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"Cosmetic brands are utilising social media, but few have an effective strategy," says expert

By Michelle Yeomans , 29-Nov-2012

According to Harriet Kingaby, sustainability strategist at Ogilvy Earth, despite many cosmetic brands utilising social media to better connect consumers to their brand - particularly in view of their sustainability efforts, few have an effective strategy.

Here, the expert who works alongside companies to master engagement and brand identity through sustainability tells CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com that although there is considerable hype about social media channels, cosmetic companies need to realise that you can’t hard sell – it’s not a sales channel but rather one for building advocacy.

#Beautyandsocialmedia

Kingaby tells this publication that research into the area found a vast 90 per cent of adults to use social media sites and that in terms of beauty -79 per cent of online shoppers spend 50 per cent of their time researching products, and that the average budget spent on blogs and social media to have almost tripled in the last three years.

"FB fans are known to be 79 per cent more likely to buy your product then those who aren’t, and cosmetic companies can help green seem normal in a clever and fun way by using social media to close the green gap," she explains.

These findings Kingaby says, indicates that people are essentially allowing their FB or Twitter communities into their personal lives, that they are influenced by the view or opinion of those friends/communities and that people want to project their best selves, creating their own personal brand - if you will.

"By asking someone to 'like' your page or be part of your community – you’re actually asking them to be part of you personal space, so your product will need them to look clever and interesting and with personality to their friends," she adds.

@3problems to overcome

The specialist goes on to note that she feels cosmetics and beauty is all about embellishment, joy and pleasure - that the industry is a perfect fit for social media, and particularly highlights MAC's efforts to link desirability and SM with its' 'VIVA Lady GAGA' campaign.

There is great potential for storytelling, and brands making efforts to build communities and connect on a personal level with SM users like MAC or the Body Shop are doing well in the area.”

However, Kingaby adds that there still is much room for improvement and that in order to make a difference, cosmetic companies need to overcome three problems - transparency, ethics and convincing users that 'green' is for them.

"I think that the industry can help show people how their small actions can help to create a big difference through building communities and creating a new norm in those communites – that they are normal for caring about this sort of stuff."

Secondly, she says that brands will need to be really honest; "which is at the root of some of the fear from this industry – you have to be honest about what’s in your products and consumer concern – it's a two way conversation"

And finally, the sustainability strategist says that there is also real scope for cosmetic companies to lead consumers; "Henry Ford once said - if you asked them what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse – consumers often don’t know what they want – and they are still confused by what’s out there," she concluded.

Harriet delivered a presentation on this matter at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in Paris last week.

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