Meet the new class of beauty influencers

In addition to actors, pop stars and influencers, they acquire cosmetic brands for their latest campaigns, professionals in everything from mountaineering to culinary art.

Over the past month, several cosmetics brands have launched campaigns with public figures outside the realm of beauty. On March 21, Smashbox Cosmetics announced an art residency program sponsoring three visual artists. On the same day, Clinique announced its “Face of Adventure” campaign with five adventurers, including climbers, who broke through the barriers. And on March 15, Orly’s nail polish brand revealed a collaboration with contestant “Top Chef” and James Beard winner Kwame Onwuachi. As brands work to convey authenticity in a market full of influencers, a growing number of beauty brands are trying to stand out and reach a wider audience with a new type of public figure.

“Partnering with influencers outside the beauty space is an effective way for brands to expand their reach and penetrate new communities,” said Clare Hennigan, senior beauty analyst at Mintel. According to a Mintel survey, 40% of beauty influencers are interested in seeing more cosmetics brands working with influencers in other industries.

For the new Smashbox Open Studios residency program, Smashbox is sponsoring a brand of three budding artists in a four-week incubation program that will culminate on March 31 with a group exhibition of their work at Smashbox’s Lightbox in Los Angeles. The selected artists were installation artist Uzumaki Cepeda, photographer Randijah Simmons and Gabriela Ruiz, who creates sculpture, video, painting and design.

Uzumaki Cepeda with installation. (Photo courtesy)

It is the latest cosmetics brand that incorporates artists into the campaign according to the model Meadowwhich often collaborates with artists at Art Basel events.

“This is a different kind of campaign for us,” said Heather Duchowny, executive director of global marketing at Smashbox. The brand has teamed up with artists in product collaboration in the past, and the goal of this campaign is to “create a cultural and artistic meeting place for creatives.”

Brands are looking for new campaign stars that make sense conceptually. Orly, for example, teamed up with Onwuachi for a set of three nail polish colors after the stellar chef became known for his love of nail polish.

Kwame Onwuachi is wearing a new nail polish working with Orly. (Robert Smith)

“I’m always looking for ways to express myself – my roots, thoughts, creativity – whether it’s through food, clothing, design,” Onwuachi said. “Working with Orly is just one creative activity outside the kitchen that you will see in me. My fans are not just ambitious chefs, they are from all walks of life. “

These unconventional collaborations can help brands extend their reach beyond the typical beauty enthusiasts.

“Today’s market is full of celebrity partnerships and beauty lines because it’s a business model that works,” said Tal Pink, vice president of business development at Orly. “Orly has always focused on asymmetric partnerships that move the industry forward, instead of just reshaping what we see in the market today.”

The brand wants to work with characters who “deserve more recognition for their achievements in their field,” said Pink. She previously worked with Jennifer Welter, the first female NFL coach in 2019.

As with typical beauty influencers or celebrities, dedicated social surveillance can mean success in sales. With the enthusiasm of Onwuachi’s fan base of 175,000 followers on Instagram, Kwame X Orly’s collaboration sales have surpassed the brand’s predictions, Pink said. More than half of the inventory was sold during the first two weeks after launch. The brand does “sudden replenishment” as well as cooperates with Onwuachi on three more shades.

“Beauty brands are interested in this type of crossover because it allows them to reach other types of customers. Beauty influencers and experts such as dermatologists are reaching into the niche that these types of products are already looking for, ”said Alessandro Bogliari, co-founder and CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory.

At a time when the concept of authenticity is key to brand marketing, brands are also quick to point out that these campaigns are not just about reaching a large number of followers. While Smashbox presents his artists on social media and lets them download TikTok, Duchowny noted that two of them do not even have TikTok accounts.

“We didn’t choose these people because they have a huge audience on a particular or different platform,” she said.

Meanwhile, for a campaign to promote its Moisture Surge Moisture Cream, Clinique has decided to work with adventurers due to their exposure to extremely harsh weather conditions on the highest peaks in the world.

Among the adventurers is Zambia born Saray Khumalo, the first black woman from Africa to conquer Mount Everest; Marcela Maranon, the first Latin woman with a disability to perform in Kilimanjaro; and Emma Svensson, the first to lead a purely female team to conquer every 4,000-meter peak in the European Alps. There is also Elise Wortley, the founder of the “Woman with Altitude” project, in which she recreates the historical paths of women without modern mountain equipment; and Mireya Mayor, an Emmy-nominated primatologist and the first Latin national correspondent for National Geographic.

“We usually work with the best beauty influencers,” but “this is the broadest in terms of influencers we use and are outside the beauty category,” said Roxanne Iyer, Clinique’s vice president of global consumer engagement.

As the term “influencer” has become directly associated with the idea of ​​paid content, brands are looking for more authentic ways to reach audiences through new types of influential personalities. The influencers themselves are moving towards the notion of “creator“To emphasize their work and not the number of followers and brand offerings.

“Consumers are worried about sponsored content. Highly engaged beauty consumers are savvy and understand when they are “sold” versus [given] a real product recommendation, ”he said Hennigan.

They are also stellar athletes increasingly common in beauty commercials. Luxury cosmetics brands line up with sportswear brands to secure offers to support Olympians. SK-II won Simone Biles and other summer Olympians into the 2020 campaign, while Estée Lauder collaborated with the gold medalist in skiing. Eileen Gu in China. MMA star fighter Zhang Weili was also in Estee Lauder campaign. And Glossier became the first beauty brand to sponsor the WNBA in 2020, launch campaign with female basketball stars. In addition to physical sports prominent sports players and stars they also received offers to promote beauty.

As brands look for public celebrities beyond the world of beauty, they also create new titles beyond the “brand ambassador” and collaboration partner. Poet winner Amanda Gorman is, for example, the first Estée LauderGlobal Changemaker“, Which means that it cooperates with the brand on campaigns and CSR initiatives.

Meena Harris has also proven to be CSR focused. ”reluctant influencer“In the field of beauty, cooperation with companies including the Monday hair care brand, the makeup brand Vivid toned and the Naturopathica skin care brand.

Expert advice can also help brands make credibility claims. When luxury skin care brand Emma Lewisham announced in September 2021 that it had become the first “carbon-positive” cosmetics brand, it received support from ecology Jane Goodall.

However, the influx of new brand representatives does not mean that brands are leaving beauty influencers. According to Mintel, 73% of adults who watch beauty influencers have bought the recommended products.

In the future, the brands plan to continue working with traditional beauty influencers and celebrities, while expanding to new types of professionals.

“Of course, we play in a space that affects beauty, but that’s not the only place we like to play,” Duchowny said. “We are open and we tend to look beyond the traditional in terms of campaigns.” Smashbox keeps an “open mind” about who it works with and is considering future artists’ initiatives, she said.

“Apart from the personal satisfaction of being able to focus on good things and stories, the business case for these types of collaborations is quite clear,” said Pink. “When no one else is doing something, it’s a great time to start doing it.”

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