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3 Long Lasting Beauty Cultures in the Social Media Era

Beauty is facing the big challenge to embrace customers’ hunger for meaningful experiences.

Long lasting foundations, playful and glamorous shadows or safe skin care are no longer the real competitive bastions.

The brand value isn’t hidden anymore behind glossy and bling packaging. It’s all about how a brand is able to be a cultural innovator or new ideologies amplifier.

As Douglas Holt, professor at Harvard Business School says, brands can stand out in the over-stuffed media environment by piggybacking novel ideologies that are relevant to the category and gaining traction in crowd cultures.

But what are the main crowd cultures that are affecting the beauty industry as well as fascinating annoyed customers by sparkling and revamping their desire for beauty?

Here are 3 main inspiring cultural insights that are able to transform a beauty brand into a more relevant and trustworthy “best friend” Content Editor or into the ultimate shopping hotspot.

1. Beauty fans as experts

The world of beauty experts is borderless: new trends, products and services from around the globe, like Korea and the US, can become lovemarks and buzzwords on the spot amongst the most followed youtubers. There is no limit to customers’ exploration craving; bouncing from product video reviews, to make-up tutorials, to “what’s in my bag”, “daily routine” video bloggers and so forth.

Make-up, skin care and fragrances are acquiring the social enabler status that has always distinguished the fashion industry. This is why it is worthwhile for beauty lovers to be more and more knowledgeable in beauty products and services qualifying as a real point of reference in their personal network.

What they need to increase and to show-off their expertise, is a beauty editor retail brand.

Brands like personal beauty buyers that operate a smart, exclusive and sexy product selection on customers’ behalf. Flourishing examples of this are the digital native e-tailers Glossybox and Birchbox, as they are leveraging on this culture. The latter delivers a monthly subscription box of 10 selected beauty products to 800.000 active subscribers. In 2014 they opened a 400sqm boutique in SoHo, New York, to create a physical experience by giving the opportunity to fully personalize their own beauty box.

Based on the same insight: to fulfil customer’s voracious appetite for being beauty opinionated and first adopters, the beauty retail travel experience is gaining ground. Consequently, the chance to spend time at the airport’s duty-free, rich in local and storytelling novelties, mainly out of reach in your own country is a priceless experience.

2. Mindful customers chaise detox

The perception or the factual stress and pollution poisoning, pushes mindful customers to search for more time and pampers as the most precious frontier of exclusive, luxury and personal wellness.

More often the possibility to select and buy wellness and detoxing experiences overlap with affluent and well cultured, not only mindful, customers. A prime example is Laura Frerer-Schmidt, the VP and publisher of Women’s Health magazine: she wanted more than a mere vacation home in the Hamptons, to escape from NYC. She created a 4,000-square-foot wellness sanctuary to live and promote wellness, peace and love for nature. She called her house Well-thy Home and invited a hundred beauty and lifestyle influencers and journalists to indulge in this experience first hand. This reflects the “well-thies” culture, or rather the art of investing resources in exclusive but holistic experiences that make customers rich in health.

Organic beauty from California, Germany and Nordic European Countries has spread out conquering high specific spending and sophisticated targets. Now the organic and sustainable side of beauty is growing and new brands, products and experiences are raising.

From “home-made” beauty tutorials and recipes to holistic beauty-hair salons like Biba in the region of Auckland, New Zeland. Biba is a new concept developed by reinventing a simple hair salon into a transformable yoga studio and juice bar, definitely becoming a holistic platform.

3. Everybody loves customization

Customization isn’t a prerogative of an affluent target anymore, since also a broader audience demands made-to-measure products and experiences.

Individuality in beauty has always been important but is now a crucial x-factor that enables brands to be more relevant and appealing.

The Canadian brand Bite Beauty decided to join this race by offering a fully personalized lipstick, created in only 7 minutes, in its New York Lip Lab, at a very democratic price.

Another start-up inspired by the success of bespoke products is MatchCo, which is artfully satisfying customers’ desire for personalized make-up pallets at an affordable price. How does it work? The MatchCo iPhone app scans and analyses clients unique skin tone to customize a perfectly matching blend colour formula, which is shipped within 48 hours.

Also the beauty colossal L’Oreal through its brand La Roche-Posay is launching the first-ever personal UV monitor patch. The product will enable clients to measure their own UV exposure and suggest a specific sun protection lotion through My UV Patch mobile app.

The tech up path is certainly not the only enabler of customization. In fact we have the commonly known fragrances libraries or Bar à Parfums which are perfect examples of personal and exclusive non-tech experiences.

Beauty editorship, detox-oriented and customization will sustain brand meaningfulness in the coming years, as these are not trends but crowd cultures which also move social media audiences.

Certainly, digital in beauty will be extremely relevant in the battlefield. Make-Up In Paris will host the new section Digital Beauty at its next edition in June.

However, digital is not a culture itself but simply an enabling tool. A successful mobile app like Make Up Genius becomes relevant because it responds directly to the customers’ need to view a personalized make-up look, which is tailored on the basis of personal profiles and purchase history.

The value of the experience is more than ever the fuel to ignite the conversation with the customers and keep the relationship alive. The perfect weapon is no longer the colour swatch, but the capacity of exploiting the new crowd cultures.

Antonella de Nicola, Global Strategy Director, LuxHub