to be when and where consumers’ guards are likely to be down. That’s why many beauty brand marketing efforts will take place as part of a larger event, one that’s relevant to their goal.
Take U.K. beauty brand, Soap & Glory, for example. When it planned to introduce itself to targeted U.S. consumers, it sought the best place to find them. For the fun, feisty brand, the answer was music festivals. These gave brand ambassadors the chance to get intimate with attendees by giving makeovers. But, when Soap & Glory announced its initiative to empower women by helping lift their voices with the More Than Lips campaign, it did so at the Los Angeles Women’s March. This gave consumers a look at the brand’s more serious side. Yet, it allowed the company to stay true to itself, demonstrating authenticity that results in relationships.
In a world divided by cultural differences and societal issues, it’s easy for consumers to feel alone. Smart brands see their plight, as well as the opportunity it presents. So, they are making themselves a bridge – one that not only connects themselves with consumers, but helps consumers create bonds with one another.
Glossier is a prime example. The challenger brand has built a community of 1.4 million+ on Instagram alone. Its followers share tips and tricks for Glossier products, which in turn, sell them. After all, “92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising,” per Nielsen. Yet, at the same time, Glossier’s strategy is transparent to all, and the brand is an active participant in the ecosystem its created. As Marketing Week tells, Glossier knows “owning the relationship with the consumer is the only way to build a brand.” But, smart brands also know a social strategy can only take them so far when working to develop an intimate relationship.
Fast Company reveals, “when it comes to belonging, real connection will most likely come from in-person interaction in real life.” But, it also says physical space is not enough and names shared experiences as a means for success.
Lush Cosmetics understands this. It’s why the brand, maker of safe, ethical, and fresh products, hosts its Lush Showcase. In 2018, the two-day event will be held in Manchester, England. There, brand enthusiasts enjoy everything fresh – the making of the company’s products, as well as food and beverages. They’ll also enjoy activities and entertainment and likely hear about topics dear to their like-minded hearts, such as digital ethics and animal rights. A teaser for the event says, “it’s just madness really.” But, the effort proves the community’s interest is bigger than business.
Industry events, such as Beauty Con Los Angeles, provide the occasion for brands to get in front of consumers. Yet, guerrilla sampling at these events may not always be enough, though in some environments, the return for cosmetic sampling can be great – greater than 500% in some cases! Instead, it’s the brand that goes the extra mile to get personal that will win the intimate relationship and the future business.
Beauty makeovers provide an excellent chance to not only get one-on-one, but to give a personal experience. This latter benefit, we know, is a key consumer engagement strategy this year and moving forward. Some brands, like Sephora, will incorporate use of virtual reality or other tech to get the job done. But, others will take a sole, hands-on approach. One shining activation is The Good Ship Benefit by Benefit Cosmetics. The American brand served up an English custom – afternoon tea – aboard a ship docked on London’s River Thames for a global brand experience. Aboard, visitors could enjoy a makeover and brow mapping as well as get tutorials on how to use the brand’s products. The interpersonal approach was sure to have given event marketers and agencies valuable insight. But, most important for the bottom line, it allowed visitors to share wishes and needs – to be understood – which is the true hallmark of brand intimacy.