April 6th, 2022
Diversity and inclusion, beauty trends, and pop culture movements. The beauty industry has evolved immensely over the last decade and influenced countless phenomena that have impacted how modern generations perceive beauty standards, participate in creative expression, and get inspired and influenced by media outlets. Looking deeper into marketing in the beauty industry, we can identify a few notable and innovative beauty marketing campaigns that have changed the rhythm of the beauty industry and challenged precedent beauty industry norms.
Where’s My Shade?
One of the first beauty brands that come to mind when considering the word innovative is Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. Joining in on the growing number of celebrity-founded beauty brands, Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty in late 2017 with the tagline: beauty for all. As the tagline states, Fenty Beauty stands by creating beauty innovations for everyone and emphasizes diversity and inclusion. One of their most notable campaigns was the launch of their foundation which was first released with a groundbreaking 40 shades and has since extended to 50 different shades. Although Fenty Beauty was not the first in releasing a broad shade range, they are notable in doing so while positioning themselves as a brand that represents diversity in the core of the brand’s mission, not simply as a performance for marketing or a product launch. Since then, many other beauty brands have followed in Fenty Beauty’s footsteps to expand their foundation lines to be more inclusive and offer more than 3 or 4 milky tones.
Another unique aspect of Fenty Beauty’s initial marketing campaign was that it was fully digital. Thus, it was focused on social media marketing and relied heavily on influencer marketing –as well as Rihanna herself– promoting the brand on her personal social media accounts. Since Fenty Beauty’s digital campaign, social media marketing has grown as an inevitable means for brands to market their products and has furthered the importance of having a strong social media presence by providing consistent, on-brand content.
TikTok Made Me Buy It
On the topic of social media marketing success stories, we can’t exclude Glossier. When Glossier launched in 2014, it avoided opting for the traditional brick and mortar store or supplying in bigger retailers such as Sephora or Ulta and relied fully on e-commerce and social media to sell its products. Glossier quickly gained attention for its unique digital strategy of focusing on creating community-based social media content inclusive of Glossier users’ reviews and content. Because Glossier uses its consumers’ positive reviews and feedback as a marketing tactic, people trust Glossier products to be reliable and are further inclined to buy into the brand. In addition to their strong online presence, Glossier’s innovative products highlighting more natural makeup looks and user-friendly skincare were deemed very popular amongst Gen-Z and have had an undeniable impact on the beauty industry.
More Insecurities, More Money
In addition to fun, new products, modern times have also called for improvements and growth in the beauty industry. In modern-day, consumers have looked towards more innovative and empowering brands and products that enhance rather than change features. Instead of covering up and feeling ashamed, consumers want to feel beautiful despite not conforming to certain beauty standards and want to embrace their unique selves. While there is still a lot of room for improvement, many brands have taken action to challenge status-quo industry practices of promoting unrealistic beauty standards and rather expressing the message that everyone is beautiful in their own way.
Shifting away from makeup brands, a body care brand that made waves with its inclusive beauty campaign is Billie, a brand that specializes in creating affordable and quality razors for women. Shaving products are a section of beauty that has never really been created for the good of women. Women’s razors are priced higher than men’s razors due to the Pink Tax, while often being of lower quality and poor performance. Billie not only offers premium razors that actually work but also prices their products lower than their competitors. Billie made headlines when they released their ad campaign titled Project Body Hair, showing women with body hair –I know, groundbreaking. Interestingly, no other brand before Billie had shown women with body hair in their razor advertisements. Project Body Hair’s goal was to fight the stigma against women choosing not to shave and show that women have a choice in their personal body care and shouldn’t be shamed for it. This campaign drew a lot of attention and ended up doubling Billie’s sales the week of the campaign release and even sold out the products. Overall, Billie is applaudable for taking another step forward in expanding inclusivity in the beauty industry and taking a stance to break the confining nature of female beauty standards. Nowadays, we can see other brands promoting the embracing of “flaws” such as Starface, a brand that created patches that heal and cover blemishes and are shaped like stars, and even Hello Kitty. Hopefully, we can see more beauty brands creating such products that celebrate and uplift women.
The beauty industry, although highly saturated, is very receptive and ever-evolving. Consumers love new, improved products, and brands are quick to produce all kinds of things we didn’t even know we needed. As exemplified by the campaigns from Fenty Beauty, Glossier, and Billie, it's apparent that brands see these examples and the positive feedback they receive and are inspired to make needed changes to keep up with the times. Brands in 2022 understand that in order to survive and lead the beauty industry, they need to be more inclusive, innovative, and consumer-oriented than ever before.
Annette Yang is one of the Spring 2022 Content Directors. She is a sophomore at NYU Steinhardt studying MCC with a minor in Business. Stay tuned for more amazing content from Annette!