Expert's Opinion

Go Ahead and Get Emotional...Your Beauty Customer Will Thank You!

By Alisa Marie Beyer, The Beauty Company | April 2, 2012

If you want to truly understand what motivates and inspires loyalty in your consumer (and what doesn’t), it pays to listen to what she’s saying about not only your brand, but herself.

Advances in brain imaging science have proven that without a shadow of doubt, emotions are the guiding force behind nearly all of our decisions. In fact, emotional reactions to brand-related stimuli have been measured by neurobiologists to be processed 80% faster than cognitively filtered reactions – meaning that one’s instant, emotional reaction to a brand inevitably colors the more “logical” secondary reaction.1

As the beauty landscape becomes more and more cluttered with competition and new breakthroughs, understanding and embracing this emotional connection has become vitally important because we now know that reason alone is an insufficient way to evaluate trade-offs between brands, and our consumers don’t approach their relationship to beauty logically anyway (at least, most beauty consumers!)

Instead, beauty consumers have highly complex and emotional bonds to their beauty products, and it’s these bonds that form (and inform) every move she makes within the beauty spectrum, from sampling, to purchasing to re-purchasing, and everything in between. But more so than just knowing that emotions drive her decisions, really understanding what binds her to your brand on an emotional level is the key to maintaining and achieving real success with consumers, which is why TBC’s 2012 Pink Report: Let’s Get Emotional: Using Emotional Science to Segment the US Beauty Consumer has gone to the source—the beauty consumer herself.

Emotionally Speaking

It’s been said that it only takes 3 seconds (or less) to decide if a product is for us, or not. Three seconds! You’d better believe that decision isn’t stemming from logic—it is pure emotion. For our report, we knew that to get to the heart of these emotion-based decisions, we had to have emotion-based research. Using a sophisticated survey tool, we delved deeply into the demographical statistics of today’s beauty consumer. Who is she? How old? Where does she live? And then to contextualize the importance of these answers in relation to our study, we also mined for psychographic information—those glorious nuggets of information on her personality traits, quirks and defining beauty markers such as how often do you wear makeup? How many products do you use each day? Which beauty products can you not live without and which ones are you using less than you were a year ago?

And then we dug even deeper still. We asked women to tell us specifically how much they spend on makeup, on skin care and fragrance; where they prefer to shop for beauty, and which makeup brands were definitely not for “someone like her.” We explored what inspires her and what bores her to tears; where she gets the most beauty inspiration (friends and family top the list!); how in control she feels of her beauty destiny (looking, feeling and remaining beautiful); as well as her attitudes toward dressing up vs. down, technology, getting regular facials and exercising; being perceived as sexy or plain; and finally, to tell us her biggest beauty concerns, and which beauty messages speak to her, and which she ignores.In all, we asked hundreds of questions, resulting in thousands of fascinating data points that relate directly, explicitly and importantly to every beauty brand in-market today.

Emotionally Revealing

After conducting this in-depth survey, extensive research into the results revealed that in the US today, there are five unique spectrums in which beauty buyers tended to differ, which we call the “Emotional Beauty Spectrum.” These spectrums, Beauty Importance, Beauty Knowledge, Beauty Attachment, Beauty Control and Beauty Anxiety, also informed how and why women connect to certain beauty brands, and why they do (or do not) form emotional attachments. No longer did we need to wonder why certain women disdain the mere thought of wearing ChapStick, yet other women consider this sensible lip balm a luxury. With this data, we had the answer straight from the consumers themselves.By understanding how important beauty is to her, how she assesses her own beauty smarts, her level of emotional attachment to beauty, her faith in the efficacy of beauty products and her anxiety level with the sheer selection of products available to her, we were then able to statistically validate the unique significance of each spectrum in order to identify the top five beauty consumer profiles in the US today.

It’s no longer enough to just introduce you to a beauty consumer, you need to be introduced to your beauty consumer, and TBC’s 2012 Pink Report is just that introduction. Is she the Diva (she may be only 12% of the beauty population, but she’s a pretty important 12% for all that), or the most populous consumer – The All American? Or perhaps she’s The Classic, The Minimalist or The Bewildered? Whoever she is, knowing how her emotions are tied to her beauty regimen is the key to understanding how your brand can keep her as your happiest, most loyal consumer, or how you can win her over to your brand with just the right message. Whether a seasoned industry leader or a fledgling newbie, in today’s tight beauty market it is imperative to know your consumer on an intimate level, and that starts with her emotions.

1. Digital, Speaking to the Consumers Heart, Not Head, 3/24/2010, accessed on 10/28/2011
About the Author:
A proven entrepreneur, Alisa Marie Beyer has built and sold three companies and is now the founder and creative director of The Beauty Company (TBC) – a strategy firm that helps clients build beauty brands that women want to buy. As the “McKinsey of the beauty industry” TBC offers brand strategy and intelligence, brand identity and package design, creative writing, and brand marketing services, as well as product strategy and testing. Serving clients at every stage of development—from startups to 13 of the top 15 global beauty companies – we intimately understand the industry, the consumer and the market, and become an integral part of each client or project team. The publisher of the “must read” Pink Report and WomenTrends , at TBC we keep our finger on the pulse of the industry and offer unparalleled consumer intelligence and proven methodologies.
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