At the start of the global pandemic, the world bared witness to an incredible manufacturing ‘tour de force’ when a USD $500bn industry pivoted almost overnight from producing sophisticated three-in-one beauty formulas, to providing healthcare authorities and frontline workers with hand sanitiser. Lives came first and still do, but now is the time start looking toward what’s next.
While it’s still too soon for us to grasp the full magnitude COVID-19 has had on the economy, it’s fair to say that the virus has shifted focus from the incredible growth the beauty category has witnessed over the past decade. Yet despite this grim outlook, we can start seeing signs that this industry is shaping to become the comeback kid.
So how can we separate the brands that will struggle from those that will find renewed success?
Put your seatbelt on and embrace the acceleration
Disruption always sounds better, but when it comes to what the beauty category is witnessing, it’s nothing more than an acceleration of trends. While, at first, COVID-19 forced us to slow down and take a minute to re-focus our energy on more important matters, it’s fair to say that a few weeks into the lockdown we all started looking to re-connect and engage with our favorite brands through social. The stores were closed, but we were still on the hunt for new trends on TikTok, and watching brand VPs engage with their favorite influencers on Instagram Live. These rediscovered engagement tools effectively enticed consumers who might have otherwise never felt like pressing the 'buy' icon, a little more willing to experiment.
EQ eats IQ for breakfast
Think about a person in your life that you love. This person is trustworthy, has a set of values they live by, or at least try to live by, this person treats people with respect, admits when they’ve made a mistake and attempts to make amends. All of these qualities make for great people, and they also make for great brands.
When it comes to PR initiatives, it’s simple: be honest, and be true to your belief system. Avoid empty gestures like donating a fragment of your sales to a cause. Being a good corporate citizen doesn’t fit on a marketing calendar, it transcends beyond that.
It goes without saying that the beauty industry is an unstoppable force that will continue to thrive, even through a pandemic, but what will separate the brands that find fast and renewed success from the others, lies in how they will adapt to tomorrow’s changing landscape.
You can either hope that life goes back to 'normal' fast, or you can start by deciphering what will make your brand come out on top with the new set of expectations consumers have, post-COVID-19.
Consumers are ready to shop again. Just not from anyone.
Marie Capucine Akilian is senior communications director at Havas Middle East
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