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Finding your brand’s beauty cause – stories of social media success

L’Oréal’s “Destination Beauty” relaunch was more than just a facelift. It was a radical redirection. The brand converted from a brand channel into a brand-sponsored, vlogger/creator-curated channel. A bold shift, but a smart one considering the appeal of the vlogger community. But this is not simply a brand following the lead of beauty influencers. There’s much more to L’Oréal’s social media strategy.

“Destination Beauty” is single-mindedly, utterly dedicated to tutorials from vloggers passionate about beauty. There are no ads or overt product plugs, it’s all about learning. The theme is carried across L’Oréal’s breakthrough online magazine and Pinterest site: makeup.com. You’ll find ads in the magazine, but the focus is education. The Pinterest site is built around themed tutorials, from summer make-up to festival fun, and is hosted by L’Oréal representatives, not content creators.

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What we’re looking at is a commitment to a bigger cause – in this case, education first and foremost.

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Dove’s approach or “cause” is different. Its Facebook success is due in large part to its bold social experiments or commentaries with incredible, very shareable video content. 2014’s “Real Beauty Sketches” video is the most viral ad video of all time, notching up an astonishing 114 million views within a month of its release. The social experiment asked an FBI sketch artist to draw women first based on their own self-perception and then based on that of a stranger. Another social experiment on Twitter in 2015, “#SpeakBeautiful”, used technology to identify negative tweets about body image and respond in real time.

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Dove’s recent social experiment captured on video, “#ChooseBeautiful”, invited women around the world to choose the “Beautiful” or “Average” door. Just like L’Oréal’s content, Dove’s content feels authentic. However cleverly packaged, it is, after all, largely a documentation of real lives.

Unlike some rivals, it doesn’t try to capture every breaking news story or trend. Just as intently as L’Oréal focuses on practical support, Dove devotes its energy to emotional support. Once again, a brand “cause” is the driving force behind the content: building women’s self-esteem.

The Chanel brand provides a unique service which befits an upmarket, aspirational brand. Through behind-the-fashion-show-scenes videos and celebrity photographs its social media content is, effectively, a passport to the world of high fashion. Beautiful videos and images are the whole point, making Instagram Chanel’s natural home.

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Three top brands, three very different strategies. Chanel offers access to the exclusive world of high fashion, Dove builds women’s self-esteem, and L’Oréal educates.

What is clear is that the brands faring best against the all-powerful vloggers and achieving sustained success are mastering one distinct cause and doing it well. So perhaps the most important question to ask is not “what can we share?” but “how can we best support our cause?”

For more information please contact Tanja Weber at tanja.weber@gfk.com.

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