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Beauty is more than skin deep
Health & Beauty

Speed’s Head of Health & Beauty, Laura Murphy, takes a fresh look at the beauty industry, exploring why it continues to thrive, what consumers want, how marketeers can win out and the role that influencers play in building brand fame and loyalty.

The beauty industry is worth a whopping $625.7billion[1] worldwide and with countless brands competing for the attention of beauty buffs globally, it’s hardly surprising that beauty marketing is big business.

Multi-million dollar deals with talent, elaborate TVC productions, out-of-this world retail pop-ups, industry disrupting AI generated content and collaborations with the biggest names in social media.

When it comes to beauty marketing, what really makes the difference, and do you need to spend big to win out?

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BASE / TRULY UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE 

Most marketeers will tell you that they need to understand the audience to devise the most effective marketing strategy. And rightly so. Which makes beauty marketing all the more fascinating as beauty transcends gender, age, race, demographic and if you believe in the iconic ‘lipstick effect’, income.

Not many industries can lay claim to this multifaceted appeal. And for me, the reason that beauty has no age, is because it’s a feeling. Whether you are 20-something experimenting with make-up; moving into your 30’s – or as I like to think of it, your skincare era; or approaching 80 like L’Oréal’s cover girl, Dame Helen Mirren; beauty products and brands are there to make you feel – well like you’re worth it.

And how can brands do that?

It’s about building meaningful connections that are authentic and really – I mean, really  – tap into the needs, wants and desires of the audience. You see, when it comes to beauty products and purchases, the driver is as likely to be impulse or aspiration as it is problem/solution orientated. But whether it’s a new lipstick to put a smile on your face, a serum to combat oily skin and blemishes, or even a silk pillow slip that promises an anti-bacterial slumber (not to mention a bit of bedtime luxe), the joy of all these products – and the industry – is the end goal is to make people feel great.

LOYALTY RUNS SKIN-DEEP / BUILD LOYALTY THAT LASTS

Making your audience feel great is what keeps them loyal. And brand loyalty in the beauty industry is huge, in fact according to research by Corra[2], 30% of those surveyed have used the same product for a long time and two-thirds of loyal brand fans will recommend products to their friends.

Speaking to one of my own beauty icons, my mum, she admits to using the same cleanser for 55 years and counting, only changing her foundation brand three times in her life – each underpinned in a life stage change and with it, changing skin texture – and still wearing the same mascara that she did when she was 18 (Rimmel in case you were interested).

This brand loyalty is the holy grail for brands – but in an industry that is fuelled by innovation, huge marketing budgets and an audience ripe for spending, how do you catch their eye?

PRIMED TO PERFECTION / CHOOSE YOUR MARKETING CHANNEL WISELY

Okay, there is 100% a role for a huge TV campaign fronted by Kendall Jenner or similar. And going back almost twenty years, I had the privilege of walking into the prestigious 255 Hammersmith Road, otherwise known as L’Oréal UK Headquarters, as a fresh-faced graduate. Stepping into the glass building of the world’s largest beauty company, I cut my teeth working on some of the biggest beauty TV advertising campaigns at the time.

But what if the budget doesn’t quite stretch into the millions? That’s where the rise of the micro-influencer can really come into play.

L’Oréal may be the biggest beauty brand on the planet, but not on social media. According to Statista1, Revolution Beauty London is the top of the feed when it comes to social follower growth, engagement, content quality and influencer partnerships – followed closely by Charlotte Tilbury and Pixie. Interestingly, Revolution Beauty London isn’t only clued up when it comes to making social work, but the pocket-money price point taps into a sense of creativity, individuality and self-expression that influencers and their followers crave from social media content. Again – making them feel great.

Speaking to luxury lifestyle influencer, themonicaway, her view on why influencers can play such an important role in beauty marketing is:

“With beauty being so personal, audiences are looking for influencers that they relate to. This can be down to their specific skin concerns or face shapes, their hair type or simply the way in which makeup fits into their lifestyle day to day.

“For some, makeup and beauty can be really overwhelming – there’s so much out there on the market, we are bombarded with advertisements – how are we supposed to know what to actually choose or trust? By working long term with authentic influencers who genuinely vouch for and regularly use your products – whether that’s in GRWM routines, pre-party prep or their day-to-day ‘what’s inside my handbag’ – the decision becomes much easier. We remember the brand much more naturally and feel like we have a mutual connection to the brand via the influencer that we follow and trust.”

INFLUENCING THROUGH INFLUENCERS

Taking this insight into practice, our influencer work with Revlon has seen the brand that was once more famous for curling lashes than curling hair, rocket to become TikTok’s most famous hair styling hashtag, winner of multiple beauty awards and the UK’s biggest ever selling styling tool. And still growing.

As Monica explains, the authenticity as influencer has with their audience can build brand trust in way that no celebrity or TV campaign can replicate. Keeping Revlon as the example, seeing the tool transform an influencer’s hair who has the same hair type as yours, immediately and visually showcases the product benefits and the feel great factor that our beauty audience desire.

This is also where creativity and storytelling come into play with successful influencer collaborations – there is a reason they have such an engaged following and it’s not a set of brand guidelines. It’s their own tone of voice, style, personality and self-expression. This should align with your brand positioning and values but not replicate it. Building connections in this way will build an emotional bond with your audience, which in turn will foster brand loyalty and ultimately achieve brand fame.

Fundamentally, we need to understand our audience’s desires, ground influencer collaborations in authenticity and build emotional connections through creative storytelling. But I guess the overarching message to take away is that similar to the diversity of the beauty consumer audience, no one size fits all when it comes to developing a beauty marketing strategy. So regardless of budget, my advice… make your audience feel worth it.

[1] Beauty & Personal Care – Worldwide, Statista Market Insights September 2023

[2] Stats About Loyalty Every Beauty Brand Should Know, Corra