Beauty Store Business

DEC 2017

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14 December 2017 | beautystorebusiness.com ACTIVISTS FOR ALL "To date, Generation Z is the most ethni- cally diverse class, and very progressive in attitudes to race, gender, sexuality and feminism," Greene says. "Malala comes out over Beyoncé as a hero to admire." As such, they demand heterogeneity in how they're represented. This is the group that called out Marc Jacobs for using dread- locks in his spring 2017 catwalk show, accusing him of cultural appropriation. They are vocal, critical, conscientious and unafraid to speak their minds. "While millennials care about issues like the environment and politics on quite a superficial level, Gen Z are planet Earth's true activists," Greene divulges. Brands can respond by taking care to always be transparent, and forgoing binary notions of gender, especially as it relates to beauty categories. CoverGirl is a good example. The 56-year-old cosmetics company recently got a fresh makeover by launching its first campaign starring James Charles, a young teenage male influencer. "Among Gen Z, gender fluidity and neutrality prevail, and will endure as consequential themes," Greene predicts. Of course, the lines between worlds virtual and real get blurred: Online, these forward-thinkers likewise play with their identities. "They see their faces, like their Snapchat social channels, as canvases to manipulate, waxing creative via the appli- cation of filters, emojis and multicolored accent marks," Greene explains. When it comes to skin care, they value efficacy, and that puts companies like Proactiv, the dermatologist-developed acne brand, in top running. Here is the demographic that might not only shake but even shatter the status quo by insist- ing that beauty pros craft products for all skin and hair types, then represent every body shape, gender and sexual orienta- tion in campaigns. Bleach London has so far done it right. An edgy tone of voice, vibrant social-media presence plus a full panoply of rainbow colors for all ethnicities align into a winning combination for this cheeky hair-dye company. Taken together, such factors might combine to forge a sector of self-starters. Many employers currently predict that students between the ages of 16 and 18 will either pursue an online college educa- tion or save themselves insurmountable post-graduation debt by forgoing higher learning altogether, opting to go straight into the workforce or taking an appren- ticeship position after leaving high school. Today's teens are entrepreneurs: Nearly 72 percent affirm they'd one day like to launch a business. Because they view themselves as content creators astute enough to exploit digital platforms for the successful formation of businesses, enter- tainment empires and charity networks, they do not consume brands or celebrity culture in traditional ways. "Gen Z looks to peers as celebrities," Greene says. "And they see themselves—not you—as the brand." With retailers like Sephora, Ulta and Urban Outfitters successfully reaching Gen Z, independent beauty stores will need to adopt similar marketing strategies, perhaps with their own unique spin, to capture this savvy group of beauty consumers. ■ Francesca Moisin is a beauty and haircare writer based in Rockport, MA. MARKETING TO GEN Z Rachel Johnson, an experienced marketer and trend forecaster, has worked for brands like Cynthia Rowley, Laundry by Shelli Segal and Hyatt. Here, she shares the top 5 best Gen Z marketing practices. 1. Get Real: Authenticity is key for today's marketers. Gen Z buyers get instantly turned off when brands push product in a manner that feels disingenuous. Ditto for influencers hocking wares on Instagram. In fact, 63 percent of this demographic say they'd rather see real people as opposed to celebs in ads. It's obvious to Gen Zers when a known person is paid for a partnership. They quickly realize if it's off-brand, and unapologetically disengage. 2. Nix the Box: TV, especially real-time television, is not a high priority for Gen Z, so commercials don't even hit their radar. Instead, nine out of 10 watch YouTube daily, and 70 percent have stated that they prefer streaming over broadcast or cable. Guerrilla marketing may grab attention, but won't necessarily translate to sales. Thoughtfully targeted social- media ads and personal referrals from pals lure this group. Gen Z is also experiential, so free samples and purchase or discount incentives resonate. 3. Social Smartly: It's easy for all of us to grow exhausted by today's many forms of social media—and Gen Z is no exception. The novelty has worn off, and it's wearing them down. Jumping from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat is time-consuming, and they're looking for more instant ways to engage. That's why "here this instant, gone the next" platforms like Instagram Stories, Secret and Whisper have proven to be such a sweet spot. 4. Show You Care: Today's worldly conscious teens are inclined to support those companies displaying community involvement or strong social missions. They want the brands with which they align to take a stance on issues they deem important, be that sourcing artisanal products from third-world countries, spearheading environmentally conscious efforts or supporting organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Brands that weave an attempt to improve our planet into their mission statements resonate deeply with this youth bracket. 5. Tweak the Talk: Gen Z won't respond favorably if a brand is condescending or elitist. Talk with them, rather than at them, via a two-way conversation. Twitter has perfected this form of direct engagement, making interaction easily accessible. When done right, the relationship is symbiotic. Brands get real-time feedback—from tips if their website is experiencing a glitch or insight on whether consumers want a certain lip color back in stock—and young customers are made to feel important by getting voices heard. JGI/Jamie Grill

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