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How Beauty Brands Can Build A Successful Multi-Channel Digital Strategy

The beauty industry has been uniquely effective at adopting emerging technology as a way to better engage its audience. Still, with an expanding customer base (see Covergirl’s new brand ambassador) and new channels for users to discover inspiration, modern beauty brands must continue to operate differently, particularly when targeting younger generations.

As brand loyalty wanes and buying power increases, beauty brands need to speak with an authentic and meaningful voice in order to rise about the noise and stand out amongst an ever-growing competitive set.

Check out some ideas and tips below from brands we think are approaching multi-channel marketing in unique way, and seeing results:

Glossier: Talk to Your Consumers, Not at Them

We’ve written about Glossier before, and can’t help but mention it again as the brand stands out in an already crowded industry for its simultaneous simplicity and disruption, as well as its ability to reach the coveted millennial generation.

One of the reasons for the brand’s success is the idea of post-demographic consumerism, which is the concept that consumers are freer than ever before to construct their lifestyles according to their own ideals and tastes with little regard for tradition. Even more simplified, it’s the anti-establishment or anti-brand movement.

The two-year-old company embraces this change in demographics through its brand voice and communication strategy when speaking to customers. The brand doesn’t use celebrity ads, high-profile department store placements, or overly-complicated language. And, its employees are trained to talk to customers directly across all channels in a casual voice that resonates with its younger audience. By keeping its marketing understated, casual, and unmediated, Glossier has been able to unassumingly make a name for itself in the beauty industry.

Another reason behind the company’s success is its ability to both share and understand consumers’ priorities. Emily Weiss, the founder of the Glossier, pointed out in a Wired interview that when she started her now famous blog, Into the Gloss, she did so because “beauty companies had no idea what their customers were up to,” nor were they addressing it. She further explained that customers weren’t going to department stores to try on makeup, but were watching YouTube makeup tutorials, cross-checking product reviews, and finding their beauty inspiration on Instagram. Weiss was addressing something many marketers, and we at Olapic, have come to understand now: the consumer journey is not linear and customers are looking for other users’ knowledge to make purchase decisions.

It’s clear through the numbers that consumers appreciate this type of brand behavior with Glossier’s already 316K followers and 31K images hashtagged with the brand name. To stay in line with its brand messaging and consumer-focused mandate, the next logical step would be to involve customers in the conversation by featuring the top-quality, on brand content its fans are already producing (as shown below).

Elizabeth Arden: Go Where Your Fans Are

Elizabeth Arden is a classic brand that is familiar to many women, whether they’ve walked by its products in department stores, have encountered its famous Red Door, or because of its recognizable perfume and makeup packaging. Given the innate familiarity of this company, it makes sense that the brand approaches marketing as friendship, as Digiday stated in an article about its e-commerce strategy.

Thriving as a brand for over 100 years, the company is sure to have seen the shift of consumer behavior over the course of decades, and seems to be taking on a strategy shift of its own this year. We know that today consumers dictate the marketing conversation for brands more than ever before. With instantaneous reviews, Instagram posts, live video and more, brands can no longer tell a customer which product or experience they should want to purchase. Instead, it’s the brand’s responsibility to observe its audience to determine their preferences, which messages resonate with them, and how they would like to be reached in order to tailor messaging to fit these observations.

Earlier this year, the president of the brand, JuE Wong, chatted with Digiday to explain its strategy behind making Elizabeth Arden more accessible to a younger demographic. With this goal in mind, the company partnered with YouCam Makeup, a popular makeup app, allowing its 100 million users to try on the brand’s makeup with an option to buy directly from the company’s e-commerce site.

As was quoted in Digiday from L2’s 2015 beauty report, “brand sites have become the journey, but not the destination, for purchase,” and therefore Arden’s move to secure potential customers on YouCam is a direct push to reach customers engaging on more popular digital channels.

While the brand still has some catching up to do in the digital realm, they already have loyal fans posting on YouCam and other inspirational channels like Instagram. The brand not only has the nostalgia factor going for it a quality that is great for creating an emotional hook for millennial customers, but also 100+ years of name recognition. The company even acquired Manicube — a popular metropolitan startup service that provides in-office manicures at an affordable price. This brand is well known in the New York, Chicago, and San Francisco areas and is also part of the shared economy movement, which engages a younger demographic.

With all of these brand qualities, Elizabeth Arden is poised to have meaningful engagement with its customers through investment in the right digital strategy. Incorporating user-generated content into the e-commerce site as well as in-store (as they have already begun to do with YouCam) is a powerful first step.

??A trio of aces!! ??Happy Sunday! ??#makeupoftheday #ea #elizabetharden #gold #lipstick #makeup

A photo posted by Istar ⭐️ (@istar.girl) on

NYX Cosmetics: Personalize the Beauty Experience

Another innovative beauty company who deserves credit for its ability to connect directly with its consumers is NYX Cosmetics. While the brand sits at a lower price point than Elizabeth Arden and Glossier, it has made an impact in the beauty industry for its ability to inspire the creation of customer content.nyx multi channel 2

The brand has found success leveraging user-generated, or earned, content across its digital and e-commerce channels, but also took its customer experience strategy to the next level by incorporating UGC and other digital content into brick-and-mortar locations.

NYX understands the value consumers’ content has on new and existing users, and invested in integrating this content into its stores (via iPads, iPhones, digital displays, and Xboxes) to provide a personalized touch that is thoroughly embraced by its customers. The brand realizes that its loyal fan base looks to one another for inspiration, and by providing their personal photos and videos in an easily accessible manner in-store the brand is able to create a better customer experience and drive sales.

Whether it’s capitalizing on a casual brand voice, partnering with a new technology, or taking your online experiences offline, there is no single right way to create a successful multi-channel experience. The point is that beauty brands are taking the time and effort to invest in and extend this type of experience to their fans in the first place.

At Olapic, we know when companies incorporate the customer into their marketing and e-commerce plans, it drives results. Earned content can not only provide insight, inspiration, and authenticity for brands, but also encourages loyalty and purchase behavior. That said, what will your brand do to leverage its consumers in its digital strategy to drive an engaging multi-channel experience?  

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