Everything is up for grabs in the era of social media and the beauty business is navigating this brave new world using a variety of strategies. On May 2, 2012, Margaret Hayes, president, The Fashion Group International, welcomed attendees to the organization’s 2012 Annual Beauty Symposium, held at New York’s Hilton Hotel, which presented a discussion titled, Changing Lanes: New Model. New Distribution. New Beauty World. The presentation was designed to examine the evolving retail economy, consumer values, and key issues facing the industry today, not the least of which are social media and the impact of technology.
Hayes introduced the Chair of the event, Caroline Pieper-Vogt, president of The Scent Marketing Institute, who noted that the only constant in the industry today was change itself, hence the title, Changing Lanes, the subject had immediacy for all, particularly as new systems of distribution and new ways of engaging today’s consumer are challenging companies large and small.
Moderator, Karen Young, CEO, The Young Group, introduced panelists, Laurie Black, general merchandising manager and executive vice president, cosmetics, Nordstrom; Mike Indursky, president, Bliss; Peter Lichtenthal, president, Bumble and bumble; and Jill Scalamandre, chief marketing officer, Chrysallis, and introduced the opening presentation by Self Magazine’s Laura McEwen, VP & publisher, and Elaine D’Farley, beauty director, on Social Beauty, which provided an overview of the current state of technology in the context of a community conversation and interactivity.
“The idea of social beauty is not anything new,” said McEwen, who equated the idea of sharing information among a community of women as having its roots in the very nature of women’s community building and socialization. However, in the digital age, it is clear that social media has taken on extensive, new proportions.
“The age of social media is paramount and it is upon us,” said McEwen. D’Farley supported the premise, noting that with all the fast changes taking place in the world today, it is essential to be nimble and flexible, inspire audience engagement, and give brands a way to tell their story uniquely.
“It’s a platform to write your own script,” said D’Farley, who highlighted Self’s own Drop 10 challenge, which the magazine conducted via Facebook and Pinterest, to engage readers at various touch points and create an authentic conversation around exercise and healthy goals.
“Social media is the new syndication,” she said, intimating that in order to get through all the clutter, brands need to be especially creative, engage in partnerships, and drive traffic to their brands with unique opportunities.
She heralded the arrival of the new wave of Social Media editors, now becoming a ubiquitous part of the landscape, and characterized the new online engagement, sharing photos with Instagram and Pinterest, for example, or providing “Like-Gates,” for visitors, which provide exclusive content to those who “like” your Facebook page. These digital conversations contribute to a new path to what she termed, “citizen journalism,” allowing readers to weigh in on product picks and preferences, in what is clearly an evolving community with a range of diverse communication tools at their disposal.
Young noted the breadth of the changing environment, saying that access to products and services have increased exponentially, become more sophisticated, and much more open-ended. Clearly, with Instagram, “I Can Stream,” zip cars, Twitter and more, the concept of the DVD rental is now a dinosaur!
Left to right, Caroline Pieper-Vogt, President, The Scent Marketing Institute; Laurie Black, GMM/Executive Vice President, Cosmetics, Nordstrom; Peter Lichtenthal, President, Bumble and bumble; Karen Young, CEO, The Young Group; Mike Indursky, President, Bliss; Jill Scalamandre, Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysallis; Laura McEwen, VP & Publisher, Self; and Elaine D'Farley, Beauty Director, Self.