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As the cry for self-care and the interest in natural and clean beauty becomes more popular, skincare has seen rapid growth in the industry, more so than even the makeup industry in recent times. Sales of skin care products in the US grew by 13% in 2018, hitting $5.6 billion, while makeup sales increased just 1%, according to data from The NPD Group, a market research company. Buying habits are now changing as consumers become more engaged with brands in different ways such as through social media, through individual customer experiences and reviews and through influencer marketing. In order to keep up with the social trends and the growing knowledge of the consumers through digital, we now find that brands are launching products back to back and the market has now become saturated with options and variations of different products. Gone are the days when the brand name in skincare was what mattered the most to buyers as increasingly the trend of clean beauty and organic skincare has led to a rise in the popularity of smaller indie brands which are generally in keeping with social trends such as the trending CBD skincare. As a marketer of luxury skincare, how do you ensure your brand stands out amongst the ever-evolving market in the digital age without compromising the integrity of your brand?
#1 Get Social and Engage with Consumers
Social media has been successful in creating and channeling trends in the skincare industry. Through social media, marketers can communicate directly with the consumers to stay attuned to their wants and sensing trends before they have fully exploded within the industry. Marketers can utilize social medias using posts, images and campaigns to promote their products or offerings to keep consumers in the loop and feeling buzzed about the products.
Creating a Skincare Community for your brand can play an integral role in your brand presence as it capitalizes on the desire to connect, the desire to learn and explore, share experiences and ask questions. “I don’t think that we’ve ever seen consumers, certainly in the beauty industry, at such a high level of education and sophistication,” according to Stephan Kanlian, head of a think tank at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology that studies the future of the beauty industry. YouTube has become the go-to social media platform for knowledge on all things beauty, fashion, and self-care through tutorials and how-to videos. The skincare industry needs to capitalize on this platform but not through ads simply promoting the product. What consumers want to see is how the products are applicable to their lifestyles and routines. Videos such as tutorials and reactions and reviews have become increasingly popular as consumers no longer want to just see an ad showcasing a model with satin-smooth glistening skin, a plastic smile and key ingredients. Consumers want to see how the product is utilized and they want to be taught and understand the benefits. Creating a brand YouTube page and curating content showing, for example, the 7 steps of skincare and utilizing your product comes across as more genuine to consumers than simply advertising your product and stating why it is the best. In the skincare community, you can solidify your brand presence by engaging your brand directly with the customers, allowing beauty experts who represent your brand to engage with and respond to consumers directly regarding their skincare needs.
#2 Strategic Partnerships
Sponsorships and partnerships are extremely important in expanding the brand’s digital presence as they increase reach. For example, the company that I work for, ELEMIS, capitalizes on its five partners / strategic distribution channels – digital, retail distribution, QVC, professional spa and maritime – to drive awareness, trial, conversion and retention across the omnichannel. The company L’Occitane International, leading manufacturer and retailer of natural cosmetics has recently acquired the company thus increasing the company’s reach and digital presence from being primarily UK based to a more international scale. ELEMIS has also tapped into markets no other skincare brand has through strategic partnerships outside the norm and in line with the luxury niche they position themselves in such as partnerships with The Ritz and other luxury hotels for spa exclusivity and partnerships with British Airways and Temperley London, allowing them to tap into the luxury travel audience.
Strategic Partnerships in terms of influencer content has also greatly improved brand visibility and awareness as brands partner with popular celebrities such as Kylie Jenner with over 161 million followers on her Instagram and popular YouTuber Patricia Bright with over 2.86 million subscribers. These influencers are known for their interest in beauty and skincare and so they carry great pull when it comes to them promoting and recommending such products. This also allows the company to lose control of the way the brand it marketed but still stay in the conversation and acquire data.
#3 Utilize Data, Get Personal
Maximizing the digital channels is not without challenges as proper curation is necessary to ensure consumers do not feel overloaded with options. Brands need to ensure their content guides consumers and that it is personable and customized to suit their wants and needs. The brand also has to be careful to not lose sight of the brand image in trying to please the customer. In order to acquire this specific data on their consumers, brands need to employ the use of analytics to receive insights to utilize in product development, buying and marketing choices in line with their brand image. In skincare, there is no “one size fits all” and brands must take a personable approach through effective use of data in order to obtain and encourage repeat sales and customer loyalty.