How can brands stand out in the busy celebrity beauty space?

February 10, 2020
4 min read

A 2019 influx of yet more celebrity beauty brands, hot on the trail of success stories such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, is reflective of a celebrity-obsessed culture. But do these innovations from the famous really appeal to the discerning beauty consumer?

More celebrities are joining the crowd in 2020; Selena Gomez recently announced the introduction of her Rare Beauty ‘lifestyle’ beauty brand, available in Sephora this summer – after dipping her toes in the beauty market in 2011 with a signature scent. But what can these brands do to stand out in such a busy celebrity beauty space? Mintel suggests the following:

Tap into ‘clean beauty’ and sustainable trends

To maintain appeal and brand longevity, it’s no longer enough for celebrity beauty brand owners to simply act as the ‘face’ of their brand. Beauty brands must avoid the challenges faced by the fragrance segment, as research from Mintel found that only a small percentage of UK adults show an interest in celebrity endorsements when buying fragrances. Celebrity brand owners need to ensure they engage with their consumers, highlight their full involvement in the creation of the brand, and appeal to a more educated beauty consumer intrigued by the current themes of ‘clean beauty’, ‘vegan beauty’ and sustainability.

Despite confusion and ambiguity, ‘clean beauty’ concepts are trending: in the US, over a third  of buyers of clean, natural or organic personal care products are willing to pay more for ‘clean’ products. Victoria Beckham Beauty, a high-end makeup and skincare brand from the A-list designer and former Spice Girl, brings this message to the forefront. Victoria’s collection uses “only the cleanest ingredients“, post-consumer/recycled materials and minimal plastic. 

The Cell Rejuvenating Priming Moisturizer from Victoria Beckham’s range

Millie Bobby Brown’s beauty and skincare range Florence by Mills is another example of the ‘clean beauty’ movement. Millie Bobby Brown’s version of clean states that it is “saying no to parabens, sulfates, dyes, animal testing and animal by-products and saying yes to vitamins, antioxidants, and botanicals.”

 Built to Lash Mascara from Millie Bobby Brown’s Florence by Mills brand

Tell a personal story 

Celebrity brand owners should aim to connect with their consumers on a personal level by telling a story around their brand inspiration or engaging in charitable activities that consumers can relate to. 

This is another particular route taken by Millie Bobby Brown. Florence by Mills is named after the actress’s great grandmother, Florence, to align with a brand positioning that speaks of “loving and expressing ourselves” – qualities attained by her great grandmother. The brand also supports the Olivia Hope Foundation, which was set up in honour of Millie Bobby Brown’s friend who died of leukaemia, and a feature that will especially appeal to her young target audience. Charitable activities are well received by consumers, as Mintel research shows that over two-fifths of 16-24 year olds in the UK consider whether or not companies/brands make charitable donations before making purchasing decisions in the beauty and personal care sector.

Be authentic 

Brands can evoke consumers’ trust and avoid media backlash by being true and authentic. This is particularly important for celebrity brands, as over half of adults in the UK believe that they cannot trust celebrity endorsements for beauty products via social media.

Haus Laboratories, the first makeup line from Lady Gaga, spreads messages of self-love, kindness and empowerment in particular. Indeed, the A-lister was among the first major cosmetic brands to launch exclusively on Amazon, rather than in speciality beauty retailers, in order to be disruptive and be true to her vision. The artist mentioned in a media interview how Amazon was committed to allowing complete creative control over her brand and its concept – an aspect that was non-negotiable for the superstar. 

Liquid Eye-lie-ner from Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories range

Be quick to respond to social media criticism 

Celebrity brands need to be quick to respond to social media criticism, and learn from any mistakes and mishaps. For example, Millie Bobby Brown was quick to mitigate a full-blown social media backlash when the teen was caught ‘fake-using’ her skincare products on a tutorial video. 

Finally, to limit any negative perception, celebrity brand owners need to show strong engagement in values such as sustainability, inclusivity or transparency, and evolve into trusted beauty influencers, brand owners and creative directors.

Rosalia Di Gesu
Rosalia Di Gesu

Rosalia Di Gesu is a Senior Innovation Analyst. She focuses on delivering cross-category insight and commentary on innovative new product launches and trends.

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