6 Things I’ve Learned Writing for the Beauty Industry
- You have to be vain. Vanity is not a bad thing. At least, not in the proper dose. Advertising and vanity go hand in hand. It’s why you see so many beautiful women and hot guys working in advertising. It’s why you’re willing to spend an hour watching Don Draper be a likeable asshole.
- The definition of vanity is changing. Used to be, there were the beautiful people and the ugly people and some middle ground where celebrities like Mick Jagger and Sandra Bernhart occupied. But Andy Warhol (also in that middle) was right. Everyone is getting their 15 minutes of fame. So the face of beauty is changing faster than ever.
- Everyone knows what sodium lauryl sulfate is. And why parabens are not good things. Sure, it’s wealthy white women who know it most, but a younger generation is growing up with that information available everywhere. Teens are turning green. And when they become 20-somethings, spending their hard-earned, adult cash on cosmetics, the definition of beauty will also include knowing what goes into the products you’re using.
- No one cares what sodium lauryl sulfate is. They know what it is, but they don’t care—at least not as much as they do about looking good. So the winning brands will be the ones that give them both effectiveness and good looks. You can’t work less good.
- Tell your color story walking. The beauty industry owes its lifeblood to telling a good story. That seasonal take on colors with its catch phrases and dreamy imagery sells pretty powders again and again, economy be damned. And now, since everyone has the ability to tell their story, they are. We’re pitching the written word back and forth at an alarming rate. Something on the order of several billion pages per day, according to Google. So if you want your story heard, not only does it have to be a good one, it has to be where the people who want to hear it are. That means online and off, on desktop computer and mobile phone, 24/7. The message is the medium is the message. The winners will be as sensitive to this as a good cosmetics saleswoman is to your emotional yen for a new lipstick.
- Your compact will be WiFi. There is a marriage of beauty and technology waiting to happen. No one has yet to do it well. The avatar experiments and “your face here” apps are flawed failures and serve to make women feel less pretty and not involved. But we’re getting the hang of this tech thing. The time is ripe for beauty to release the killer app.