There is “dish” and than there is a “story” that everyone likes to hear.
In the beauty business there are a lot of stories about female empowerment. Take, for example, Dove’s “Real Beauty” that was launched by the brand over 10 years ago. In 2004 Dove reached out to over 3,200 women to better understand their perception on the beauty industry. The result was that only 2% of the women in the study considered themselves to be beautiful. This staggering statistic inspired Dove to challenge beauty standards of the day with the “Real Beauty” campaign that appeared in print and television and also leveraged the new social media channels that were emerging. This garnered enormous public relations value for the company. In essence, this strategic platform of female empowerment catapulted a soap brand into a beauty brand (?!) almost overnight by creating a new dialogue with women on the topic of self-acceptance. Dove was not the first personal care product company to do this and certainly not the last.
For decades L’Oreal Paris reminded women of their value with the infamous slogan “Because You’re Worth It”. Created in the early 70’s this proclamation of value served two purposes. First, the exclamation of product superiority and, second, with the belief in a woman’s self esteem. The earliest expression of this idea was deployed in the first commercial for Preference Hair Color with the on-camera statement, “Actually, I don’t mind spending more for L’Oreal… Because I’m Worth It.” Since that time this expression of self worth has expanded to a program celebrating its 10th year, Women of Worth, that recognizes women from across the country who give of themselves helping to make a better world.
This year two beauty brands took on the female empowerment voice with the intent to create their own versions of empowerment to connect on an emotional level with women. Pantene created the “Not Sorry” campaign, which encourages women to stop apologizing for things based on a study that revealed that women apologize more than men for things that need no apology. The underlying insight is that women tend to excuse themselves for things that men would never consider doing, e.g., being late for a meeting, etc.
Most recently Maybelline New York replaced its decade old slogan “Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe It’s Maybelline” with “Make IT Happen”. While there is little explanation on why this evolution is empowering to women, the “IT” in the slogan suggests that there is a ‘go out there and do it’ Nike-like sensibility happening. The visual expression of this sentiment is enhanced with images of women applying makeup and getting out into the world to meet challenges head on. In essence, the insight here is not new. It is based on a beauty principle used for decades that when you look your best you can do your best.
Empowerment stories are not new in the beauty business, however, they are becoming more important as companies are looking for new ways to connect to women. Even more so they are vital in our new social media landscape where exchanging dialogues and building loyalty are the new currency. They will continue, as they should, but will never replace the value of someone that knows you well telling you how strong, beautiful and wonderful you really are. Happy Holidays! The future holds the promise of greatness!
For more insights into how truly beautiful you are, click on the link below.
MR. BEAUTY: AN AFFAIR WITH THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY. All proceeds benefit Pancreatic Cancer Research in honor of Eileen McKenna.
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