In a response to the democratisation of the beauty industry, with influencers of all demographics creating huge followings for themselves online, beauty brands now understand that to engage with the new consumer they need to have a meaningful brand ‘purpose’. This is defined as “a reason for a brand to exist beyond making profit.”
Some of them are redefining the term ‘beauty’ by producing more inclusive campaigns that showcase different bodies, skin tones, ages and genders. Some are empowering men and women to be true to themselves in their wider lives. And some have chosen the environment or health as an area that they would like to create a connection with their customer.
Consumers now expect more from their lipstick brands than simply beautiful colours. How has the lipstick been produced? Are the adverts airbrushed beyond recognition? As a consumer, does it speak to me directly and share the same values?
With research by Dove in 2016 finding that 77% of women think all images they see in media are distorted. And yet 69% say the pressure to look like women they see in media makes them feel anxious, the challenge for the beauty industry is to engage rather than be elitist, communicate authentically and to be transparent.
We have chosen five of the larger beauty brands to look at to see how they have evolved their brand purpose and positioning in recent years.
The master of ‘beauty with a purpose’, is skincare brand Dove. For over a decade, Dove has pushed for a redefinition of the notion of what beauty is. Their message is that whatever “shape, size or colour [you are]—it’s [about] feeling like the best version of yourself. Authentic. Unique. Real.”
Their 2004 campaign, ‘Real Beauty,’ was one of the first campaigns to transform what ‘beauty’ is. The ad featured six diverse, curvy women laughing and loving themselves.
Over the years, Dove has launched a variety of successful ads. A few of their campaigns, ‘Withered or Wonderful?,’ ‘Grey or Gorgeous?,’ ‘Fit or Fat?,’ and ‘Flawed or Flawless?,’ all gave consumers the option to ‘join the beauty debate’ and decide what beauty means to them.
Many brands have yet to reach the male audience in beauty or have failed in doing so. Dove released the campaign, #RealStrength, for their ‘Dove Men+Care’ line of products and was successful.
The campaign was designed to appeal to a man’s self image of being strong and masculine. In doing so, they also released a 60-second video which showed more of men’s’ emotional side.
The video displayed 14 real-life men reacting to their female partner’s positive pregnancy test in an emotional way— as Dove says, “care makes a man stronger.” The campaign not only appealed to men but also their female counterparts.
In 2013, Dove launched their ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ video which showed women describing their image to a forensic sketch artist. After a woman would describe themselves to the sketch artist, other people describe what that woman looked like to them.
The video showed that women are more beautiful than they might think and later became the most-watched video ad ever.
They have also had a few issues along the way but it is evident that Dove is trying to go above and beyond the definition of beauty to embrace all of their audience.
CoverGirl, another top beauty brand, recently ditched their notorious ‘Easy, Breezy, Beautiful’ slogan, completely changing their brand image. Whilst the old slogan was catchy and recognisable to all, it wasn’t meaningful and their new audiences didn’t relate.
Their new slogan, ‘I Am What I Make Up,’ is a powerful campaign that emphasizes the power of makeup in self-expression.
The campaign features a diverse group of women; singer, Katy Perry, YouTuber and actress, Issa Rae, chef and actress, Ayesha Curry, 70-year-old model, Maye Musk, athlete, Massy Arias and motorcycle racer, Shelina Moreda. The campaign stresses the importance of diversity and self-identity.
CoverGirl released a video of the group of the women training and getting ready backstage to show their own self-expression. The video reached 4.1 billion impressions and 11 million views within days.
Buoyed by the success of the campaign, Coty (owner of CoverGirl as well as other beauty brands), announced that they will partner with Global Citizen and urge employees to take part in ending gender and racial prejudice.
In January 2016, Maybelline changed their iconic slogan, ‘Maybe She’s Born with It, Maybe It’s Maybelline” (implemented in 1991) to “Make It Happen.” Their original slogan, although catchy, didn’t connect with consumers on a deeper level anymore.
Now with their new slogan, their message is strong, direct and empowering to all. Maybelline’s New York Marketing Manager, Sjaan Lawson, said at the time that Maybelline’s new message is all about “inspiring modern women to express themselves… there are no more maybes.”
Now, Maybelline’s ‘brand purpose’ is strictly based on empowering women to express their own self-beauty and follow their dreams. Their aim is to build self-confidence amongst young women.
In 2017, after the “Make It Happen” campaign was released, Maybelline continued their journey to inspire women by partnering with Girls Inc. Canada. Maybelline’s Canada leading makeup artist, Grace Lee, shared her “Make it Happen” journey with 60 young women. After sharing, each of the girls created their own goals and how they will ‘make it happen.’
In 2017, L’Oréal Paris changed their slogan from ‘Because you’re worth it’ to ‘We are all worth it’ in order to add more ‘inclusivity’ and ‘purpose’ to the brand. L’Oréal stated that they wanted to embrace diversity as a brand and speak to everyone, not just a single group.
The new ‘We are all worth it’ campaign aims to support young women and transform self-doubt into self-worth. L’Oréal Paris has also stated that they look to have a ‘bigger purpose than just selling products.’
With the ‘We are all worth it’ campaign, L’Oréal Paris has partnered with The Prince’s Trust (a youth charity helping young people with jobs, education and training), to build confidence training courses. They’re also creating online confidence training courses for those that don’t have access to the in-person workshop.
The workshops are divided into four sessions: confidence, relationships, body language and interview skills, and employ me; all are in order to improve self-esteem amongst young people and give them a stepping stone for a successful future.
M.A.C, a beauty brand which was originally intended for makeup artists, was one of the first beauty brands to be inclusive to all. In 2010, M.A.C created the powerful campaign, ‘All ages, All races, All sexes’ designed to make their makeup attainable for all.
With this, M.A.C has also been dedicated to help raise money for HIV/AIDS organisations. M.A.C AIDS Fund’s mission is to “serve people of ‘All Ages, All Races, All Genders’ affected by HIV and AIDS. Today, M.A.C has raised over $400 million for the fight against HIV/AIDS from the sale of VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass donations.
M.A.C’s ‘All ages, All races, All sexes’s campaign has multiple messages. One being that ‘All’ can use their makeup products and the other, helping ‘All’ that are currently struggling from HIV/AIDS.
Beauty brands such as Dove, CoverGirl, Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris and M.A.C have completely transformed their marketing to include a brand purpose. In the past, each of the brands had catchy and recognisable slogans but as society has changed so have they. Time will tell to see whether they have created a recognisable and memorable purpose in consumer’s eyes.
Each brand has now made a promise to its consumer through its ‘brand purpose’ messaging. The challenge for these brands and the beauty industry as a whole is to make sure these new ‘promises’ influence every aspect of their direction as a brand, rather than being another ‘bolt-on’ gimmick that doesn’t speak to anyone.
We’re keen to find out what your brand is doing to speak directly to its consumers to drive engagement? Let us know.