How the beauty industry can keep up with a changing society
Society is changing in regard to what "beauty" really means and, as a result, the beauty industry is facing new challenges when it comes to marketing.
One of the biggest evolutions in the beauty industry is the drive toward more natural ingredients from sustainable sources. Buying products that are all-natural, environmentally friendly and cruelty-free is important to many consumers today, and it's a way that people identify themselves—they feel proud to use products they believe in.
And it's not just natural ingredients that consumers are craving—it's all things relating to natural beauty, from hair care to skincare and everything in between. Communities of color have helped drive this change by seeking out brands that offer a wider variety of products to fit their needs. Brands that move toward greater inclusivity, where products are tailored to meet the needs of more diverse communities, simply better reflect the society and culture we live in today.
But "natural" isn't the only driver. We're also seeing new definitions of masculinity changing how brands appeal to modern consumers. On top of more genderless beauty products, you can now find men's bronzer, concealer and more. And with the global male-grooming market projected to grow at a rate of 5.23% during the forecast period 2018 to 2023, according to Orbis Research, it's no wonder beauty brands are scrambling toward gender inclusivity.
In other words, it's a whole new world for beauty brands—and so the perfect opportunity for marketers to flex their creative muscles.
A creative renaissance
The beauty industry is more complex than ever, which has led to a creative renaissance with marketers finding new and creative ways to drive innovation.
For instance, technology like augmented reality is changing how people interact with beauty brands. Consumers can now buy smart mirrors equipped with the ability to give makeup and skincare tutorials based on your face, and Perfect Corp. launched its latest version of the YouCam Makeup app, in which you can virtually try on different beauty looks through a smartphone. These offer a more personalized experience, allowing brands to easily reach a diverse group of customers.
Besides new technology, another factor driving innovation is the relatively low barrier to entry coupled with high profit margins. Small brands with big ideas can do little to no advertising, relying instead on creative below-the-line tactics (e.g., influencer marketing, experiential events, seeding products, etc.) to break into the market. This way, when an entrepreneur spots a need in society for a new product, he or she doesn't need millions of dollars to get the idea off the ground and into the right consumers' hands.
Take Glossier, for example. The millennial-focused beauty brand has leveraged the "no marketing" approach since its inception, using social media, word of mouth, and virtual representatives to drive growth. The tactic has paid of—so much so that the brand brought in $52 million during Series C funding (with a total valuation of $400 million) and is now on the verge of an IPO.
The path forward
Beauty is no different than any other consumer-facing category in that consumers are demanding more—more efficacy, more transparency, more authenticity and more social responsibility. But one of the biggest differences between the beauty industry and other consumer-facing products is that beauty is a very personal choice.
Beauty products are private and self-defining. They offer a feel-good factor and a cost-effective way to treat yourself each day. And if you look beyond the surface, these products offer creative expression in the way you wear your makeup, protection in your choice of skincare, and hope every time you apply some anti-aging serum. It's all done in the name of beauty—no matter how much its concept continues to change.