Beauty Marketing: Diversity, Tech and the Role of Influencers in Industry under the Spotlight

The beauty industry needs to reflect greater diversity both in front and behind the camera, as consumers increasingly align with brands that share their values, according to a panel of beauty experts speaking at Are Media’s latest insight series TRENDtalks: Beauty.

Hosted by Australian beauty leader and presenter Michael Brown, TRENDtalks: Beauty also highlighted how technology is set to change Australia’s beauty market and why brands should use social media influencers differently. TRENDtalks: Beauty is the third in the insights series, following travel and food.

Are Media’s latest ‘Beauty Voices’ research revealed 92% of consumers feel strongly about more diversity when it comes to beauty advertising, while 78% say brands actions and messaging around sustainability is important.

Meanwhile, one in three say magazine brand reviews and features influence their beauty product choices, 66% say good reviews and statistics influence them most when choosing a band, while 48% are always researching even when not in the market for something new, with 41% saying they’re influenced most by friends.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, lifestyle director, Brooke Le Poer Trench, said: “We also know that consumers are just looking for signs in every purchasing decision, that their values are aligning with the products they buy. That extends far beyond the ad campaign. I think we’re all trying to understand how we can use our buying power to help move this forward in a really positive way.”

Miss Universe Australia writer, beauty influencer, Maria Thattil, added: “When we are talking about diversity and inclusivity, in the context of beauty, people think about ethnic backgrounds. But when we’re talking about diversity, I mean the diversity of all markers of somebody’s social identity, diversity of ethnic background, yes, but also gender identity. Because it’s not just women who care about beauty, it’s men, it’s transgender and nonbinary people too.

“But often the efforts might be focused on visibility in a campaign, so I would challenge brands to go that step further. I’m talking about not just visibility in a campaign, but where is the representation behind the scenes? Are we consulting with these groups that we’re trying to serve at all stages of the process, from research through to social media and monitoring engagement, to product development and marketing, we need that kind of representation in front of the camera and behind the camera and at all stages.”

L’Oréal Australia, media director in New Zealand, Lyndall Campher, talked about the global beauty giant’s ‘Sense of Purpose’ campaign which addresses issues around diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, climate change and animal welfare.

“When we did research on this campaign we found that new customers coming into the market, particularly Gen Z, issues around sustainability and inclusivity are really important for them and they will only buy from companies with their own values or resonate with the values of the company,” Campher said.

The intersection between technology and beauty has never been more apparent with technology changing the way people think about beauty, from packaging, research and product innovation, said Livia Wang, co-founder and chief brand officer of Access Corporate Group, which manages a portfolio of over 30 brands including Vida Glow, Napoleon Perdis, Minenssey and Lovekins.

“Technology has changed the world and we will see a lot more to come when it comes to the beauty industry,” she said. “Technology can offer people something they couldn’t imagine before. Innovation is going to change the landscape of our beauty industry so watch out. I do think in the next few decades we’re going to define the beauty industry with technology in a very different way.”

Are Media’s Beauty Voices survey found 22% of influencer reviews actually influenced consumer purchase decisions, but Thattil argued how brands collaborate with influencers should change.

“It’s really important to know that audiences can see when something has been briefed because the overall message comes across as if it’s a billboard and people don’t want to feel like they are being marketed to. So, let’s loosen the reins a little bit. Give your influencers a little bit more creative control, so that when they are talking about your business and your product, they are doing it in a way that is organic to them and it comes across as authentic and believable.

“It’s really important to consider that influencers are not just the end of the line. Look at how you can weave them in collaboratively. I’m talking about consulting them in the research and development process when you’re formulating what your social media and marketing campaigns are going to be,” she noted.

For Skin Software founder, Niamh Mooney, which offers personalised prescription-grade skincare formulations, influencers and user-generated content has played a key role in informing its customers. “Influencers have been really effective in educating customers on prescription-grade ingredients and also legitimising the brand as well,” she said.

 
This article was published on 21 October 2021 by EMMA SHEPHERD
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