Behind lipstick psychology: smart content for beauty brands

As an avid women’s media enthusiast, I usually enjoy the different forms of branded content they feature. Dior’s branded article in PureWow last October is no exception – the proof being I actually remember it! Let me explain why I believe their lipstick psychology approach was a smart move to promote the brand’s Dior Addict lipsticks.

Dior PureWow lipstick psychology

The lipstick psychology format is intriguing

The “tell me what you do, I’ll tell who you are” formats are nothing new in women’s media. Tell me what you eat, what movies you watch, what you wear, and I’ll tell you your main personality traits and share precious recommendations with you. You’ve all seen it in multiple articles and tests, whether on print or online. Yet, the format doesn’t seem to get old. We still read these articles and take these tests. Just look at Buzzfeed’s success, based on articles you’ll read and share with your friends. Millennials are digging those fun contents, and there’s an added bonus when the recommendation is actually something valuable – like lipstick shades that would match our personality.

The integration of product recommendations answers readers’ concerns

For each lipstick profile, Dior and PureWow recommend 2 to 4 shades that should match your style. With a simple click on a shade, you are redirected to Dior’s e-shop so that you can purchase the Dior Addict lipstick in your favorite shade. It’s clearly laid out on the PureWow page, easy to understand you have the product shade name and number under the color) and user-friendly.

The graphic and editorial outcome fits the PureWow style and the elegance of Dior

Using PureWow’s usual fonts and white background, as well as the media’s friendly tone, the article stays in touch with the audience’s expectations. Still, it perfectly fits within Dior’s range: the way shades are featured on pretty white cards reminds readers of the brand’s paper cards you would spray perfume on. The lipstick marks on the side of the page also remind viewers of the gesture they have when drawing a lipstick line on their hand to see how a shade looks on them. Everything is designed to look pretty and fresh, while reminding readers of a real in-store experience.

To sum up, brands can continue using the “tell me what you do, I’ll tell you who you are” format in media as long as they fit in with the audience expectations and keep it light and fun. Because the brand’s ultimate objective may be sales, but this is not the reason readers check this media.

From inspiration to purchase: how to speed up the process

Social media now play a major part in purchase inspiration, especially when it comes to fashion, beauty and travel. It is no surprise that influencer marketing is gaining more and more importance for brands in these industries. Yet, social media, which are these influencers’ main communication platforms, do not systematically offer a convenient support for promotional posts. While Facebook and Pinterest allow for visual posts and URL integration in the caption, making a great support to promote a branded message and direct viewers to a brand’s website, Instagram and Snapchat chose the opposite way. For now.

Solutions started to appear, to create a smother experience for avid followers who just want to purchase an influencers’ bag, or visit the exact same place. One of these solutions is called LikeToKnow.it and it’s a sort of extension to your Instagram. You simply need to register on their website and then like posts featuring a @liketoknow.it mention from your favorite influencers. Then, automatically, you receive a summary of your favorite posts and the shopping list associated to it, with clickable links, directly in your inbox. How’s that for a service?

An interesting example of application is from Starwood Hotels. The hotel group experimented with this feature by working with a selection of influencers to promote two hotels in Paris. Influencers simply had to post pictures of their stay there, with the right mention in the caption, and Instagrammers who liked their posts (and be registered prior to LikeToKnow.it) received an e-mail inviting them to book their stay at the same hotel in a click.

This seamless transition from getting your travel inspiration from your favorite influencers, to making the purchase decision on your phone, really eases up the purchasing process. It saves you time and effort, if you’re not the kind of traveler who wants to check multiple options and compare them in detail. It will be interesting to see other industries dive into this kind of customer experience experimentations and see which consumers are more likely to make a purchase following this path.

Artificial intelligence and messengers: what voice for luxury brands?

While Apple’s Siri and Google’s OK Google conversational interfaces are getting closer to human intelligence everyday, other companies are joining the artificial intelligence race. Whether it is with Amazon’s Alexa assistant, or Facebook’s virtual assistant M, brands now have more opportunities than ever to reach consumers, and to offer a personalized and on-point experience.

As of now, Facebook’s M is not available to all users nor to brands, but it will very likely change the way brands do customer service online. Brands can already use Facebook Messenger to improve their customer service and dialogue with customers as they would chat with friends, while answering requests and providing recommendations, etc. The trick is to adopt the codes of Messenger and become as close as possible to a friend. And this means carefully choosing a brand voice.

When using services such as Messenger, consumers are expecting to be treated as greatly as they normally would be by a great customer service rep. This includes: omnichannel consumer knowledge, quick answers, personal recommendations, and friendliness!

everlane

Now, if you’ve been to a luxury store before, you know friendliness and proximity aren’t always sales reps’ main qualities. Efforts are usually put into great service, professionalism, personalized recommendations, and status. Let’s put it that way: sales reps are not acting as friends.

If we consider digital marketing, it’s more or less the same. Brands use display ads, websites, apps and social media to share an exclusive, high-level and inspiring brand image.

But would you want to have a Messenger discussion with a luxury sales rep? Would you send gifs to someone only sharing product updates? I wouldn’t.

The challenge for luxury brands is to find their voice for conversational interfaces such as M. This voice may be different from the one they have in-store or online, but it should embrace the values that define the brand. You can be the best in our area, have the most elegant style, be rather exclusive, and yet be super friendly and thoughtful with your customers. It all goes back to the usual trade-off between the luxury’s exclusivity, and digital proximity and personalization.

Considering the fierce competition between brands to be the one consumers want to engage with, the ones mastering the voice their consumers want to hear will gain legitimacy and their consumers will be more likely to ask for advice on their latest products or to use their highest level of services, because they’ll feel like the brand understands them like a friend. It’s not about pushing products, or even engaging consumers anymore; it’s about exchanging with individuals in the most authentic way possible.

It may be easier for startups like Jam in France, or trendy brands like Everlane, to find their voice and successfully engage with customers via texts and Messenger, but it will be worth the effort for luxury brands to attract new customers and develop new services to achieve the most personalized and unique digital brand experience yet.