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Since the onset of the pandemic, the course of economies worldwide, along with businesses of all industries and individual livelihoods, took a very sharp and unexpected turn that most were not prepared for, but were left with no choice but to shoulder.
The beauty industry, which was normally considered future-proofed, was hit in its own unique way. Lockdowns, phased reopenings and regulations on social distancing have all caused foot traffic to come to a screeching halt. In turn, brands were forced to get creative or risk losing everything.
Beauty businesses of all sizes ended up making drastic changes to their sales and marketing plans in order to weather the storm and ultimately survive. I spoke with some founders behind beauty brands to gain deeper insights on how they chose to pivot during the pandemic and was surprised to learn that all their approaches were far more than just a quick fix for these testing times. The pivots made way for a “new normal” within the beauty space and sparked a shift in perspective as well.
Increased focus on online communities
What must brands do when their customers can’t physically get to them: digitally reach the customers at scale. Bonus points if the brand is able to radiate positive sentiments.
“Right away, we realized that the value of at-home care and little luxuries was going to go up, so we began showing our customers how our products can help them still create enjoyment despite a trying situation,” says Julie Longyear, founder of Blissoma, a holistic and botanical skincare brand.
Longyear adds that while most of us cannot change the big things going on in the world, we can at least manage our day-to-day lives. A great skincare routine is one of those constants that can dramatically improve our sense of normalcy, grounding and nourishment.
Multiple approaches across multiple touchpoints
If you continue doing what you have always done, you’ll continue getting what you have always gotten. The marketing tactics of yesteryear can no longer be applied the same way. All efforts must be elevated, especially for brands that are launching in the post-pandemic world.
“For us, 2020 was our launch year,” explains Lela Kelly, founder of Volto Urbano, a climate-defense skincare brand. Her efforts were eclipsed by the growing pandemic, and by March, they were completely dead in the water. Seeing that traditional launch channels were closed in a completely unique business-disruption environment, she and her team explored alternatives to penetrate people’s minds, including philanthropy, multiple advertising approaches and original content creation. But, she says, “Despite our best efforts, we were not making a dent. All through the process, we have continued to refine what resonates with our existing and soon-to be customers.”
She then decided to bring on new talents, both internally and externally, to help get the visibility Volto needed. “Over the last 60 days, we’ve made headway through a new PR firm, hiring our own in-house advertising and email-marketing staff,” Kelly reports. “We’ve brought almost all marketing in-house, bringing on recent college grads who just need a shot to prove themselves. Their influx of energy and fresh perspective has vastly improved our social media presence and sharpened our messaging.”
Temporary service pivots for the current landscape
Sometimes, the best move a company can make is by pivoting to an entirely different service, even if temporarily, to cater to the most current landscape. This was seen as clothing manufacturers began making face masks, and when hotels started housing Covid-19 patients and the homeless during the pandemic.
“When the pandemic started, hand sanitizers were impossible to find,” recalls Jasmin El Kordi, CEO of Bluelene, an anti-aging skincare brand. “We quickly created a moisturizing hand sanitizer and sent it to our customers with each product order. We intended to simply help, but ended up making it a permanent part of our product line.”
Kordi also leveraged her brand’s scientific strength to bring new digital content to many Covid-centric topics relating to skin health, and received greater visibility as a result. “We had intended to enter brick and mortar retail and spas in 2020, but quickly reassigned our marketing budget to new online channels and digital advertising,” she notes. “This approach has been successful to grow our direct-to-consumer business 100% during a difficult time.”
As we enter 2021, these survival pivots just may have created new innovation in how customers are served, how marketing channels are utilized and how digital approaches play an important role in the overall experience. The beauty industry has forever been changed, and in many ways, has ultimately changed for the better.