Daily Insights

Inspired by Beauty

By: Amie Song | Jan 12, 2021

The beauty category saw exponential growth in China and has become an inspiration for marketing strategy and execution. Other personal care categories, such as haircare, body care, and oral care have taken notes from the beauty playbook to target the rising female consumer and build brand equity. 

Package and Name Products as Beauty Products
Personal care brands have increasingly positioned themselves as beauty brands, either referring to beauty in their product names or launching packaging similar to that of beauty products. Since the targeted consumers are familiar with beauty products and features, references to beauty can facilitate brand education and help highlight key functionality. Head & Shoulders, for example, mimicked the skin care routine and launched a three-step hair care set, including a shampoo, a cream and a serum. Nutrition and supplement brand Swisse nicknamed their Skin Defence supplement “highlighter pills” and launched a UGC hashtag campaign #mylifehashighlight (5.6M views, 187 posts) on the lifestyle social commerce platform RED. The brand equated the effects of its tablets on skin to applying highlighter. 

Additionally, hair care brands are launching products in China with signature beauty packaging to appeal to consumers’ passion for newness. P&G’s Pantene, for example, packaged its Color Miracle collection as beauty products: the oil and hair mask products come in capsules that resemble the viral face serum packaging that became popular following Elizabeth Arden’s success; the collection also includes a double serum, packaged in a bottle that looks like that of Clarins’ hero product Double Serum. Similarly, L’Oréal Hair Care packaged its hair mask in ampoule tubes similar to those of a face serum.

Focus on Ingredients and Efficacy
Chinese beauty consumers are ingredient-savvy and conduct detailed research on product efficacy before purchase. To target rising “skintellectuals” and capitalize on the cosmeceutical trend, personal care brands also focus marketing efforts on promoting familiar skincare ingredients and highlight product efficacy.

According to Gartner research, most popular cosmeceutical chemicals include Nicotinamide, Enzyme, and Hyaluronic Acid. Nicotinamide, the key ingredient in multiple whitening serum, has helped Vaseline body lotion sell more than 2 million units on Tmall and gain 30,000+ mentions on RED. Vaseline invested heavily in KOL content promoting the ingredient and featured lab results of its whitening efficacy on Tmall product pages. LUX worked with top livestreamer Viya to highlight the Hyaluronic Acid ingredient in its shampoo and how the product is one thousand times more effective in moisturizing. Colgate launched an “enzyme toothpaste” in the market, positioning it as an “anti-aging enzyme serum for oral health” and packaging it with the look of a premium beauty product. Celebrity, UGC campaigns, and KOLs were leveraged to build its virality and more than 1.2 million units were sold on Tmall.

Mimic Beauty Influencer Content
Beauty is known for its sophisticated use of influencers, whether creating compelling content on emerging platforms or connecting social to commerce. The category has cultivated a rich ecosystem of KOLs of different tiers. Personal care brands increasingly tapped into the beauty KOL pool and adapted the popular beauty content style. 

Oral care brands have worked with influencers to demonstrate the look of their products mimicking beauty brands. Darlie, for example, launched a photogenic collection with shining stars in toothpastes and had multi-tiered beauty KOLs create videos and posts on Douyin and RED to try the product on their hand, the same way they would test lipstick colors.

Personal care and home goods brands also see opportunity to seed products along with beauty products in KOLs’ “recent favorites” posts or unboxing videos. Local detergent brand Liby, for example, featured its products in one beauty KOL’s monthly summary videos along with a Helena Rubinstein face cream and Shiseido eye cream, and in another beauty KOL’s video reviews about fragrances. Menstrual hygiene brand Always worked with top beauty KOL Kakao to feature its product in her unboxing video during Double 11. 

Highlight: Kérastase Built Brand With Beauty Playbook
L’Oréal’s premium hair care brand Kérastase has seen huge success in 2020, ranking number two in Tmall GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) among personal care brands during the past Double 11 shopping festival. Kérastase leveraged L’Oréal’s beauty playbook and checked all the marks: packaging products like premium skincare, highlighting ingredients and efficacy as well as building tiered influencer strategy.