Recently, decision makers in the Beauty and Wellness Sector gathered to discuss how to better align retail and influencer marketing strategies for their brands. Their observations yielded a recognition in the increased speed of change in retail and how the role influencers play has already shifted greatly, though not in the way you would expect.  Consumers are overwhelmed with choices and the experiences shared here are new and interesting ways to position a brand for improved growth.  Considerations that effect many industries like the advent of CBD in products are also addressed.

From Nov. 13-15, decision-makers from the beauty and wellness industries gathered at the Glossy Beauty and Wellness Summit in Palm Springs, California. There, they discussed navigating retail and influencer marketing, keeping up with digital channels while maintaining an offline presence and establishing a brand’s DNA effectively.

With the constant and rapid evolution of these two segments, it can be difficult for brands to prioritize which areas to invest in and when. Should a brand be more focused on wholesale relationships or DTC? What type of retailer should a company try to partner with? And is CBD worth the legal hassle for a brand or retailer? Glossy collected some of the best comments from the event’s discussions about several topics including staying relevant in a fast-paced world and establishing fruitful influencer partnerships.

The importance of brand DNA and authenticity
“No. 1: Make a promise, and make it very clear to your customer. Write it all over your packaging, put it in huge letters, put it everywhere that you possibly can, and then follow through on your promise relentlessly. Two, your brand is alive, so treat it that way. Grow your brand and let your community grow it, and let it do things that you never expected it to do. And then lastly, repeat.” – Katey Hassan, Tula VP of brand marketing

“We started as a consultation brand where consumers would go to Saks and sit there for 45 minutes. It’s no longer a reality today to get a consumer to spend that much time with us. It’s really about figuring out the right ratio of offline and online [marketing] for your brand and then building off of that.” – Kristy Watson, Erno Laszlo CMO

“It’s really clear when someone does a licensing deal and slaps their name on something and picks a couple of colors, compared to when they have their sleeves rolled up. When they’re back in the warehouse dealing with the day-to-day dramas, that isn’t sexy, glamorous or fun at all. It’s really important to know every single aspect of your business.” –Annie Lawless, Lawless Beauty founder and CEO

On building relationships with influencers
“There was at one time a correlation between follower size and success, and I think it was all about being sort of a billboard. A lot of big brands were going to influencers to say, ‘Hey, you have all these followers, you are a billboard for us,’ but that doesn’t really work anymore. A lot of the conversations are happening on accounts with 10,000 followers or less. If I were a giant brand, I would be looking at those people to start with because there’s just more meaningful conversations going on there.” – Kristin Ess, Kristin Ess Hair Care founder

“These are not transactional relationships, and they’re not in-and-out just for PR. These are deep relationships. There is no script for the influencers we work with; they have complete creative control and can take the brand and post whatever they want, whenever they want. And we also don’t control or ask them to not use other skin-care products or beauty products.” –Katey Hassan, Tula Skincare vp of brand marketing

“We’re trying to figure out how to use influencers either for brand building or for getting data from those influencers. What are the right ones? Nano, micro, macro? We have talked about it to death. In the U.S., it’s an open market and not everything’s connected, so we’re trying to figure it out.” –Kristy Watson, Erno Laszlo CMO

Navigating the CBD market
“We’ve said no to amazing brands in the wellness space and in the CBD space, because I believe that when a new space is unfolding, more choice isn’t necessarily a good thing for the consumer. I think there is a potential there to end up sending her running in the opposite direction because she doesn’t know what to do with all of that choice.” – Cindy Deily, Sephora vp of skin care merchandising

“I wanted to focus on the ‘cannacurious’ consumer between the coasts, because they’re a little more conservative and I figured if I could re-educate people on what CBD is and what it is not, then it’s going to be a lot easier to have a conversation about the medicinal benefits [everywhere else].” –Michael Bumgarner, Cannuka founder and CEO

“My personal Instagram account has been banned, and I’ve gone as far as I can with Facebook asking why I cannot use their ad products. I was trying to promote an image of my three daughters, and they said it was promoting illegal substances. Being able to use the same levers a non-CBD brand has to pull in the DTC business is going to change the trajectory of our growth.” – Casey Georgeson, Saint Jane founder and CEO

“We took out a large campaign within malls to drive the consumer to our kiosks via mall advertising. When you go out with a specific call to action, in this case, ‘What CBD can do for you’ and ‘CBD for all,’ people want to know more. It’s been massive in creating awareness and understanding.” – Jann Parish, Green Growth Brands CMO

Choosing retail partners
“We treat Amazon like one entity, and our strategy is to try to unlock it for our brand. And when we weren’t on Amazon, we had a ton of pricing issues. We had a lot of reseller issues. So by being on Amazon, we can control that.” – Kristy Watson, Erno Laszlo CMO

“Less is more, when it comes to distribution. I’m a massive fan of [the idea that] when you’re with a retailer, you shouldn’t think about going to another one unless you’ve maxed out what you can build with that current retailer.” – Shaun Neff, Beach House Group founder

“We started with our locations as kiosks inside of malls throughout the country, with the intent of being at the right time in the right place as the CBD market continued to open up. The retailers come in because they see a kiosk and have an amazing experience, and our customers come in because they see a kiosk or have an online experience, and it opens a lot of doors for the brand.” – Jann Parish, Green Growth Brands CMO

Social media strategies
“We have a studio attached to our office, so whether it’s myself filming content, such as how-to posts for Instagram or YouTube, we have what we call ‘edutainment,’ which is educational entertainment on our YouTube channel.” – Nicole Faulkner, Morphe director of global artistry

“Since the beginning of my career I’ve had a big sister voice, so people know that they can come to me and they can ask me these questions, and that there’s a person behind the brand — versus emailing customer service or figuring it out on their own. I don’t think I’ll ever let go with that, no matter how big the company gets.” – Kristin Ess, Kristin Ess Hair Care founder

Evolving consumer preferences
“We know that other big retailers, including mass retailers, are now rolling out clean programs. It’s just more great options for consumers who obviously want more choice in this space.” – Cindy Deily, Sephora vp of skin care merchandising

“This crazy launch cadence has contributed to the softening of color cosmetics, and I think it is because the customer is fatigued. She’s been on this buying frenzy, and social media really contributed to this surge of makeup tutorials and online products constantly being reviewed and shoved down our throats. Now she’s saying, ‘I can’t take anymore. I have enough makeup, I’m taking a break.’” – Annie Lawless, Lawless Beauty founder and CEO

“People want products that have a different story. They’re following more lifestyle stuff like CBD products and stuff that stands for something greater or has a healing and wellness element to it.” – Nicole Faulkner, Morphe director of global artistry

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