We’re about three months shy of the one year anniversary of the beauty brand launch that singlehandedly had many brands in the beauty industry SHOOK. And since Fenty Beauty has been a topic of conversation that comes up pretty often while I’m with other beauty brands, I figured I’d put all my recent thoughts in a blog post.
While “mainstream” brands like MAC, Make Up For Ever, Cover FX, BECCA, Lancome, Estee Lauder, etc. have had a shade range that included shades for deeper complexions (and of course there are the black-owned or black-focused brands who have always had us in mind), the Fenty Beauty launch had some of the usual suspects who were serving us the same 50 shades of beige over and over, SHOOK. I laughed until real tears came out of my eyes at brands that were suddenly bragging about their 14 shade range. Like, GURL are you for real?!?! Now I do have to say that some people are incorrectly directing shade to brands that have long had a 40-shade range or more as copying or being shook for reminding consumers that they, too have a diverse shade range. While I will continue to side eye brands that have like eight shades, I do think we should encourage the brands that are trying. I LOVE that Fenty Beauty has really shaken things up because now these brands know they need to step it up and are expanding. Plus part of the positioning plan is that the FULL Fenty Beauty foundation range (yes, ALL of the shades) is available everywhere around the world. You can be in the least diverse part of the world and still find the 300 and 400-range fully popping (of course this depends on stock—things can sell out). I’ve been to a number of countries around the world where the only viable option for darker skin tones is MAC. You can be in Poland and still get the full Fenty range (when I went in 2012 I think I along with Felicia from ThisThatBeauty made up part of the most Black people they’ve had in the country at one time…lol). This forces brands to compete and offer all available shades in store. It also forces retailers to make more room for brands with larger shade ranges. For example Cover FX originally had a 30+ shade range and extended it by an additional 12 or so shades a few years ago (see the shade extension here). BUT they only had but so much room on the Sephora and Ulta displays so many of the new shades were only available online. I went into Sephora the other day and noticed that ALL shades including the extensions of the new Cover FX Power Play foundations were on display in-store—not sure if this was already planned but if I were the brand I would definitely fight to have ALL of the shades I have available on display in stores. I also suspect that BECCA repackaged their Ultimate Coverage foundation so that you could actually see the shade range after the popularity of the Fenty Beauty launch.
Fenty Beauty also has a clear social media voice. It helps that they have Rihanna to draw from but the brand isn’t just a clone of the record-breaking pop singer. I think it would have been really easy for the brand to just have the marketing and social media plan be centered around Rihanna because SO many people love and stan for her (and shoot, I would be right in there soaking it up, too), but I really appreciate that the brand really focuses on its fan base and customers. Of course Rihanna is out here slaying red carpet moments wearing Fenty Beauty and she does makeup videos that you want to watch on loop until your device runs out of batteries, but it’s a great mix between the consumer and the star. Like seriously they ARE KILLING IT. I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of beauty brands weren’t really grasping social media coupled with their own traditional brand messaging and aesthetics. It seemed as if many brands were just reposting what was popular and EVERYTHING looked the same.
I love that with Fenty Beauty’s Instagram, I don’t have to scroll and scroll and scroll to find an image of the ONE girl who looks somewhat similar to me. It’s not just about throwing a black girl in the mix just to keep up with the quota so you don’t seem completely white washed. It’s the DIVERSITY of the black girl mix that has me hooked (I’ve noticed this about other racial and ethnic groups represented on Fenty Beauty, but of course I’m Black so the focus here is on black people). I LOVE all the popular black girl influencers out there, but some brands use the SAME influencers all the time and it feels lazy and like we’re an afterthought. I’ve come across so many awesome influencers with all sorts of follower counts on Fenty Beauty’s Instagram. Honestly, I wish brands in general would stop with this minimum follower count for EVERYTHING—it makes people do desperate things like buy followers and then people who may not have a ton of followers but are EXTREMELY talented get very little shine. I LOVE when Fenty Beauty does their Friday IG takeovers because they really choose some awesome people of all shades and makeup styles who have great energy to show us their makeup looks. I also love the innovative ways they show us how to use their products and how easy and fun it is to follow.
I also love that we get to meet the people behind the scenes at Fenty Beauty. I’ve mentioned this before from my financial services past, but one of the BIGGEST and most valuable things I learned in sales training is that people do business with people they know and like. Mind you I learned this WAY before social media is the widespread phenomenon it is now. This is not a plan that will work for every company out there (because you really have to be a people person for that…lol), but it is great to actually SEE the people behind your favorite brands and Fenty Beauty does this very well. Right now there’s a FAQ highlight on their page answering questions about their latest summer collection launch coming right to us from a member of their social media team.
This is NOT a brand where a celeb just slaps their name on something to get a quick coin. This is well though out, calculated, and you can feel the passion behind their love of the consumer first. With all the love they pour into the fans, you see it reflected in every aspect from the products to the marketing to the social media postings. I’m in love. As someone with a marketing background who loves beauty, this has me geeked ALL THE WAY OUT.
Here’s just a small sampling of the posts that caught my eye.
I’d love for you to share your thoughts on Fenty Beauty and the beauty industry right now in the comments!
See more Fenty Beauty posts here.
See more foundation reviews and swatches here.