Traditional and Digital Marketing Tools Used by Glossier

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BUSM 4302 Strategic Marketing in Digital Economy

Student number: 17001393

1st November 2018

Assignment 1 – Individual written report on use of traditional and digital marketing tools used by Glossier

Executive Summary 

Disruptive, innovative, and inclusive beauty brand Glossier, has taken a cluttered beauty industry by storm. Founded by Emily Weiss, Vogue’s ex-beauty editor, it started off as an e-commerce platform inspired by Emily’s blog, Into the Gloss. Since the launch in 2014, this direct-to-consumer brand has managed to acquire over $86 million in start-up funding (Mandell, 2018: online), has footprints in 7 countries (USA, the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Canada, Sweden and recently, France) and inspired a cult-like following (Glossier, 2018: online)

Without glossing over the details, this report examines three tools: branding, owned media (website and social media), and influencer marketing used by Glossier to create value, connect with its consumers, communicate the brand’s value and deliver its proposition.

Table of Contents

Grading Matrix

Executive Summary

Data sources

Just another beauty brand…

Glossier – the brand

Glossier – website and social media

The Glossier gang

Conclusion

References

Data sources

Just another beauty brand…

As glamorous as the beauty industry might seem, reality can be disappointing. This was clear to Emily Weiss during her tenure as Vogue’s beauty editor. Frustrated with beauty brands and how they market their products ‘at women’, Emily started her blog Into the Gloss to “quench a yearning to connect with the women” (Weiss, 2016: online).

“When I started Into The Gloss, I wanted to make beauty as much of an element of personal style as fashion. As I interviewed hundreds of women, I became more and more aware of how flawed the traditional beauty paradigm is” – (Weiss, 2018: online). With compelling content, revealing interviews, and skilful photography, the blog grew into a community of men and women. It soon became a powerful voice using beauty to connect, communicate stories, and inspire others. Within the space of a year, it had achieved over 10 million-page views a month (Giacobbe, 2017: online).

With the Into The Gloss community, Weiss wanted beauty to be more accessible. Although she could provide powerful content, she felt a gap in the market for a beauty brand that makes women feel so confident in their own skin, they are comfortable to share their beauty routines, secrets, and products with other women (Weiss, 2014: online). Thus, an e-commerce platform curated by Into The Gloss was born. With $2 million seed funding and a small team (Giacobbe, 2017: online), Glossier launched to celebrate real girls, in real life (Weiss, 2014: online).

Glossier – the brand

Digital marketing can help bridge the gap between businesses and a user’s objectives (Rowles, 2018: online). Figure 1 illustrates three tools used by Glossier. The following sections elaborate the application of these tools to deliver perceived value to customers.

Glossier branding is so compelling that it is used as a marketing tool to attract and capture attention. Examination of three core elements of the brand: promise, positioning, and performance, helps to understand how branding creates, communicates and delivers value to the customers (Aaker, 2016, p. 290).

  1. Brand promise: Democratised and inclusive beauty made available to all – this promise is evident from; (i) the brand’s product range that includes more of skin care products (21 products) than makeup products (15 products), and (ii) images of women in varied skin tones to make the brand inclusive. Evidence of this is echoed on the brand’s website imagery, social media pages and through its recent launch campaign, Body Hero. (Figure 2)
  1. Position: Complementing the above message, Glossier, has positioned itself as a disruptive brand on a mission to redefine the beauty industry. The tagline: beauty first, makeup second reiterates the message. Building upon this, the brand has an exciting, bold, and feminine personality as viewed against Aaker’s (1997, p. 347-56) brand persona.
  1. Performance: With the core promise and a strong positioning in place, Glossier has being able to deliver on its promised value. For instance, while developing a cleanser, it asked its community members which actor/actress closely resembles to a ‘cleanser’. Pale milky skin of Emma Stone and Eddie Redmayne came out as a clear winner and hence, Milky Jelly Cleanser was formulated and designed (Rogers, 2018: online).  The Cloud Paint range, a blush paste in a tube packaging, was expanded to include two more variants after customer’s requests for more shades.

According to Aaker (2010, p. 68), brand identity is a unique set of brand associations that the brand strategist aspires to create or maintain. With an emphasis on creating a strong brand identity, Glossier has a defined and unique brand system. Maintaining a unified look and feel, Glossier’s products are instantly identified by:

  1. its signature shade of Glossier pink
  2. use of clean and minimalistic designs,
  3. and imagery that features a diverse set of women (Figure 2).

Debatably, the consumer brand’s focus on its relationship with customers and use of interactive communications (Deighton, 1996) can also be classified as an identity trait (Figure 3) (Bruner, 2016: online) However, the most divulging trait of the brand is use of ‘Instagram thinking’ (Rogers, 2018: online). This is clear from their product ranges and their names (Figure 4), marketing communications (Figure 5) and retail spaces (Figure 6) that are inspired by the social media platform. With a compelling brand, Glossier has managed to attract its target segment’s attention. Section 2 and 3, discusses this attention is used to induce purchase behavior.  

Figure 1 Glossier use of digital marketing to align with its customers objectives

 

Figure 3 Glossier using a fan’s e-mail to announce products availability (Glossier’s Instagram account)

Figure 4 Use of Instagram thinking to inspire product design and names (Glossier website)

Figure 5 Glossier ad for its product ‘Cloud Paint’ inspired by Instagram’s tags (Glossier’s Instagram channel)

Figure 6 Glossier stores are known to be “Insta-worthy” (Glossier.com)

Glossier – website and social media

The beauty brand has two physical presence (New York and Los Angeles) and yet retails in 7 countries. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the website and social media platforms are predominately two main tools used for lead generation and sale of the products. An examination of the website using Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick’s 5S framework (2016, p. 18) shows how it is been leveraged by the company.

  1. Website:
  1. Sell: Making it easy for consumers to locate their purchases, products are classified in a menu that roll alongside as a consumer scrolls through the website. Staying true to its core philosophy, minimalistic images of products switches to images of models using the product by pointing a cursor (Figure 7). ‘Inclusive beauty for all’ message is also reinforced. Below the product images, a viewer can see the product being used by women of varying skin tones (Figure 8). The language used to describe the products is in chirpy and casual tones.
  1. Serve: Besides the virtual shop, the website is loaded with additional features to attract their target segment. Articles penned by a mix of consumers, editors, and influencers are styled to resonate with an ordinary individual. For instance, tutorials are titled on situations such as “My alarm didn’t go off! (7-minute makeup guide)” (Figure 9). The website also offers Glossier branded digital assets such as screensavers, quizzes, playlists, and stickers to be downloaded for free (Figure 10).

II Social media channels:

Glossier uses various social media platforms to generate traffic to the site, encourage purchase behaviour, and co-create (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004) powerful content with its customers. Using Parent, Planger and Dhal’s (2011) 6C model of social media engagement, it acheives consumer engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube by:

  1. pushing content to the community on its social networks through regular reposts of articles from Into The Gloss about beauty tips, hacks, and interviews with strong female personality (Figure 11)
  2. pushing content to the consumers and streaming on social networks by creating tutorials videos featuring models and influencers. For instance, #GetReadyWithMe series shows various uses of Glossier products relatable situations (Figure 12)
  3. by co-creating content with its customers such as memes and consumer’s images with Glossier tagged (Figure 13)
  4. engaging the community by posting reactions, and replying to their comments (Figure 14)
  5. by conversing with its customers through interactive quizzes and replying to their posted questions on Instagram stories (Figure 15).

A brand-driven website and social media channels have helped Glossier generate awareness about the brand, drive purchase behaviour, and through interactive communications, engage with its community and customers. Next section examines Glossier’s use of influencers to reach different customer segments.

 

Figure 8 Instead of product images, images of women in varying skin tones are featured (Glossier.com)

Figure 9 Articles on the website (Glossier.com)

Figure 10 Branded digital assets available for download (Glossier.com)

 

Figure 11 Reposting interviews and articles (Glossier FB and Twitter)

Figure 12 #GetReadywithMe series on Glossier YouTube

 

Figure 13 Glossier reposts of UGC (Glossier FB, Instagram and Twitter)

 

Figure 14 Glossier reposts of reactions and comments (Glossier Instagram, FB and Twitter)

Figure 15 Glossier conversing with its customers (Glossier Instagram stories, FB reviews and Twitter)

 The Glossier gang 

According to Schaefer (2012, p. 5) consumers with substantial online following represent a new type of opinion leader and are known as citizen influencers (CIs). These influencers persuade followers and influence their decisions through User-Generated Content. Deriving from a blog, Glossier was in a unique position to tap into a community of existing CIs who were familiar and passionate about its cause.

During its early days, the brand relied heavily on referrals through the community of Into the Gloss. The community was directly called on to support the brand in a personal letter by its founder (Figure 16). In another instance, Glossier did not use “commercial influencers” to announce the launch of a product and instead identified 500 superfans, that are engaged with the brand, and sent them the products to use (Rogers, 2018: online). From time to time, the brand features fan’s feedback on their social media channels. It also awards most engaged supporters by providing them new products, regularly reposting fan emails, tweets, etc…, and rewards influential community members by offering them previews of products, and dinner with Emily (Giacobbe, 2017: online).

 

Figure 16 Emily Weiss’s letter to Into The Gloss community announcing launch of Glossier (Weiss, 2014)

Conclusion

Glossier is an unconventional brand. Glossier’s geniuses lies in its ability to capture and interpret consumer behaviour in digital space and to translate this behaviour to own a space in consumers mind. It analyses customers behaviour, crafts products based on their feedback, adopts the way their target customers interact and speak about beauty products, and positions themselves within that space. This is reflected in their branding, website, social media platforms, and use of influential community members. Based on above analysis and evidences, it can be concluded that Glossier has inspired a cult-like following because of its emphasis on digital marketing.

References

  • Aaker, D. A. (2010) The Brand Identity System in Building Strong Brands. London: Pockets Book, p. 68. 
  • Bruner, R. (2016) This beauty startup has become so popular that it has 10,000 people on a waitlist for lipstick’ , Business Insider UK [online], 24th May 2016.
    Available at: http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-glossier-became-so-popular-2016-5
    [Accessed 15 October 2018].
  • Chaffey, D. & Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2016) ‘Introducing Digital Marketing’ in Digital marketing. Harlow: Pearson Education, p. 18.
  • Facebook (2018). Glossier. [online]
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  • Instagram (2018). Glossier. [online]
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  • Interactive communications – Deighton, J. (1996) ‘The Future of Interactive Marketing’, Harvard Business Review. Nov-Dec, 151-152.​
  • Giacobbe, A. (2017) ‘How Glossier Hacked Social Media to Build A Cult-Like Following‘, Entrepreneur [online], 15th August 2017.
    Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/298014
    [Accessed 15 October 2018]
  • Glossier (2018) About Us: Glossier. [online]
    Available at: https://www.glossier.com/about
    [Accessed 15 October 2018].
  • Glossier (2018) Shipping to: [online]
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    [Accessed 15 October 2018].
  • Mandell, J. (2018) ‘Glossier Just Got $52 Million In Fresh Capital, Bringing Total Funding To $86 Million’,  Forbes [online], 22nd February 2018 .
    Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jannamandell/2018/02/22/glossier-just-got-52-million-in-fresh-capital-bringing-total-funding-to-86-million/#6ddc112b6856
    [Accessed 15 October 2018].
  • Parent, M., Plangger, K. and Bal, A. (2011). ‘The new WTP: Willingness to participate’, Business horizons [online], 54(3), pp.219-229.
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  • Prahalad, C.K and Ramaswamy,V. (2004). Co-creation expereinces: the next practice in value creation. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 18(3), 5-14.
  • Rogers, C. (2018) ‘Why direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier is ripping up the marketing playbook’, Marketing Week [online], 25th June 2018.
    Available at: https://www.marketingweek.com/2018/06/25/glossier-ripping-up-marketing-playbook/
    [Accessed 18 October 2018].
  • Rowles, D. (2018) ‘Focusing on Value’ in Digital Branding: a complete step -by-step guide to strategy, tactics, tools and measurement . New York : Kogan Page, p. 14.
  • Twitter (2018). Glossier. [online]
  • Available at: https://twitter.com/glossier
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  • W.Schaefer, M. (2012) The Rise of the Citizen Influencer in Return on Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing. New York : McGraw‐Hill, p. 5.
  • Weiss, E. (2014) ‘Introducing Glossier’, Into The Gloss, October. [online]
    Available at: https://intothegloss.com/2014/10/emily-weiss-glossier/
    [Accessed 15 October 2018].
  • Weiss, E. (2016) ‘This beauty startup has become so popular that it has 10,000 people on a waitlist for lipstick’. Interviewed by Raisa Bruner for Business Insider [online], 24th May 2016.
  • Available at: http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-glossier-became-so-popular-2016-5
    [Accessed 15 October 2018].
  • YouTube (2018). Glossier. [online]
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