How Generative AI Will Change the Beauty Industry

- 7 minute read

The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) in the beauty industry is nothing new. Deepfake technology has been instrumental in developing entirely new kinds of influencers in the industry, and AI itself has impacted more than just beauty alone. However, within the past 18 months, AI has proliferated thanks largely to the launch of OpenAI’s latest large language model, ChatGPT.

Mostly impactful through its ability to write, reason and converse with users, ChatGPT has been improving all of our workflows, with there being a common fear among us all: job security. Whether these fears are valid or not remains to be seen; after all, it’s still early days for this tech.

Having said this, AI, specifically generative AI, has been crucial to beauty marketers in a variety of ways. In this piece, we’ll explore all the ways in which we see generative AI improving the beauty industry.

What is Generative AI?

Firstly, it’s worth exploring the main subject associated with this article: generative AI. For those that don’t know, AI isn’t just a one-track discipline. There are various different kinds of AI technology in the works, all of which are capable of very specific tasks. The more specific a goal, the more advanced the outputs can be.

The gaming industry, for example, has started moving further away from raw processing power in favour of enhanced, AI-powered upscaling technology. This technology reduces the need for continual advancements in hardware, instead preferring the use of upscaling algorithms to produce ever stronger results.

Generative AI is named so due to its ability to generate responses and outputs from prompts given to it. ChatGPT is a text-based generative AI that focuses on giving back written responses in the form of text, whereas DALL-E focuses on providing visual responses in the form of images.

Applications of AI in Beauty

Fashion Concepts

The beauty industry is overwhelmingly visual. Makeup looks, hairstyles, clothing designs, all of it requires a strong aesthetic to resonate with buyers. Given how impactful these things are, it’s understandable why they take so much time to create.

Just like how an author sometimes gets met with writer’s block, designers often struggle to innovate on their latest best-selling products but thankfully, AI can help. AI art generators make use of large datasets of existing art in order to help users create something new.

With tools like DALL-E 2.0, Playground AI and Bluewillow, artists like Str4ngeThing have created convincing-looking beauty product imagery, all without touching a single piece of fabric.

Because using AI for aesthetics and concepts involves existing creative datasets, this kind of visual production is one of the most contentious elements of this new technology.  

A keen design eye is still essential to ratify the outputs of the AI, most importantly to ensure that the imagery complements your brand, but also to ensure that it’s not too similar to existing designs and prototypes.

Creating Product Imagery in Bulk

But, as this tweet shows, AI can be used to generate complementary product imagery at bulk. This example uses a handbag, but beauty products could be just as applicable.

Where beauty brands need to eschew AI and stay ‘real’ is in how the effects of products are communicated. After all, every consumer wants to know what comes after using a beauty product, and the advent of AI means that people will be more suspicious about whether they can really trust what they see on the screen.

Think: how can users be sure that they can trust the effects of your products?

Writing Product Descriptions

Between the release of GPT 3.5 and GPT 4, various improvements were made to its text writing capabilities. Aside from being able to score in the top 10% percent of all American bar exam-takers, GPT 4 is truly one of the most advanced, AI-powered text generation technologies available on the market.

For beauty brands, especially those operating in the world of ecommerce, this tech is extremely helpful when it comes to the more laborious tasks of selling such great products; writing product descriptions. After spending hours making sure a product is packaged well, tested appropriately, and functioning as intended, now comes the time to advertise it as such on your website.

This process can take a lot of time, especially when you have thousands of products being sold at any one time. Whether you use it for a head start, or simply make minor tweaks here and there, the text generation features of ChatGPT make it an essential companion for writing on-site page copy.

When you consider that writing a single page can take hours of carefully curated word choices, the ability for AI to give a workable draft in a matter of seconds is nothing to sneeze at – just make sure you follow the usual SEO best practice for the rest of your page.

Read more: SEO for e-commerce product pages – The Do’s and Don’ts

On-Page Chatbots

At present, the most accessible way of interacting with AI is in the form of chatbots. From Google’s Bard to Microsoft’s in-search ChatGPT companion, the industry seems to have settled into a conversational mode of communication.

This is sure to level up the game of on-site, customer service chatbots like those used by  Sephora and Estée Lauder. Brands can train up these chatbots to be their own personal super users, giving them every ounce of knowledge across all products they sell.

Or, they can be used as part of promotional campaigns like with L’Oréal’s Facebook messenger chatbot that helped users whittle down their preferences on perfumes, based on characteristics entered into the conversation.

Campaign Planning

One potential downside to the proliferation of AI across beauty marketing is exactly that: proliferation. Tools like this are accessible to everyone, meaning that the demand for more eye-catching, engaging material is sure to rise from this point on.

This will demand out-of-the-box thinking from the individuals responsible for developing marketing material, be it for always-on marketing activity or dedicated to attention-grabbing campaigns. Thankfully, AI can help with these campaigns, acting as a non-biased soundboard for your ideas, and even generating ideas of its own to be used to capture audience attention. Generative, text-based AI is great at talking through campaign briefs, helping set aside timelines for deliverable material, and even helping brief creative teams on the resources needed each step along the way. You can even try this for yourself, by asking your chat bot of choice something like this:

Prompt: You are an expert marketing campaign planner. You will reply only with unique, creative marketing campaign themes that can be used to capture the attention of audiences. The brand name is [BRAND], and the goal of this campaign is to [GOAL].”

When you settle on an idea you like, be sure to research it to make sure no one else has beaten you to the punch.

Marketing Strategy Evaluations

In the case of ChatGPT specifically, the data it has access to expires somewhere around Q4 2021. This means it is unaware of any new brands, products or societal developments that have occurred since this time.

If your brand has been around since this period, though, you’re in luck. At Foundation, we’ve been utilising AI to help us conduct even more detailed strategy evaluations for our clients. Of course, these evaluations require a human touch for them to be workable but if you’re in need of a head start; ChatGPT can absolutely get you there.

Even if your brand came into existence after 2021, you could always supply the chatbot with a description of your business. Just be sure to include things like your brand name, KPIs, competitors, USPs and rough position in the market.

Prompt: I want you to act like a business and marketing analyst/auditor. I want you to perform an analysis of [YOUR BRAND] with the following top 5 competitors, [COMPETITOR 1], [COMPETITOR 2], [COMPETITOR 3], [COMPETITOR 4] and [COMPETITOR 5]. I need you to assess the differences and similarities between [YOUR BRAND] and [COMPETITOR 1], [COMPETITOR 2], [COMPETITOR 3], [COMPETITOR 4], [COMPETITOR 5]. I need you to focus on pricing, market positioning, branding, and messaging, Research the relevant market and analyse each brand to identify key differences and similarities. Present all the information in detailed reports that includes charts, graphs, and tables. Based on all the information let me know how [YOUR BRAND] can improve and actionable steps we can take to make [YOUR BRAND] be better than [COMPETITOR 1], [COMPETITOR 2], [COMPETITOR 3], [COMPETITOR 4] and [COMPETITOR 5].

Is AI In Your Workflow?

With its ability to write, produce imagery and develop detailed analysis, AI clearly has some strong applications for the beauty industry. As with all new things, though, it’s usually the brands that are last to react that will get left behind. Don’t let that be you.

As beauty marketing experts, we’re always looking towards the next big thing in the industry. Contact us today and let’s chat about how we can help you step up your marketing strategy with enhanced insights and knowledge.

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