I am hearing from friends across the PR industry that some beauty brands are looking to reduce spend and in some cases even stop funding PR and marketing spend. The timing could not be worse.
Coronavirus has hit the world hard, and the beauty industry is no exception. Retailers have closed stores, salons cannot tend to their clients, and freelance beauty professionals are now at home with no work for the foreseeable future.
Undeniably business has been hit hard, independents have temporarily closed, major retailers are halting new orders as they take time to adjust their forecasts and come to terms with the new level of sales without bricks and mortar They are also re-establishing warehousing logistics, which leads to beauty launches being delayed. It’s not great, but it is time to look for the positives.
If the reasons you started to publicise your brand are all still relevant – you have great product and you want people to know about it, then this is not the time to stop communicating.
Editors are still filing copy, newspapers still need to be written and online content is at an all-time high with some platforms producing even more content then they usually do. A report by Ti Media, published last week called ‘Virus Britain, British Life with Covid-19’ (March 2020) states that 85% of magazine readers plan to read more magazines at this time and that 67% of under 35s and 66% of ABC1s want time away from the news.
Having asked their followers on social media if they prefer them to halt or still want to see beauty content, Jane Cunningham @britbeautyblog https://britishbeautyblogger.com/) and Nadine Baggott https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCag0Yi1S2sTmuPcr8ED91yA were both told a resounding ‘carry on’.
In our experience PR is busier than ever; we are maximising on well-established industry relationships to help both editors and clients in equal measure. It’s a test for the PR of course. Any PR worth their salt can sell in a great new product, but generating stories around established products, and at a sensitive time, that’s where the real work comes in.
Making your brand relevant to the current situation is possible and can be done in good taste and a good PR should be able to find a way.
Research from previous periods of hardship (war, economic decline etc) prove the ‘lipstick effect’ meaning that people are more willing to purchase smaller treats, and at these uncertain times, we are seeing that people are indeed looking for that little pick me up, which they are purchasing from online beauty aisles.
Space NK, who temporarily closed their stores on 20th March, are seeing a definite increase in online sales, as well as an uplift in new customers. Jini Sanassy Head of PR for Space NK explains ‘customers who would usually shop in store, are now shopping with us online. The hair and body category specifically has seen an uplift in demand, this category includes hand washes and hand creams.’.
Additionally Lara Sinclair, Communications Director for online portal Victoria Health explains ’in a space of non-essential things, skin and nails have all seen notable increases’.
Beyond print, TV and online content are calling out for lighter stories that can lift the nation. If you are or have an expert in your brand, now is the time to make yourself available for interviews. Join up with complementary brands and share content to reach new audiences. As the world is in this together, networks are keen to share information globally, so now might be the time to reach out into other markets too.
Lauren Roxburgh, the LA based body alignment expert has just launched her IMMunity programme offering 7 days free content, and subscriptions globally are on the increase. https://unity.laurenroxburgh.com/ Linking free content in this way, with upselling is a powerful tool to maximise your business potential.
Additionally, it’s important to support retailers through their social media channels. Space NK is delivering more content with their long form content such as IGTV and Live Tutorials, receiving thousands of views as people spend long periods of time at home with limited contact.
Beauty brands must think long term right now. Those making knee jerk reactions to minimise PR spend will see the repercussions in the months to come. Now, it is more important than ever to continue the conversations with your beauty community. Dig deep into your brand ethos and values, work harder to find your customers and support them through these hard times.
If consumers no longer hear about your brand it will be your competitors that they buy throughout the low, and they will forget about you when the industry starts to pick up again. Keeping PR, social media and advertising strong, means that you continue to play your part in the game.
Of course we are filled with angst, uncertainty brings instability, there is widespread sickness and countless fatalities, and we are all surrounded by it. From a professional stand point, we have to look for the positives where we can, if you want your brand to be resilient and fight through maintaining strength on the other side. It’s time to get some clarity, feed good content to media through your PR, support the retailers who are selling your stock, get creative online and be there for your community and your team."
Kelly Marks is co-founder of PuRe PR + Communications