Beauty Brands Bet Big On Inclusivity With A Focus On Gen Z, This Festive Season

Here, beauty brands shed light on their strategies for this festive season, the experiential push and more.

As the festive season unfolds in India, advertising strategies are evolving to embrace the dynamic landscape of experiential marketing. Brands are tapping into the power of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to create immersive campaigns that captivate consumers. This shift towards interactive experiences not only enhances brand engagement but also aligns with the growing trend of exploring the Metaverse, where virtual and real worlds converge. Inclusivity focused on Gen Z takes center stage as marketers weave narratives that resonate with diverse audiences, celebrating the cultural richness of the season. Beauty brands, in particular, are leveraging these technologies to offer virtual try-on experiences, ensuring that their products cater to a wide spectrum of skin tones and features, fostering a sense of belonging among consumers.

BW Marketing World spoke to beauty brands who shed light on their strategies for this festive season, the experiential push and more.

Inclusivity with a focus on Gen Z

Targeted communication by beauty/cosmetic brands is taken up to reach out to Gen Z. How are brands making their communication more inclusive to target groups across ages for this festive season?

Speaking on behalf of Tata CLiQ Palette, Gopal Asthana, CEO, Tata CLiQ mentions that they are dedicated to making their communication strategies more inclusive, catering to diverse age groups while maintaining a focus on Gen Z. “To achieve this, we are leveraging the influence of relevant creator community to establish a stronger connect with GenZ. Apart from this, our approach involves showcasing the latest trends spanning from Diwali to Halloween, ensuring that our communication resonates with various festivities and celebrations across age groups.

Whether it's travel-friendly solutions or to glamming up for wedding celebrations or parties, we are spotlighting hero products on the app that is tailored to match the needs and preferences of GenZ.”

Harmeet Singh - VP, Marketing, Product, & Digital, The Body Shop Asia South states that inclusivity is one of their top priorities. Since they cater to a diverse clientele, they reach out to them through various mediums. The omnichannel approach has worked best for them in terms of getting their message across to existing and potential customers. 

She specifies, “The digital landscape, particularly social media and e-commerce websites, is a crucial medium that helps us maintain a solid online presence and reach a wide audience. Quality content on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube enables us to engage with customers whose values and ethics, i.e., inclination toward sustainability and inclusivity align with ours. The Body Shop also utilises influencer marketing, which is effective in reaching the brand’s GenZ audience. 

While the digital medium offers a vast playground to be inclusive in our communication with customers, the significance of physical retail spaces remains powerful. All of The Body Shop’s stores offer unique, immersive experiences where customers can not only try our products before purchasing but also understand us as a brand and join us in our quest for social and environmental awareness. Our physical stores have gifting stations, a dedicated area within the store where customers can choose from curated and customised vegan gift sets, as well as assistance from experts in the store. Our retail stores serve as a strong medium of communication and marketing for the brand.”

“Overall, The Body Shop focuses on customer experience, which lies at the heart of our brand. We have an extensive collection of products that are gender-neutral and transversal in nature, crafted with the finest ingredients sourced ethically. Our products, which are available for every budget starting from Rs 595, are formulated to cater to various skin types and offer an indulgent experience,” Singh brings out.

Swiss Beauty has consistently upheld a commitment to inclusivity in its marketing initiatives, exemplified by campaigns such as ‘GlassItGlossIt. Saahil Nayar, CEO, Swiss Beauty points out, “For the festive season, our brand has taken a conscious approach to embrace cultural diversity, ranging from Navratri in Gujarat to Durga Puja in Kolkata. Our targeted approach is to build on inclusivity where we are trying to engage with consumers from all walks of age groups including Gen Z. Our festive campaign #makeupbinafestivekaisa has been adapted to celebrate inclusiveness. We have created specialized content categories such as interesting festive makeup looks, engaging viral makeup recreations, instructive material, tips & hacks to address customers top needs during festive season. We have put attention into designing beauty kits that will enhance the beauty experience of our customers.”

The experiential marketing push 

How and why is experiential marketing playing a significant role in getting consumers to engage with brands during this time? Nayar believes that experiential marketing plays a pivotal role in engaging with consumers. “Historically, many people have felt overwhelmed when it comes to understanding makeup and using colour cosmetics. At Swiss Beauty, we are not merely focused on selling makeup products, rather, we aspire to teach, make it experiential and give consumers a hands-on experience that creates a real connection with makeup products, making makeup BFF. Consequently, our brand places a core focus on experiential marketing.”

He goes on, “This festive season, we have expanded customer engagement this year via customized makeup sessions and masterclasses presented in our Exclusive Brand Outlets (EBOs). We have also executed an out-of-home (OOH) marketing to maximize our reach to larger audiences. Furthermore, we are making the most of our social media platforms via collaborating with a diverse group of content creators with highly engaging and relatable content that resonates with consumers in different regions.”

Singh understands that crafting an immersive, one-of-a-kind experience for customers plays a crucial role in determining the impression you make on customers and the connection you build with them as a brand. “The Body Shop provides the best possible experience to customers through various mediums. For instance, all of our 200 physical retail stores in 75 cities offer a unique experience with all the new Activist Workshop stores.” It has features like:

  • ‘Gifting stations’ from where customers can choose from a wide range of sustainable and vegan gifts, including customised sets.
  • Body Butter tower at our stores featuring a diverse range of indulgent options from British Rose, Mango, Avocado, Shea, Hemp, Almond and more.
  • The stores have RRR (Return, Recycle, Repeat) concept, where customers can easily recycle the packaging of any of The Body Shop’s products.
  • Our activist workshop stores also include sustainable store fixtures that depict unique pieces made from reclaimed wood and recycled plastics.

Coming to The Body Shop’s digital presence and the experience it offers through online mediums:

  • The immersive content, customers can avail of exclusive discounts through online purchases.
  • Opting for samples of products to elevate their experience with the brand.
  • Digital campaign like recently launched, #SparkAChange draws attention to the gift pouches handcrafted by a community of women from The Teddy Exports, their long-standing Community Fair Trade partner.
  • Create your own gift on their website, creating a 360° approach.

AR, VR, and Metaverse for beauty brands

With AR, VR, Metaverse becoming many a brand's favourite in the beauty/cosmetics industry, how have brands been building up on these strongly for the festive season?

Singh does recognise the importance of enhancing their online presence. “We are excited to introduce our brand-new app to meet our customers' evolving needs. This digital platform is designed to offer an enhanced user experience, allowing customers to avail of our products at the click of a button. Furthermore, we understand that shifting shopping mediums can be difficult, and we endeavour to support our customers at every step.”

“However, we cherish the sensory experience that our brick-and-mortar stores offer. Our physical stores are not just retail spaces but gateways to exploration, education, and self-discovery. We have thoughtfully crafted an environment where customers can interact with our products, explore our unique ingredients, and understand the positive change they can contribute to by choosing The Body Shop,” she adds.

Nayar comprehends that Indian brands are witnessing a significant trend in AR, VR, and the Metaverse this festive season and in the years to come. “Leading brands are embracing these new-age technologies to enhance the online shopping experience for products in beauty, apparel, hair, and more. These techniques allow customers to virtually test a wide range of products with the ease of their mobile devices and provide insights on how a specific product will look on different skin tones, hair types, or facial features. Consumers can explore different looks and styles, making well-informed purchase decisions. We strongly believe that the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in the beauty industry has great potential to engage customers effectively. We're currently working on something very interesting, and we expect the platform to be ready very soon so stay tuned.”

In line with industry trends, Tata CLiQ Palette has recognised the potential of AR, VR, and metaverse technologies in the beauty and cosmetics sector. “At Tata CLiQ Palette, we recognise that beauty is very personal, and everyone’s beauty journey is unique. Hence, our app features state-of-the-art AI-enabled Beauty ID technology that personalises every customer’s experience to match their unique beauty needs. It is a one-stop destination for all things beauty offering personalised recommendations on beauty products to consumers based on their specific hair and skin types, beauty goals, and more,” says Asthana.

“Our tech-enabled omni-channel beauty stores seamlessly integrate technology to help customers find their right beauty match. From virtual try-ons to skin analysers and magic mirrors, these advanced tools provide customers with an authentic and personalised beauty experience, ensuring that their purchases are tailored to their unique preferences. By integrating these technologies, we are committed to enhancing customer satisfaction and confidence, making their shopping experience both innovative and enjoyable,” he wraps up.

In the vibrant tapestry of India's festive season, advertising seamlessly blends tradition with innovation, as beauty brands transcend boundaries through inclusivity, AR and VR experiences, Metaverse - heralding a new era of experiential marketing.