The beauty industry is a dynamic, thriving market riddled with both opportunities and pitfalls. The stakes are high, and missteps in branding can cost companies – not just financially – but also in customer loyalty and reputation. Several high-profile beauty brands have stumbled, creating a wake-up call for others. By examining these errors, brands can glean valuable insights and avoid similar pitfalls.
In 2018, the skincare brand Deciem was embroiled in controversy as the founder and then-CEO, Brandon Truaxe, used social media to air the company’s internal issues. This lack of professionalism raised questions about the brand’s stability, leading to a temporary shutdown of the company and ultimately resulting in Estée Lauder Companies, a minority stakeholder, taking legal action. The incident highlighted the importance of thoroughly testing all public communications for appropriateness, even on seemingly casual platforms like social media.
Dove, a brand known for promoting diversity and body positivity, faced backlash in 2017 for an ad perceived as racially insensitive. The ad showed a black woman transforming into a white woman after using a Dove product. Despite Dove’s apology, the incident damaged its reputation. This incident underlines the need for brands to be culturally sensitive and inclusive in their marketing efforts, considering diverse perspectives during the creative process.
In 2013, the Kardashian Beauty line faced a class-action lawsuit for failing to deliver on their promise to donate a portion of their profits from the ‘Khroma Beauty’ line to a cancer charity. That resulted in considerable backlash and damage to the brand’s image. Brands must ensure transparency and deliver on their promises, especially when charity is involved. Yet, charity work can be invaluable for branding. Click here for some of the best charity events and how they’ve led to success for brands.
Avoiding such blunders involves adopting a proactive and inclusive approach to brand strategy.
1. Thoroughly Test Your Products and Marketing Messages
Every brand touchpoint, from product design to marketing campaigns, must be tested with diverse groups of consumers. Feedback should be considered from all perspectives to ensure your brand message is consistent, inclusive, and doesn’t inadvertently cause offence.
2. Embrace Diversity and Inclusivity
The beauty industry caters to a diverse clientele, and your branding should reflect that. Brands should actively seek to represent diverse perspectives, ensuring sensitivity to different cultures, races, and backgrounds.
3. Be Transparent and Accountable
If your brand is committed to supporting charitable causes, make sure you follow through on these promises. Brands must be transparent about their actions, especially when charity is involved. Provide regular updates about your charitable contributions and ensure they align with your brand’s values and commitments.
While beauty branding blunders can lead to reputation damage, they also present valuable learning opportunities. By examining these mistakes and applying the lessons learned, beauty brands can avoid such pitfalls, enhance their brand reputation, and build a loyal customer base. After all, in the world of beauty branding, the ‘blemish’ of a mistake can often be remedied with the ‘concealer’ of knowledge, sensitivity, and transparency.