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Potential of social media to be explored at Sustainable Cosmetics Summit

By Katie Nichol , 01-Feb-2010

The use of social media to communicate brand values and encourage sustainability will be one of the topics explored at this year’s Sustainable Cosmetics Summit hosted by Organic Monitor in New York.

John Marshall Roberts, communications strategist and CEO of Worldview Learning will present a paper entitled ‘The Potential of Social Media’, demonstrating through successful case studies and tips how beauty companies can use social media to build their brands.

“The key to effective, inspiring social media is always authenticity - and organic brands have a natural sense of inspiration in that they appeal to the ‘better angels’ of their audience’s natures through the socially and environmentally conscious way in which they are designed and created,” he told CosmeticsDesign.com.

Significance of social media for organic companies

According to Organic Monitor, the potential of social media is of particular significance to natural and organic personal care companies as they sometimes struggle to communicate their brand or product values to consumers.

The company’s research found that word-of-mouth is the most important communication channel for natural and organic brands, with many consumers of such products acting on the advice of friends and family, which could make social media a potentially profitable option.

According to Roberts, such campaigns “can dramatically improve ROI (Return on investment) for marketing dollars if done correctly,” as they “allow brands to generate a global following of loyal customers with relatively low investment.”

However, he emphasized the importance of the need for transparency and honesty, warning that “half truths and ‘greenwashing’ are quickly exposed on today’s social media networks.”

Burts Bees and Sephora are two companies Roberts highlighted as having used social media effectively, yet he believes that the use of social media in the organic cosmetics industry is still underexploited, and that there is tremendous room for growth.

Profile of social media consumer

According to Roberts, the consumer profile for social media campaigns targeting natural and organic cosmetics is primarily that of a LOHAS consumer, someone he describes as embracing a Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability, expressing their values through the purchases they make.

Similarly, a brand that can best attract this type of consumer is one that “authentically cares of what it is doing, and sees its products as a statement of its most deeply held values,” he explained, giving the example of Pangea Organics as a company that resonates in this way with the LOHAS consumer.

The Potential of Social Media is just one of the topics covered in the Ethical Marketing Best-Practices session of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit taking place in New York on March 24-26.

For more information about the summit, please visit the website

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