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Experiential Marketing for Beauty Brands

    The beauty industry is fiercely competitive, so brands have to continue to think of new ways to engage with and entertain their customers. One way is through the use of experiential marketing, which many beauty brands have already started to incorporate into their marketing strategies. Here are some of the ways—inspired by real examples—that beauty brands can use experiential marketing:

    Pop-Up Shops

    Customers rely on beauty experts and make-up artists to teach them about how to use and apply beauty products, which is why a pop-up shop makes perfect sense for beauty brands. Pop-up shops for beauty brands can bring customers together with beauty experts so they can learn about new products, determine what’s right for their unique needs, and then watch as beauty experts teach them how to use each product. Customers will walk away feeling connected to your brand and empowered with the knowledge to buy her own products now that she knows what works and what doesn’t. Beauty brands can even tie in contests or giveaways to make their pop-up shops more exciting. For example, brands can offer make-up makeovers to a few lucky winners.

    Fashion brands can also benefit from experiential marketing pop-up shop events. Just last year, women’s clothing line Tibi chose to host a pop-up shop event before its runway show. The event was open to all Tibi fans, so they were able to experience a small part of Fashion Week that is usually only offered to people with influence in the industry.

    As you can see, pop-up shop events are a great way to promote interaction between brand representatives and customers, and to make the customer feel more appreciated and valued.

    Large Scale Sample Distribution

    But, beauty brands don’t necessarily have to host a pop-up shop to get customers to try their products. For years, beauty brands have partnered with magazines to give out small samples of their products, which are usually attached to a cardboard insert inside the magazine. However, this traditional method only allows for the brand to communicate to the consumer, but not vice versa.

    In 2016, Benefit Cosmetics took an innovative approach to this old technique by including a sample of their new Roller Lash mascara alongside a cardboard “selfie frame” inside Elle magazine. Readers were encouraged to try the new mascara and then take a picture of their lashes surrounded by the selfie frame, which was covered in Benefit’s branding and included a picture of the Roller Lash product. Over 7,000 selfies were shared on social media, and over 38,000 tweets were sent using the hashtag found on the selfie frame.

    Benefit did not just ask customers to try its new product—instead the brand asked customers to try it and then send in their feedback online. By encouraging two way communication, Benefit found huge success with this large scale sample distribution. Many beauty brands rely on influencers to promote their products, especially if they are launching a new one, but this experiential marketing example shows the power of regular customers.

    “Retail Theater”

    Cosmetics are used to make women feel more beautiful, so it’s no surprise that many cosmetic brands design visually stunning events to draw attention to their products. For example, MAC promoted the launch of its “Alluring Aquatics” line by placing a 12-foot water tank with synchronized swimmers on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. The tank’s glass was bright teal and accented with water drops to look just like the packaging of the makeup. Glamorous synchronized swimmers performed for the many people who stopped to watch on the streets of Los Angeles. Anyone who stopped by was also invited to book an appointment with one of the professional MAC make-up artists who were on hand to consult with customers at the event.

    This combination of retail sales and eye-catching theatrics is known as “retail theater,” and it’s perfect for beauty-related experiential marketing events. The theatrics at this event were so striking that many people stopped to take pictures that were shared on social media and effective in building buzz around the event. Not only did MAC successfully increase awareness of their new product line by using retail theater, but they also strengthened the association between the MAC brand and beauty.

    Engage Customers’ Senses

    Beauty brands have the unique opportunity to engage more than one of their guests’ senses during an experiential marketing event. Sephora did just that with its “Sensorium: An Immersive Journey Through Lucid Dreams From the Sensory World” experiential marketing campaign designed to promote the retailer’s fragrances. The Sensorium was launched in New York and open to anyone who was interested in entering and taking an “interactive journey” to experience fragrances like never before. Guests were taken into a sensory deprivation chamber where they listened to stories from people who had lost their sense of smell. Then, guests were taken into different rooms where they were surrounded by intense smells that reflected what was being shown on the video screens. For example, one room with wall-to-wall screens showing images of spring smelled like fresh flowers and other springtime scents. The last part of the exhibit invited guests to pick up and try different Sephora fragrances to find their perfect scent.

    Consumers usually purchase a fragrance based on how it smells, but this event allowed Sephora to change the way people view fragrances. Throughout the event, Sephora engaged with each attendee’s sense of sight, sound, smell, and touch. People who attended the event may now have a newfound appreciation to fragrances and a deeper connection to Sephora.

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