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Beauty Branding: New Generation, New Trends

Posted By: SGK June 06, 2019

This blog post has been contributed by Bowen Yang, business development manager, Brandimage China.

The universal language of marketing is continuously evolving. From field selling to market planning, today, we see the dominance of the consumer creating meaningful content and experience for them. We have started living in a subscription world, and membership sign-ups are growing day by day.

Being part of an 'in-group' is becoming a necessity to feel included as part of something big. It starts from subscribing for a TV series to cosmetic trials and extends to the healthcare sector.

Millennials are the key drivers of membership concept in this new age. Their transition from watching brand commercials on TV to directly interacting with their favourite brands on social media made way for clubs and exclusive participation.

READ: What Does ‘Brand Love’ Mean to Younger Generations?

While social media is cost-effective and high performing, it is an all-time competitive landscape. For companies to have a leg up on the competition, creating personalised content is nothing more than a prerequisite. Non-engaging contents are dismissed with a swipe losing its immediate touchpoint with a potential customer.

The subscription economy model appeals to customers to halt and engage with the content posted by the brand. Brands can leverage this idea to build and strengthen their relationship to convert customers to members.

So, what makes a subscription brand successful?

Below, we outline a few examples from the beauty and personal care space to illustrate what a successful club looks like:

Exude brand values. Brand authenticity is something that consumers want to see. A brand that reflects its brand values both internally and externally is perceived as consistent and trustworthy by its customers.

For example, SK-II took on women empowerment as a subject matter to create awareness around Chinese women who are pressurised to get married. SK-II rolled out #ChangeDestiny campaign where videos titled, "Marriage Market Takeover" and "Meet Me Halfway" reflected the stigmatism and antiquated value system of China. The discussion around dwindling interest of marriage and hope for change triggered lively discussion on Chinese social media like Weibo and WeChat.

Promote learning. Direct-to-consumer marketing supports knowledge flow from brands to consumers. It positions consumers at the centre of all strategy and activity; increasing brand relationships. Most of the Chinese customers have cultivated a habit of researching customer reviews before finalising their purchase decision.

To accommodate that rising behaviour in China, the Xiaohongshu app (a Chinese lifestyle app) hosts a variety of product and experience-based reviews and recommendations shared by individual users.

Personalised feedback provided by the users builds trust among the user community and promotes ongoing engagement with the app for further information. Knowledge sharing via such app keeps the community continuously engaged and brands to actively promote in this space.

Community building. Brands can apply influencer marketing to build a community that will be immersed through its activities via different channels. Creating content via KOLs allows followers to engage and consume the content displayed by the influencers through social media platforms.

Brands can also collaborate with KOLs to conduct make up tutorials for walk-in customers that will increase footfall to their retail stores — encouraging consistent learning amongst consumers answers the need to remain connected for the latest updates of related news or trends.

The home-grown beauty brand, Pechoin, rebranded itself by optimising its product design and targeting younger Chinese millennials who support local brands. Through key opinion leader (KOL) marketing campaigns, it exhibited the real experience of using the product, inspiring viewers to try out the products for themselves. The campaigns proved successful, and Pechoin was crowned as the top-selling national beauty brand last year.

Create a space to congregate. Constructing a space to congregate is essential for a community to thrive, interact with other consumers and with the brand. It can be either online, offline, or both. While most subscription models are strictly online, some brands have ventured into the retail experience world to enhance their offline image.

Recently, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) Beauty Hotel made its way through major cities across the globe connecting with its cosmetic followers. Breaking free from its usual retail booths, YSL introduced a one-day beauty hotel that included the likes of neon lights, and Instagram-worthy beauty stops. Building an area with customised activities elevates the brand experience for the beauty fanatics as they continued their chatter online via YSL's hashtag.

READ: Retail Is the Ultimate Social Platform

Invite feedback. Millennials have grown up in an era where they are likely to write, react or do both when finalising their purchase decisions. Incorporating consumers feedback reassures them that the brand listens to them, and boosts their confidence when brands convert feedback into action via the products or services they offer.

Glossier, a UK cosmetic brand conducted field research, understood its customers and as a result widened its range of foundation shades to reach out to different coloured consumers. It was a well-received initiative that has improved the brand's sales revenue.

It also dedicates a significant portion of its promotional activity to user-generated content by posting photos and comments from real-life customers on its channels. Integrating customer's posts, Glossier manifests as 'customer-first' company building a deeper relationship with its consumers.

Customers can no longer be treated as single purchase contact. It is imperative for brands to view their customers as members, not consumers. Today's consumers are web-savvy, mobile-enabled data sifters with personality — but don't forget, they still enjoy interacting with brand experiences.

Transparency in brand values, knowledge sharing, community building, spatial freedom and voice of share are key ingredients for a successful subscription model.

Are you ready to embrace the new age beauty branding for your market? Get in touch with us here!