Much has been written about millennials: they’re digitally native; socially conscious; globally minded; they’re also diverse and difficult to typecast. But when it comes to beauty and cosmetics, one sub-set is of particular interest - the ‘beauty junkies’.
Beauty junkies are all about embracing difference. The notion of ‘rebelling’ against the established trend of the day in the colour you dye your hair, or your choice of clothes, is defunct. Today, being different is what makes you fit in; the ‘trend’ is to find your own trend, style and products to suit.
Beauty junkies love trying new things, experimenting, blending products - which makes them high-value consumers, given the number of products they use in doing so.
Sharing their efforts on social media is crucial. Beauty junkies like to be selfie-ready at all times, and want their selfies to stand out. They’re also focused on ‘brand me’. Personalisation is closely linked to influence and inspiration, which is broadening. Today’s consumers turn to many different sources to curate their next style, product or ritual; not just celebrities, but bloggers and vloggers, the girl on the Tube, or each other.
This is being enabled by social media. Where once there was something of a gap between the aspirational models in advertising and actual consumers, that gap is closing and there are multiple ways to engage consumers.
That same technology is helping us better talk to, understand and respond to millennials. Take the trend for multi-masking - using more than one face mask to address different skin needs simultaneously - as an example. We knew that many younger women were trying multi-masking and discussing their experiences online, so we created a new L’Oréal Paris range of clay masks, with a marketing campaign (Pure Clay, Your Way) that lives largely online.
Crucially, the rise of the beauty junkie is also an opportunity to attract newer audiences. Our L’Oréal Paris Ellnett range, for example, doesn’t tend to appeal to younger audiences. So we launched the Studio Pro range, asking: ‘Who do you want to be today?’ Drawing on digital and social channels, we’re reigniting the brand and attracting a new audience of younger hair stylists.
The final key to millennials is remembering that they also want to experience a brand offline, understand its values and engage with it. So we ensure our ranges have a host of tools, tutorials, and tips - from our Make Up Genius app to our Maybelline video tutorials and ‘backstage’ content. While the app enables people to try new styles without having to commit to purchasing a product, ‘backstage’ content, for example at Fashion Week, helps show products in action, adding credibility and validity.
So, despite their diversity, it’s eminently possible to engage with millennials and beauty junkies: by helping them get their next fix, develop their own personal style and buy into a brand’s values. In doing so, we can unlock growth across a range of categories.
Stijn Demeersseman is general manager commercial operations, L’Oréal Consumer Product Division UK & Ireland