The best brands are adapting their communication to support their target groups and speak with customers in their own language, and in ways that are genuine and feel individual to the customer.
One brand doing this successfully in-store and online is the LVMH subsidiary Benefit Cosmetics. Founded in 1979, its make-up products are sold at over 2,000 counters in more than 30 countries.
GDR’s CEO and founder Kate Ancketill recently visited Benefit Cosmetics to discuss how the make-up brand is creating new narratives that complement the customers’ immediate context and justify the brand’s proposition:
While there are always times that a girl just wants to treat herself to a new mascara or moisturiser, cosmetic purchases are often reactive to a specific problem. Benefit Cosmetics has shown it understands its customers by allowing users of its website to browse not just by product but by the dilemma they hope to solve.
Whether its unruly eyebrows or a pre-date acne breakout, customers can quickly narrow down the search by selecting from options such as “Brows Behaving Badly”, “Eyes Misbehaving” and “Skin Woes”. The fact that these dilemmas were chosen because they were the most common problems that customers asked Benefit staff for help with shows that this is one make-up brand that gets beneath the skin of its customers’ needs.
Benefit has not forgotten its physical stores either, and has demonstrated its awareness of customer and their lives outside of its boutiques through a two-way campaign with Starbucks. The campaign capitalised on activities that its customers are likely to do together: drinking coffee and having makeovers. A stereotype of today’s modern woman? Perhaps – but the execution was far from flimsy. Throughout February 2016, Benefit and Starbucks incentivised customer behaviour with limited-edition coasters and coffee sleeves that could be redeemed for drinks and services in-store. The partnership cleverly allowed the brands to drive footfall in either direction to both locations, leaving both brands sitting pretty.
As more consumers become attuned to being sold to, today’s brands must orchestrate a more relevant, human and – dare I say it – authentic connection with customers to earn their trust. Maybe context, rather than aimless content, is king at last.