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Cosmetic Industry Takes PR to the Next Level

Posted At: April 21, 2010 1:53 PM
by Haley Barr

Living in a beauty-driven society, it’s no secret the cosmetic industry is constantly introducing new and innovative products to improve the appearance of women across the globe. Like other businesses and organizations, it is essential for cosmetic companies to utilize PR to build and maintain relationships with consumers.

Even though the overall definition of PR stays the same, the tactics differ for the cosmetic industry. Cosmetic companies take building relationships to the next level by connecting with customers on a more personal level.

Employee passion unites customers
Bare Escentuals is a cosmetic line with products meant to make a positive impact on women’s lives through fun and versatile products that are healthy for the skin, said Nada Antoun, Bare Escentuals public relations manager.

PR is a necessity for BE because new and innovative products are constantly brought to the table, said Antoun. Therefore, brand awareness and exposure are required. In Antoun’s personal experience, she has found that the success of a PR department is defined by the company, rather than the industry; and with support from the executive team, the opportunities are endless.

The BE team uses guerrilla and experimental marketing to reach its target audience. “This generally includes sampling, street-team events, the occasional billboard and a strong, targeted online marketing strategy,” said Antoun. “As of late, campaign messaging has been cheeky and thought-provoking, which is always fun. Also, we love to provide experiences for the customer, which often include make-unders and the opportunity to visit with Leslie Blodgett, our fearless leader.”

Although the marketing tactics are a huge part of the brand’s success, the team truly aims to connect with its customers. According to Antoun, the BE brand is unique because the employees are passionate about the products, and they have personal stories to tell about how the products have changed lives. By creating close relationships, the employees can relate and connect with customers on a personal level.

The team uses Facebook to communicate with its fan base, e-mail to communicate with its customers and is always accessible in the office, said Antoun.

The relationship that customers have developed with CEO Leslie Blodgett is a huge part of the brand’s success.

“She’s been an integral part of the company for over 15 years and has binders upon binders of letters she’s received from customers sharing their experiences with the brand,” said Antoun. “Leslie often calls on customers for advice with regard to new product innovation or ideas for charitable events and programs. They are her extended family in more ways than one.”

It is clear that Bare Escentuals is more than a cosmetic line. The customers trust the BE brand because of the relationships that have been established.

Eco-friendly packaging creates bond
As the leader in earth-engineered beauty, tarte offers the widest selection of healthy cosmetics. The company’s mission is to prove that glamour can be good for you through the use of high-performance naturals. The brand also uses eco-friendly packaging, sustainable resources, charitable partnerships and customer recycling initiatives to help reduce environmental waste, said Kristin Pehush, tarte public relations assistant.

PR is a necessity for tarte because it is the voice of the company. “For instance, a beauty brand would want members of the media to actually try the product being pitched,” said Pehush. “That company would provide the media with press samples for review in magazines, Web sites, YouTube videos, etc.”

In order to reach its target audience, the tarte team develops customized PR plans for the media, celebrity makeup artists and other influencers. Through product launch releases and personalized pitches, the company offers the media a story about the tarte brand.

The company maintains relationships with its customers through its Twitter account, Facebook page, YouTube channel, blog and vlog.

“It’s important that we keep the lines of communication open,” said Pehush. “We value our relationships with our consumers — they make us aware of issues and provide us with valuable feedback.”

With a brand that is good for the skin and environment, it’s no surprise that tarte is successful in maintaining relationships with its consumers.

Social media generates relationships and low prices
A cosmetic company with a different approach is e.l.f. cosmetics, eyes lips face. According to an interview between Brandweek and Ted Rubin, e.l.f. chief marketing officer, the cosmetic company does zero traditional advertising and uses social media instead. The PR tool has allowed e.l.f. to sell its products for as low as $1.

“It’s more than a philosophy, it’s part of our business model and part of what allows us to sell products at the prices we do,” said Rubin in the Brandweek interview. “So it’s not just a philosophy and the reason I point that out is I work with a lot of bloggers, and as bloggers are getting more sophisticated and are earning money from certain brands, they come to me for sponsorships and things and I can legitimately tell them that I can’t do it. It’s not that we don’t want to do it or we don’t want to spend the money there, it’s just not the way we operate.”

The company is able to maintain relationships with customers through Facebook and Twitter; and it uses e-mail to offer special incentives and to announce new products.

In order for the cosmetic industry to create brand awareness for new products and establish relationships with customers, certain PR tactics are a must. Sustaining personal relationships appears to instill trust within customers and, in turn, create brand loyalty.

As long as cosmetic companies maintain relationships with customers, does it really matter how it’s accomplished?

Photo by Caroline Beard

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