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The Dos and Don’ts of Digital PR: Beauty and Wellness Edition

Building links to your website is hard. When you’re up against thousands of other brands telling all sorts of interesting stories to the press, the competition gets incredibly fierce and, from time to time, mistakes can happen.

Having worked with beauty and wellness brands for several years, getting them featured in mainstream and market-specific press outlets, we’ve learned a lot. We have great relationships with journalists and editors, and know exactly what they expect to be able to carry a good story.

From that experience, we’ve pulled together a few of the fundamentals of digital PR in modern times, collating them into this do’s and don’ts list. Throughout, we’ll cover things like link quantity vs quality, considering the relevance of one story against another, and how often you should clean your media lists.

Don’t: Rely Solely on Seasonality

Seasonality is one of the biggest recurring trends in digital PR. Some brands can’t help but rely on seasonality for their semi-annual boost of exposure, while others happily carry on throughout the year and jump on whichever stories they’d like.

While seasonality does have a lot of power when it comes to building intrigue around your brand and its offering, it should never be solely relied on. Relying on seasonality places too much dependency on external factors that, realistically, nobody can control.

Imagine waiting all year for that one window of opportunity just for someone else to snap up all the exposure you were hoping for – we’ve seen it happen, and it’s heartbreaking.

Do: Prepare Evergreen Campaigns

So, how do you ditch this reliance on seasonal content?

The only real answer to this is to start thinking outside the box and considering stories that are relevant all year round. Now, they don’t have to be relevant every single day of the year, but just enough so that the story can rise and fall in interest at multiple times, allowing you to re-push to journalists as and when necessary.

These campaigns are called evergreen campaigns, and they’re named so due to their ability to always fit in somewhere in the news cycle.

Don’t: Relaunch Old News

Now, just because you’ve crafted and perfected a story that you believe to be evergreen, doesn’t necessarily mean that every journalist agrees with you.

The news is an unforgiving, always moving beast that picks up and drops stories one day to the next. If you’re pushing out news that is outdated, journalists won’t hesitate to not only blank you, but potentially even remove you from their inbox.

Do: Innovate on Past Stories

While journalists do have a lot of stories in their inbox, there is always justification around why some get picked up over others. Sometimes, the news cycle moves in a way that means your story isn’t relevant, and sometimes it’s your email that doesn’t quite hit the mark (we’ve all been there!).

So, when you do re-push a campaign a short time after it has gone out, try and think about what makes things different this time around. This can be as simple as tweaking your subject line to be a bit more impactful, or involve adding different dimensions to your data to create new, alternative angles that are relevant for different press outlets.

While these approaches do add time on to your plan, they are far more preferable compared to not acquiring any exposure at all, while pushing out a story that you know isn’t going to work.

Don’t: Focus on Link Quantity

We at Foundation are firm believers that the quality of your links matters significantly more than the quantity.

The reason is simple; the better the quality of the outlet linking to your website, the higher the link equity that is passed on. Having numerous low quality links indicates alarm bells of an outdated SEO link building tactic referred to as link farming.

Search engines are well aware of this old tactic, and are wise enough to not grant any behind-the-scenes benefits to your website’s authority if it is enacted.

Do: Create Goals and KPIs

Given that digital PR relies a lot on factors that aren’t directly controllable, it can feel like an overwhelming task to start.

Things are made even more stressful without any objectives. So, before you even think about your first exciting campaign idea, we’d implore you to consider what you’re looking to achieve with digital PR in the first place.

While in this stage, do your best to be as specific as possible. For example, try and set a minimum link quota in regular intervals. If you’re just starting out with a new brand and almost no recognition, make sure to set realistic, achievable expectations – the first few links are always the hardest to get.

Don’t: Approach Every Journalist You See

Journalists receive a lot of emails.

Sometimes in the thousands, there’s a lot of stories and pitches to sift through on a daily basis. This means that journalists must develop a keen eye for spotting those hidden gems, and sorting out all of the noise.

It is therefore advised to not reach out to every single journalist available to you. The reasons for this are twofold: one, it’ll prevent you from spamming contacts that may come in useful in the future, and two: you’ll likely avoid the dreaded email suspension system of whichever email provider you use.

Gmail, for example, allows up to 2,000 emails to be sent with a workspace account, while Outlook allows up to 5,000. Those may sound like a lot, but if you’re representing multiple clients, running multiple stories, and also emailing your team internally, you may encounter such limits sooner than you think.

One clever way of circumventing these email limits of course is to utilise a secondary email address that’s tied to yourself. If you do decide to do this, just ensure that the subsequent domain name is still relevant to your brand, to avoid any potential confusion on the journalist’s end. For example, if your website domain (and primary email address) ends in .co.uk, consider buying up the .com variant just in case you encounter any blocks.

Do: Regularly Audit Your Outreach List

We understand the temptation to simply categorise journalists on-mass, and appreciate that, sometimes, this is your only option. But, if you do have the ability to vet your media list on a more granular level, you’ll save time in pitching, and potentially avoid a lot of people’s junk folders.

When building your media list, we advise that you inspect each journalist individually to see if your story would be a good fit for them. While time consuming, this often yields higher success rates on cold pitches, which in turn saves even more time in the future.

Be sure to look at things like their publication history, interests and passions, and maybe even consider following them on social media to learn more about them and what they need from you. Sometimes, journalists will advertise the types of stories they’re looking for on an X thread, so it’s definitely worth your time.

Don’t: Jump On Every Story You See

Relevance is an omni-present phrase in digital marketing. Trying to rank well in search engines? Optimise your site for relevant keywords. Looking to build an audience on social media? Create content that is relevant to your audience’s interests. The same goes for digital PR.

Newsjacking is a common approach to reactive digital PR. It involves utilising already trending stories to create new angles and develop links between your brand and the current news cycle.

Of course, not all news is relevant to your brand. So, before you pull the trigger on your next round of newsjacking, consider how relevant everything is to your brand’s offering. Not only do journalists sometimes question these things when pitching stories to their editors, but the readers of such stories will definitely critique any nonsensical links between brands and news.

Sacrificing your brand’s integrity for a link is never worth the damage.

Do: Consider Your Brand’s Contributions

When you are being reactive to a news story, be sure to consider the originality of your contribution, and what your brand brings to the table.

Do you have any internal data that can be used to support an argument or help the story progress? Perhaps there’s a spokesperson for your brand that can provide unique commentary that others may not have thought of yet.

Remember, there’s a lot of noise in digital PR. Journalists do their best to tune out of it, and readers are quick to call it out in the comments.

Do: Contact Foundation for Help

Foundation’s PR team has years of experience navigating the ins and outs of digital PR. Every day, we secure high-quality, highly relevant links to our clients that help put them in the spotlight while also passing on link equity.

Due to changes in search algorithms, specifically around how authority is conveyed from one site to the next, a strong digital PR strategy matters now more than ever before. 

Get in touch for a 30 minute consultancy call with one of our strategy experts at Foundation. We’ll have a chat through your current approach to digital PR, and discuss some of the ways we can help.

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How AI is Changing PPC for Beauty and Wellness Brands

AI (artificial intelligence) is often touted as being the next step in technological progression.

First, we had the internet. Then, came the proliferation of mobile communications and smartphones, and now, we have AI.

Whether you’re an AI lover or hater, it’s hard to argue against the fact that this progression is on course to continue for a very long time. It’s here to make lives easier, and more productive.

This applies to almost every function of digital marketing. Strategisation, content creation, ideation; all of it can be made better with AI, including PPC.

In recent weeks, Google has been rolling out a litany of new AI tools for PPC teams to play with. In this article, we’ll take a look at how those tools (and others) are changing the game for PPC in the beauty and wellness industry.

Machine Learning: Performance Max & Smart Bidding

Performance Max

When Google introduced Performance Max as a goal-based type of campaign in November 2021, it came promising a lot of improvements to your usual PPC activity.

Enhanced with machine learning, Performance Max firstly asks for a few main things prior to launching a campaign: goals, actions, and values. Your goals are set up in predefined categories chosen by Google, actions are the outcomes defined to achieve said goals, and values are used to make slight adjustments to different types of conversions, which are broken down by things like geographic location, demographics, device usage, etc.

For example, if you’re a skincare brand looking to promote a sale on an existing product, your campaign would set an objective of ‘Sales’, with your actions revolving around product page visits, and potentially “Add to Basket” clicks. For your values, you could instruct Performance Max to prioritise basket additions over landing page visits. Doing this will result in some slightly different bidding strategies and creatives being displayed to users.

Smart Bidding

Speaking of bidding strategies, Google is helping brands take the guesswork out of their PPC marketing with something called smart bidding.

Smart bidding is essentially an automated bidding approach for paid advertising that relies on Google’s in-house AI technology to automatically place new bids and adjust existing ones for your desired keywords. It monitors multiple metrics, including user behaviour, historical data, the time of day, the devices used by that user, and the current season.

For example, if you’re competing for a highly competitive keyword like “best lipstick in uk” for example which, at the time of writing, has a CPC rate of around 57p, smart bidding can be a real game-changer.

In terms of how that looks with the aforementioned metrics:

  • User Behaviour: Smart bidding analyses user data, like device, location, and browser, to predict which clicks are more likely to result in valuable actions, such as a purchase of that lipstick.
  • Historical Data: Smart biding considers your account’s historical performance data, identifying patterns and trends that can guide bidding decisions.
  • Time of Day: Adjustments are based on the time of day when conversions are more likely to happen. For a beauty and wellness, this could mean increasing bids during peak shopping hours as identified via your conversion tracking.
  • Cross-Device Performance: Recognising that users often switch between devices, smart bidding optimises bids to capture the full customer journey.
  • Seasonality: Smart bidding accounts for seasonality and trends, so if “best red lipstick uk” is trending during the holiday season, it can adjust bids accordingly.

Strategy: Higher Competition

While AI does undoubtedly bring its benefits, it’s worth remembering that these benefits aren’t just available to you. If you’re using AI, it’s likely that your competitors are too. Large language models (LLMs) can be instructed to critique or even write ad copy with keywords in mind, which leads to more advertisements, and higher CPC rates.

This means that it’s not necessarily a case of just using it; to really get ahead, you’ll have to use it better. Of course, better is quite a subjective term, but not if you think about the productivity enhancements.

Being able to write higher quality copy in less time frees up more mental space that can be used to focus on budgets, bidding strategies, and keyword targeting. These attributes are crucial to putting together a high quality campaign that knocks your competitors out of view, placing your beauty and wellness brand front and centre.

Text Generation: Dynamically Adjusted Ad Copy

Generating ad copy is a significant step of the PPC process.

First, the material needs to be written, then ideally it should be proofed by another team member, and then it needs to be approved. From steps one to three, brands could be looking at anywhere between one week to one month depending on the size of their organisation.

Historically, such delays have been unavoidable. But, with tools like large language models being used by seemingly every working industry, this process is about to get a whole lot quicker.

We want to make it clear that we do not advise using an LLM to produce every ad you publish. Very often, LLMs will make mistakes that aren’t immediately apparent without strict scrutiny. However, for getting to an initial starting point, AI-written content is a very useful tool.

Asset Creation: Generative Fill

The performance of ad campaigns, especially shopping campaigns, is sometimes heavily dependent on the quality of visual assets.

Bad images can be enough to completely detract from all of the otherwise strong aspects of your ad campaigns, and can sometimes even be down to something as tenuous as a slightly lower resolution.

Whether it’s upscaling old assets, or creating new visuals with them, AI photo editing software plays a vital role in creating quality beauty PPC campaigns. Tools like Adobe Photoshop’s generative fill are great at injecting new elements into existing imagery, or manipulating them in seconds without the need to wait for a graphic designer.

Sure, if you go pixel peeping you will spot some errors. But, as a placeholder image until you’re ready to fully launch the campaign, generative fill will indeed get you there. From adding your products to seasonal images, to improving the quality of your older product shots, generative fill and upscaling techniques are extremely useful in the beauty world.

Need Help Unlocking AI’s Full Potential?

It’s great to marvel at the promising developments AI has taken over the years. But, it’s another thing entirely to begin harnessing those developments into your marketing team.

We at Foundation have been using AI in all sorts of ways to make our team faster and more productive. It’s helped us work faster, freeing up precious time for creativity and out of box thinking.

Want to get your internal marketing team clued up on AI? Contact the Foundation team to and set up a 30 minute consultancy call with our beauty marketing and AI experts.

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Digital PR: A Guide for Beauty Brands

The beauty industry is ever-changing and is doing so at a rapid rate. For that reason, digital PR never stops being a necessity. In fact, PR is arguably more important than ever to help your brand stay relevant and keep landing those links which drive SEO visibility.

What you consider a successful number of links could vary wildly from business to business, but there are some fundamental tactics that are universal within the beauty industry.

So, what are the most important parts of PR, and what does PR mean in makeup, skincare and beauty?

What is Beauty PR?

Simply put, PR for beauty brands means getting your brand, and your products, featured in the publications and websites that your demographic cares about.

There are several different PR tactics in the beauty industry, and different brands will choose to prioritise different kinds. But it principally comes down to whether you’re promoting your brand or your products.  

Venn diagram of ‘Brand’ and ‘Products’. In ‘Brand’ is expert quotes, campaigns, proactive PR, business news. In ‘Products’ is new product pushes, seasonal promos, best buy guides.

Brand PR

This is all about aligning your brand and its values with what’s going on in the world. Brand PR is particularly effective with beauty brands that have a distinctive value proposition or are highly trusted within their niche.

Some, for example, may choose to purely focus on providing expert quotes to journalists (known as reactive PR or newsjacking). You don’t need to create the story yourself, as it’s already being written by a journalist. Instead, you only need to respond to it and align your brand with whatever story is being written.

Proactive PR, as the name suggests, involves planning your stories far in advance of them needing to go live (usually around key events and seasons). This ensures that when the story gets pushed, it’s happening when the story is most relevant.

Campaigns are a more time-intensive form of proactive PR, but they offer a higher upside, with the potential to drive many dozens of relevant, high-quality links to your domain. Campaigns typically involve using external or internal data to tell a unique story that can’t be found elsewhere, and have a blog or asset housed on your website that journalists who feature the story can link to.

It’s these links that make brand-focused PR so valuable, as they act as a trust signal to search engines and greatly improve SERP visibility.

Product PR

Product PR, on the other hand, involves getting your products featured in Best Buy guides and spoken about by the people who matter. It’s perfect for brands with quality products that are different to the rest of the market, whether that’s through pricing, quality, ingredients, or anything else that makes people sit up and take notice.

Product PR for beauty brands not only drives relevant links to your domain, but is also a significant driver of conversion-focused referral traffic. Typically, you can expect to get fewer pieces of product PR coverage than brand coverage, but it is more likely to contribute directly to product revenue. 

Those who are searching ‘best foundations’ or ‘best long-lasting lipsticks’, for example, are searching with the intention to buy. So, these links will not only help your product pages rank higher in Google, but those who land on the page may also buy the product directly from the publication recommending it. It’s a win-win!

As publications have become more aware of the commercial power of their recommendations, product PR has become more closely aligned with affiliate schemes. If you haven’t already, it’s worth considering setting up an affiliate program to incentivise more publications to feature your products.

So, how else can beauty brands succeed in digital PR? Let’s explore:

Building Your Media List

Birds-eye view of a woman typing on a laptop.

To get started in digital PR for beauty brands, you need to know how to contact journalists that will publish or share your content. There are multiple ways that you can go about this creating this list, including several handy tools.

Journalist Databases

Knowing how to reach out to journalists is one of the first steps in digital PR. Journalist Databases, such as Muck Rack, grant you access to a database of international journalists. You can search for a relevant topic to your story, and these databases will recommend you journalists who specialise in that area.

Some journalists, however, might not pick the industry you enter as their main specialty, so be sure to do your own research as well, or try multiple topics. You should also search for similar stories in Google to see who’s covering them and make sure you’re not missing anyone obvious in your list.

Email Software

Once you’ve curated your list and sent out a press release, email software like BuzzStream can show you who has opened the email. With this knowledge, you can learn what you need to change for next time to get more engagement. Find out who’s opening it, and who has lost your email among the swathes of others sent their way.

Journalists receive hundreds, even thousands, of pitches each day, so being able to analyse what subject lines and keywords actually work for each journalist is key. Another great thing is that it sends automated follow-ups too, so you can chase a journalist without spending any additional time doing so later in the week. It’s always worth following up with journalists who you think could sell your content well.

As with all content, timing is key for relevancy. If you’re shouting about a topic when the main conversation has already passed, nobody’s going to choose your story. That being said, if it’s an evergreen piece of content, just because somebody didn’t pick it up now doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.

Nailing Your Tone of Voice

Woman in office space putting a sheet up on a busy white board.

For beauty brands, we know brand appearance is everything. When writing your press releases, therefore, you need to make sure you’re accurately representing your brand’s tone of voice. You need to make sure that the ideas you’re presenting are tonally suitable to your brand as well as the copy itself. You could put together or ask for a messaging deck to make sure you’re creating the exact same persona every time.

When it comes to sending out your press releases, you need to be engaging to journalists while still staying true to your brand’s tone of voice. The best way to get that engagement is to make your title, or email subject, something engaging that will make them want to read on. Think: How will you stand out against the hundreds of other emails they receive?

Keeping Up With Trends

Woman in her house, working on a laptop.

Perhaps the most important part of how to pitch to an editor is keeping yourself up to date on conversations happening within the beauty industry. When you brainstorm ideas, look at Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Vogue, and other popular beauty blogs and magazines to make sure your story hasn’t already been covered.

Equally important, though, is to make sure the conversation around your story is current.

For example, there’s no point in posting a Valentines-based story at the start of July, or talking about the festival season in January. Keeping on top of relevant stories with constant research will help you ideate content that will get traction from journalists.

If you’re late to a trend, some journalists will assume this is always going to be the case, and might not consider you for press releases in the future. It’s a competitive industry, and this is how a lot of journalists weed out the content they can cast aside. A journalist-PR relationship should be completely mutual. You want someone to come to you just as much as you’re going to them.

How is Beauty PR Different to Other Kinds of PR?

Beauty PR has a leg up on other industries because of one key feature: samples. When it comes to pitching products, you can use free samples to show journalists and content creators how great your products are, and without the high product costs that other industries face.

Another benefit of this is that you can vouch for a product personally better than you can for an experience. For example, mentioning that you love a particular shade of a blush or lip product engages the personal side during a pitch, which is perfect for building relationships and conveying product benefits.

How to Win with Beauty PR

At Foundation, we specialise in digital marketing within the beauty industry, so our beauty digital PR specialists can help you get the links and coverage you want to achieve.

We can help you with reactive opportunities, product placements, and PR campaigns to drive SEO visibility, spread the word about your brand and get involved in relevant online conversations. Get in touch to find out more.

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How to Build, Maintain and Grow a Social Media Community for Your Beauty Brand

Given the nature of beauty as a collaborative, community-led category of social media, brands that cultivate their own communities often see high levels of post engagement – and for good reason.

Community marketing gives a human touch to your brand, allowing the brand name to participate in conversations as a peer to its customers. Not only that, but improving the relationship between brand and existing audience has been found to drastically improve conversion rates. For example, Superdrug saw conversions increase by as much as 60% from users who engaged in their community.

So, what is community marketing, how do you get started, and why maintain your social community as a business? Keep reading to find out.

What is Community Marketing?

Image showing the torso of a person in a blue sweatshirt holding a mobile phone.

Community marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating a tightly-knit network of your audience, all while securing your brand at the centre. The nature of the beauty industry lends itself to this type of marketing as it’s generally full of creative, collaborative individuals who want to share their passion and their work.

This creates what feels like a neutral platform for brand and community where they can share their ideas and directly communicate, meaning that the audience can tell the brand what they want, and the brand can respond.

This kind of marketing strategy is great for customer retention, as it creates a sense of belonging among the audience. More cost-effective than finding new customers, focusing your attention on the ones you already have is a great way to keep your brand as their first port of call for their beauty needs.

Types of Community Marketing

There are two types of community marketing: sponsored and organic.

Sponsored Community Marketing

Sponsored communities are created and monitored by the brand itself. These are most often the branded social channels where the brand publishes content, and through which customers can directly reach out to ask questions.

Organic Community Marketing

Organic communities do not have the benefit of brand control. Instead, these communities are created by customers’ organic interactions with one another. These have the potential to be beneficial or detrimental to a brand, depending on the nature of the discussions.

How to Build a Community on Social Media

Knowing Your Audience

Image showing three people sat around a table drinking coffee and using smart phones and laptops to share content with one another.

Creating your community starts with knowing who it’s for. Nail down your brand message, tone of voice, and target audience. Your social community is an opportunity to share a consciousness with your fans, which, when at its strongest, will intrigue new people to check it out.

Research your customer personas and understand how they think and speak – and use tools like SparkToro to find out where they’re hanging out online and who they’re likely to follow.

Not only does this let you understand what it is that your audience wants, but it can also allow your brand to become an active member of the demographic you’re trying to entice by tailoring your content.

Choosing Your Platforms

Image showing a person using a laptop open to a grid-style photo sharing website.

Part of knowing your audience involves knowing where you’ll find them. The kinds of beauty community we’re discussing can be found on all sorts of social platforms, but some lend themselves to it more than others.

For example, platforms like Mastodon and Reddit focus on the use of community groups, categorising users’ posts by topic. R/MakeupAddiction, for example, is many beauty users’ first port of call to get genuine advice from other beauty lovers; a quintessentially organic community.

Again, SparkToro is great for driving learnings about where your audience will be hanging out.

By nature, the beauty community also thrives on picture-based platforms where people can share the before and afters of their skincare routines, the creativity of their latest makeup look, hairstyle inspiration, and more.

This makes the likes of Instagram, TikTok and Lemon8 great for developing the creative side of your beauty brand’s community, where as Reddit and Mastodon can help you embrace the discussion side.

As mentioned above, there are different benefits to each platform as they fall under the category of organic or sponsored community marketing. Embracing both methods can be the best way to fully engage with your social communities.

Maintaining Your Audience

Image showing a woman holding up two sweatshirts, trying to decide between the two.

Being part of your brand’s community needs to be worth the consumer’s time. What are they going to get out of being involved? Whether this is spendable points, discounts, tutorials, or other rewards, there should be something beneficial for the user to entice them in to joining.

Now that you’ve gathered your audience, you need to keep them satisfied by engaging in different types of community marketing. Some of these might include:

  • ‘Ask me anything’ sessions and Q&As
  • Chat channels
  • Competitions and giveaways
  • Sharing resources

Again, you might find that certain tactics lend themselves better to certain platforms, or that this can be a good opportunity to change things up. For example, hosing a Q&A as a one-off Instagram live session can be just as engaging as an ongoing, open question and answer channel.

Whether the community is sponsored or organic, you as the brand need to actively engage with your customer base. Sharing user-generated content to your brand’s page, tagging users, replying to comments or posts you’ve been tagged in – all of these go towards helping your brand become an active member of its own community. Not just an active member: the most active member.

Read more: The Latest Look: Why is User Generated Content So Important?

Case Study: Sephora

Image showing the top of the Sephora Beauty Insider Community website.

One brand that has created a particularly strong social community is Sephora. The Sephora website provides a surplus of longform content giving beauty advice, as well as focusing their strategy on video content. Their 1.37M YouTube subscribers is nothing to sniff at, especially when that isn’t even the only place they share their video content.

Where Sephora stands out, however, is with their website space dedicated to building community. Titled the ‘Beauty Insider Community’, this section of Sephora’s site is broken down into topics like ‘skincare aware’ and ‘haul stars’, where customers can ask and answer relevant questions, share photos, and more. You can even filter by ‘unanswered’ to find our where your advice might be most needed.

This community really hits the best of both worlds when it comes to sponsored and organic. The layout of it feels like an organic community lead by users, rather than the brand; exploring the different pages feels much more like scrolling through a subreddit than the official Sephora site.

However, the fact that it is part of the official Sephora site means that the Sephora team are still able to have an overview of the community’s discussions, get involved themselves, and quickly catch any potentially negative conversation regarding the brand name.

Create Your Community with Foundation

Whether it’s a rewards system, access to events, user-generated inspiration or something else still, it’s important to have a base to your community that will bring everyone together under your brand’s name. At Foundation, we can help you with the best digital strategy for your brand and your social community.

Get in touch with our experts to find out how a partnership with Foundation could improve your business.

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Addressing Appearance Anxiety: How to Market Beauty Healthily

A lot of how consumers perceive beauty comes from how it is marketed.

According to a YouGov study in 2021, 89% of British adults still believe that physical appearance matters in modern society, and 62% believe that the fashion industry is promoting unattainable body image expectations.

A 2022 parliament survey found that 31% of teenagers and 35% of adults feel ashamed or depressed because of their body image, and 61% of women claim to suffer from ‘compare and despair’ syndrome.

Beauty, however, doesn’t have to be thought of as a bar that we need to live up to. Rather, it can instead be an opportunity for routine, self-fulfilment, and a way to tap into our creative sides.

It can be a moment for ‘me time’ at the start of the day. For many, a beauty routine and a full face of makeup can act as a physical layer of confidence when facing the world.

Over recent years, the beauty industry has been shifting away from selling sex appeal and worthy appearances, moving instead towards a focus on self-love and self-confidence. Many brands are also beginning to address the pre-established connotations between self-worth and beauty expectations. For example, Selena Gomez’ brand, Rare Beauty, pledged to raise $100 million for mental health support.

Our white paper about the beauty industry’s changing relationship with inclusivity delves further into how, and why, things are changing. 

But, as a beauty brand, how can you rewire the way you promote beauty healthily in a way that focuses on self-love, rather than encouraging an impossible goal?

Find out below.

Acknowledge History

Shelf of fashion magazines

Although we’ve come a long way in broadening the scope of who gets represented in beauty marketing, there’s still significantly further to go, and this comes from recognising that the young, cisgendered, heterosexual, white and abled person is not the ‘default’ human being in ad campaigns.

Graph depicting how represented Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers feel in advertising

Recognising this, and inciting change, is what makes a brand forward thinking. Don’t just enact the change; acknowledge why it’s needed, too.

We need to acknowledge the damage of the past in order to move forward in our presentation and understanding of beauty. We shouldn’t try to blindly move past the mistakes of history. We instead need to recognise and gently unpick them.

Embrace Inclusivity

Three women laughing

The next step from acknowledging history is to change the way you advertise beauty in response. Having a variety of ages, skin tones, body shapes, and genders represented equally though your brand will remind your customers that ‘beauty’ is not defined by how they look; rather, it’s something that can be felt, with the help of your products.

Using inclusive models and language is a win-win for you and your audience, as customers will flock to a brand in which they see themselves. They’ll then be more receptive to your story and more likely to engage with your brand and products.

Inclusivity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. By having a broader range for your audience to relate to, your audience pool will also be significantly larger as a result. It’s more important than ever that brands acknowledge their social responsibility.

Inclusivity also matters hugely with the content you’re hosting on your website and social channels:

  • Ensure alt text is provided on images
  • Make content easy to understand
  • Ensure buttons have unique and relevant click text
  • Put headings in sequential order so page readers don’t jump between page content
  • Use contrasting colours to help those who are colour blind
  • Generally make user journeys easy to navigate.

Redefine Beauty with Your Language

Woman writing in a notebook

Don’t underestimate the affect your language choices can have on the way that you sell yourself as a brand, and on your audience. With the rise of gender inclusivity, a new awareness of plus-sized fashion, better diversity in models, and more shades of makeup, the world of beauty has become more focused on self-love than seeking to impress.

Rather than phrasing your product as something that will make your customer look beautiful, it’s much more powerful to frame it as something that will make them feel beautiful, or unlock/exaggerate a beauty that they already have.

For many people, ‘beauty’ is now defined by celebrating uniqueness and drawing attention to our differences, rather than conforming to a standardised concept of what’s attractive, as it has done in the past.

Language is a powerful tool for framing beauty as something non-toxic, and something that will help your customers recognise their true self.

Encourage Health with Beauty

If you’re looking for a different angle to take when promoting beauty, ‘health’ and ‘beauty’ are two terms that have often been uttered in the same breath. To lead your brand’s tone of voice away from ‘beauty = attractive’, it could help to instead lean into ‘beauty = healthy’, depending on what it is your brand is all about.

Remember that ‘health’ doesn’t have to be physical, too; encouraging self-defined beauty and connection to the self through a beauty routine can be a huge benefit for mental health, too.

There are, however, strict guidelines laid out by the ASA explaining what beauty and wellness brands can and can’t convey with their messaging. For example, objective claims must be backed by evidence, and marketers mustn’t falsely claim that any product is able to cure ailments it cannot. This is all in place to protect both businesses and consumers. Communicate with your customers correctly about your product and everyone knows what page they’re on.

For more information about how beauty and wellness intersect, check out our white paper on wellness.

Make Sure Your Values All Align

Sustainable beauty products

If you’re encouraging self-love as your message for beauty, you’ll need to make sure that the rest of your brand’s values align with your audience’s, too. A 2022 study found that a staggering 82% of shoppers prefer to buy from brands whose values align with their own. What’s more, three quarters of shoppers surveyed reported they have stopped buying brands that they don’t share values with.

For example, 64% of beauty shoppers state that sustainability is important to them when buying beauty products. In fact, 93% of global consumers claim that the recent pandemic has had an effect on how they view sustainability, with 49% stating they’ve paid more for a product that was branded as more sustainable.

Beauty isn’t about pushing your brand to provide something your customer is lacking. Instead, the focus should be on bettering themselves, bettering their peers, and bettering the planet. Contemporary beauty is all about self-love, and what you can achieve when you’re being the best version of yourself.

Need A Helping Hand?

Need someone to help you fine-tune your brand’s tone of voice? At Foundation, our content experts specialise in beauty. This makes them the best people to go to when it comes to making your brand persona positive, inclusive, and whatever else you need it to be.

Get in touch with us at Foundation today to find out how we could help your brand.

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Navigating Marketing Regulations in the Beauty Industry

The beauty and cosmetics industry is heavily regulated. From the language used to promote products to the actual ingredients themselves, there is a layer of scrutiny that brands are placed under in order to ensure the safety of consumers. This means that brands will often need to carefully manipulate their ways around what they can and can’t say about their products.

The consequences for not adhering to these rules? Heavy. Brands such as L’Oréal and Estée Lauder have been caught out in the past, facing fines as high as £14k, without mentioning any brand implications. Therefore, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be aware of these stipulations, as well as how to manoeuvre around them.

These rules are implanted into every stage of our copywriting process, and we’ve learned a few things along the way. Keep reading to learn more about the regulations that are in place, as well as how to deal with them.

Who Regulates Cosmetics in the UK?

No matter where you are in the world, you must adhere to the rules of the advertising regulator within your region. In the UK, that happens to be the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), while in the EU,  this is handled by the European Parliament, specifically under regulation number 1223/2009.

In the US, cosmetics are regulated by the FDA.

What Cosmetic Advertising Guidelines Are There?

All of these regulators have published guidance around what is and isn’t acceptable when promoting cosmetics, which is where a lot of beauty brands find themselves. The rules are generally straightforward, with a regulator’s priorities falling under the following criteria:

  • Preventing misleading claims
  • Promoting customer safety
  • Reducing offensive material

For the sake of argument, we’re going to focus mainly on the UKs regulatory framework, but the rules tend to be quite similar throughout the globe.

Established by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) in the Advertising Guidance on Cosmetic Interventions document, the regulations can be split into three categories:

Evidence-Based

Referenced at various points, evidence appears to be a recurring theme throughout both general advertising regulations, as well as those that deal with cosmetics and beauty. Simply holding a before and after photo of a treatment isn’t sufficient; brands should be prepared with scientific, quantitative evidence that shows the real efficacy of their products before making any claims.

This also applies to reviews and testimonials, with sufficient backing needed to verify the authenticity of ratings referenced in marketing material. Scientific evidence can take shape in the form of a Summary of Product Characteristics document, or a test result from clinical trials.

Language-Bound

The CAP sometimes refers to words that they have seen used to describe products to provide marketers with a quick list of phrases that are and aren’t acceptable. Words that seek to exaggerate the effectiveness of a product (puffery) are partially allowed, as long as they do not totally mislead the customer.

Examples of generally acceptable language include phrases such as “a new you” or “feel fantastic”, whereas “revolutionary” or “turns back time” is seen as being subjective, and therefore may be rejected.

Accuracy

Whether it’s through the benefits of the product, or its pricing, marketers must ensure that all material they produce is accurate and in-line with customer expectations. This aspect is a little more difficult to quantify, so cases are usually dealt with on an individual basis.

However, provided that your pricing is correct, and any descriptive copy is written accurately, you should be okay.

How to Stay in Line With Beauty Marketing Regulations

While we can’t give specific advice for your situation, there are some tips we can share around how you can best ensure your marketing material is fully compliant with beauty regulations:

Content Review Process

By far the most effective way of ensuring your marketing material is worth posting is by having a content review process. After a draft is made, it should be reviewed by another member of your marketing team, before then being sent for approval further up the business. Remember, while multiple checks can be helpful, there is a tendency for there to be “too many cooks in the kitchen” – at which point, your original material receives so many adjustments that it is unrecognisable from the first draft.

At the very least, we recommend a 3-stage approval process. Once by the author, another by a fellow team member, and then one pass via a legal representative/more executive team member.

Alternative Marketing Activity

For some beauty brands, the risk may be too big to consider pursuing traditional advertising trends. Rather than being paralysed by this, you may wish to take an out-of-the-box approach to your marketing material.

If you can’t run paid advertisements, perhaps a long-term SEO strategy is more effective for you. This could take shape in the form of optimised page copy, blog writing, or technical adjustments to your webpages. All of which has the capability of drawing in more customers, without the risks of other more blatant advertising tactics.

Brand Guidelines Documentation

Let’s face it, not everyone has the time to process mountains of regulatory advice. Not only does this take up precious content creation time, but there can be room for error or misjudgements, particularly by non-legal professionals.

Rather than instructing your marketing team to just review the regulations, a more digestible approach may be to highlight the guidance that is most relevant to your brand throughout your brand guidelines/tone-of-voice documentation. This gives you ample room to explain how your brand communicates, while also leaning on advice given directly from regulatory bodies.

Consult Your Legal Team

This final point is perhaps one of the most obvious pieces of guidance we can give, but there’s no better way to check your marketing material than by running it past your brand’s legal department. Whether in-house, or dealt with on an ad-hoc basis, a legal team can help you make the right adjustments to your marketing material, and potentially help you deal with any repercussions that may unfold.

Struggling to Keep up with Regulations?

We don’t blame you. Amidst your other promotional activity, it can be tricky to find the time to sit down with your content team and drill down which side of the regulations you sit on. Thankfully, we can help.

Foundation has been working with beauty brands both large and small, helping them produce marketing materials that are targeted correctly, well-written, and strategically-driven.

If you need help with launching a new campaign, refreshing existing material, or diagnosing issues with your beauty website, Foundation can help. Contact us and speak to our expert consultants, today.

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