How Beauty Brands Help Me Be… Me?

Beauty Brands

Author: Jasmine-Olivia Morton

It’s no secret that the beauty industry reflects back to us a version of the person we aspire to be. Charles Revson said it himself: “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the store, we sell hope”. We see visuals of women with picture perfect skin and flawless make-up juggling their wide and various roles as mother, lover, colleague, proving to herself and all those around her that she’s ‘worth it!’ every day.

But what does it mean to be ‘worth it’ today? How do we value ourselves and others in today’s society and how can beauty brands help us move closer to ‘the me I want to be’?

The younger generation face increasing anxieties about fulfilling aspirations in an even more competitive society. Brands such as Dove with its ‘Real Beauty’ and ‘Self-Esteem’ campaigns look like a breath of fresh air… with the concept of looking good simply by being yourself. This is definitely a great step – but when it comes to ‘real-world’ pressures that aren’t necessarily just about appearance (e.g. job interviews, the rare date, etc), is this enough?

The ‘who’ I want to be changes depending on the ‘what’ I happen to be doing in my life at the time. I may want to be the powerful woman who has it all together, and other times I may want to be the casual, breezy girl that just wants to chill out… there are different faces I show to different people – colleagues, lovers, friends, strangers.

So, beauty brands. How do they help me with these faces, whilst also embracing who I am? Today’s consumers are less influenced by big corporations or the latest model telling us a catchy phrase. We seek truth from the people we know, or feel we know. We want to know that ‘our cousin used that face wash and it totally cleared their face’, or ‘this two-step regime worked wonders for our best friend’s hair’. It’s the word of mouth effect that helps us to build trust in brands.

Take YouTube, for example. Top UK beauty vloggers Tanya Burr and Zoella are reported to earn an average of £1m a year between them. Beauty brands send their products to the popular vloggers for them to incorporate into their videos which provide exposure to approximately 15m of their subscribers – most of whom are still in their teens. They’ve even released beauty brands of their own in our favourite stores such as Boots and Superdrug.

We’re drawn to this because our motives haven’t changed. We still aspire to be better versions of ourselves, however, the image of that ‘better’ is changing. Generations are now driving the concept of inclusiveness as well as individualisation. We are equally as happy to embrace our ‘real beauty’ side as we are celebrating the curious, deep, perhaps flawed and wild sides. It’s no longer as straight cut as it used to be when looking at targeting a single person with one identity.  We are multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and have many multiple identities.  The answer is found in navigating those many identities and helping resolve some of the conflicts and bringing them together for one satisfied ‘me.’

Haines McGregor’s unique ‘IdentityMap’ can help brand owners navigate deeper motivations and identity drivers. We have helped developed some of the leading own-brands for Boots as well as P&G, GSK and Nicky Clarke. Have a look at some of our exciting work with Boots and other case studies, or email for a friendly chat about how we can help you.