On the 8th September 2017, world renowned Rihanna launched her first beauty line: Fenty Beauty, which turned into one of the most successful social media launches to date. Robyn Rihanna Fenty is the creator and founder of Fenty Beauty in collaboration with Kendo, the tag line for the brand being ‘beauty for all.’ She has adopted the recipe of a cosmetic line that is available for women of all skin colours, all undertones from all countries.
As you can see from her first promotional video, a diverse cast of models are hired to showcase the unique selling proposition that this brand is all inclusive.
The Fenty Beauty campaign is heavily reliant on digital marketing, with both the website and social media as platforms, which shows just how influential these channels can be.
Let’s have a look at the product range launched under Fenty Beauty: just a month after the launch, Rihanna created a Galaxy Collection of vibrant eyeshadow colours. Her range of foundation is what the brand has been praised for, offering 40+ shades from pale ivory to very dark. This lives up to the claim that her makeup brand is all inclusive. Fenty Beauty provides products for the face, eyes and now expanded its range to include lip products too.
Fenty Beauty products are sold in 17 different countries and can only be purchased in 2 main department stores: Sephora outside of the UK and Harvey Nichols within the UK. This gives the impression that the product range is exclusive. The company operates in the cosmetics industry selling a range of products and according to Consultancy, the global cosmetics market is estimated to be around 160£ billion in total. Loreal Paris are the market leaders of the cosmetics industry and have been deemed to have a market share of 13.7%, which makes it the most valuable organisation within the industry. Other competitors include Estee Lauder, Nivea and Clinique.
Price point strategy and hyper targeted demographics
Fenty Beauty prices its foundation at £26, which is cheaper than Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown. It is considerably cheaper compared to designer brands, however high street stores in the UK sell foundations at even cheaper prices, such as Rimmel London’s £8.99 foundation. Fenty Beauty are in the middle of the pricing spectrum, more expensive than high street brands yet cheaper than designer ones. In terms of business strategy, Kylie Cosmetics are the main competitors, both brands appeal to Millennials and heavily use digital marketing in order to promote their product portfolio. Also, both are heavily reliant on word of mouth, utilising social media to gain customers and attention.
The main product of Kylie’s Cosmetics is a lip kit priced at $27, the only different between Kylie’s lip kit and Rihanna’s is that Kylie Cosmetics fail to address ethnic diversity, something that Fenty Beauty made its USP.
Kylie Cosmetics portfolio does cater to women of different ethnicities and make its users feel involved with the brand. Fenty Beauty have been awarded as one of the top 25 inventions of 2017 by Time Magazine for offering makeup for all skin tones. Fenty, however, are the not the first to do so; in 2016, Loreal used very similar strategies with the launch of True Match Foundation, which offered 23 different shades for all ethnicities. At the time, Loreal’s was a unique marketing campaign as prior to this launch, most makeup brands only offered 15 different shades of foundation.
The aim of Fenty Beauty is to increase diversity within the cosmetics industry, and it did so by claiming to meet the needs of 98% of all skin tones in the UK. Loreal Paris utilised bloggers, celebrities and social media influencers in their True Match marketing campaign.
Fenty Beauty claims to be an all inclusive brand in the market of celebrity endorsed cosmetics. It is mentioned that Fenty Beauty is sold in department stores in 17 different countries and shipped to more than 115 countries globally. It’s key demographics target all skin types, including women with albinism, affecting 18,000 people in the US alone. The skin shades with albinism in mind has proven to be a success with women who found it difficult to match their fair skin with high street brand foundations.
It is reported that 34% of Millennials favour brands with a social media presence, and around 40% of Millennials communicate about brands using social media. Although Millennials are price sensitive, they value quality and follow brands that represent this, creating brand loyalty. The medium to high priced strategy of Fenty Beauty still appeal to customers with rare skin conditions.
Word of mouth marketing as digital strategy
Over 90% of the 150 million people on Instagram are under the age of 35, which makes it an attractive social media platform for celebrity endorsed brands. By using Rihanna’s celebrity account, Fenty Beauty is able to directly access more than 57 million followers, on a daily basis. The way in which consumers purchase products is changing; the process is no longer a linear sequence as reflected by the marketing funnel. Consumers can enter at any stage, or even skip stages to reach their final purchase. Recommendations from friends have changed the way in which consumers purchase beauty products, encouraging customers to enter at any stage of the funnel. Word of mouth marketing online has impacted the way in which we purchase beauty products; a more appropriate model for online retail consists of the consumer decision journey as a circular cycle consisting of consideration, evaluation, closure and post purchase. This is seen as a more accurate model because it includes repeat purchases; the flexibility of online retail purchasing and consumer loyalty.
Consumers can express their views, and spread awareness through social media platforms. An issue with word of mouth marketing across social media is that consumers are more likely to express negative rather than positive views. However, social media accounts are viewed as a reflection of personality where more effort is provided in promoting ourselves as more interesting online. This means that young consumers are more likely to write positive reviews online. The expression of oneself by writing website reviews, liking and sharing comments empowers consumers with more information creating networking power through social community.
The website UX and UI is vital to Fenty Beauty’s digital strategy
The Fenty website uses a pop out menu situated at the top of the page; this offers a more glamorous approach, inviting the customer to delve in deep. The mild complexity of location specific functions engages the viewer into browsing the site and noticing the other fun functions. Studies have shown a correlation between the complexity of search tools and increasing the viewer engagement which is apparent on the site. The design of the website incorporates ease of navigation with a breadcrumb layout; the viewer is shown a physical trail through the navigation throughout the site, and it is easy to locate the previous page. A study explains that breadcrumb navigation reduces disorientation in website structures and reduces errors in search. In terms in layout, Fenty has a similar approach to other cosmetics sites, such as MAC, with focus on minimalism and product identity. The use of bold text shows the name and rating of the product, which reduces information overload.
Continuing with the endorsement appeal, the website displays products chosen as Rihanna’s favourites, this gives the impression that customers can be like Rihanna, by purchasing her favourite products. From a marketing viewpoint, this is a way to highlight new, niche and underselling items to further market them.
A study conducted looked at the trust levels of customers on 2 varying online sites; it was found that there was a correlation between click through online ads and the trust of tailored algorithms. With this said, by highlighting Rihanna’s fave products, it will have a greater click through rate compared to other newly launched products. This makes sure that some products will have more demand appeal.
Youtube Platform As A Powerful Tool In Digital Marketing
Did you know that 300 hours of videos are being uploaded to YouTube every minute of the day, this shift to video content is essential to the digital marketing strategy of Fenty Beauty.
It takes the opportunity to create video content on YouTube, which is one of its main digital marketing channels. Even better, the YouTube network is global, 60% of creators views come from outside of their own home country, plus YouTube is localised in 73 countries, and available in 6 languages. By having a strong YouTube presence, the brand is able to reach incredible number of audiences as more and more people use this platform to engage with the brand and see what else it has to offer. The founder of Fenty Beauty has an enormous footprint on social media, with 25 million subscribers in Rihanna Vevo, 97,000 subscribers on Fenty Beauty channel. With this amount of social following, Fenty related YouTube videos have high visibility. As soon as you enter the Fenty YouTube Channel, an engaging video begins to play, immersing the viewer into the world of Fenty Beauty.
Viewers on YouTube are taken behind the scenes of the brand. It shows Rihanna’s involvement in the product’s success, in creating the product and showing the authenticity of the founder. Even Rihanna said that she has 100% involvement in the process, and was allowed to be part of the creative brain behind the brand formulas.
Now, we can examine the different categories on the Fenty YouTube channel; there is a category of different vloggers reviewing the Fenty beauty range. There are vlogger reviews of the darkest foundation shades, garnering millions of views for the review. The channel does not inhibit less than positive reviews of the product, which adds to the authenticity of the brand.
Other reviews about the quality and usability of the products adds credibility to the brand’s commitment to consumer satisfaction.
Having numerous positive reviews from trusted YouTube vloggers helps with huge organic and viral reach. It leverages the influence of well known online YouTube stars, which is essentially free publicity on a giant social media platform. As a result, Fenty Beauty is receiving a lot of attention from the beauty bloggers and their millions of followers. This is also beneficial in marketing to the younger spectrum of their target audience, as Millennials are more likely to purchase items that influencers recommended them.
This concept is called following the trends, and viewers see YouTube stars as creators instead of just celebrities, which makes them feel more connected to them. Being part of the Fenty family online gives the brand significant advantage as it creates compelling online content. Using social media marketing is an effective method of directing social media traffic to the product website, the link to the website is provided in the bio section of all Fenty Beauty social media pages.
However, there is a flaw in Fenty’s YouTube marketing; it is reliant on influencers positive reviews, and in creating an online reputation. Any negative press can be detrimental to the sales of Fenty Beauty products.
With regards to the YouTube channel, even if the viewers enjoy and are entertained by the video content, they are not guaranteed to go and buy products directly from the ecommerce website. In fact, studies have shown that crafting compelling content has a more positive effect on sales compared to influencers reviewing products.
Fenty Beauty Instagram Marketing
Instagram has become Rihanna’s competitive advantage; her Instagram page Fenty Beauty, was launched 1st August 2017, and 3 months later has already gained 2.1 million followers, a staggering number for the short time frame. It generated a lot of earned media value, about $45 million for the brand, from this channel alone.
There are many ways in which Rihanna uses Instagram to her advantage; 1. the packaging of her products are aesthetically pleasing and Instagrammable, and up to the official launch date, she posted teasers of her products, and the posts are accompanied by upbeat music. In the past few years, memes have become an Internet craze, one particular meme craze has been to use Rihanna’s facial expressions as a reaction to something. Rihanna has been clever in tapping into this meme craze herself, to entertain her audience. Rihanna also uses her personal Instagram, using her posts to drive consumers to the Fenty page or website. Even in her bio, she has Fenty Beauty out now, to increase awareness.
There is further use of her page to respond to any critique from competitors. For example, MakeUpForever claimed that Rihanna wasn’t the first to create 40 shades of foundation. Rihanna used Instagram to react and comment back. Another way to reach consumers is through the Harvey Nichols Instagram. The department store is very well connected to the Fenty Instagram page, and tagging #fentybeauty, regamming posts and etc.
Instagram Stories was introduced in 2016, and proved very successful. It even slowed rival SnapChat’s growth by 82%. Considering Instagram Stories isn’t the main feature of the platform, it still has more than 200 million users daily whereas SnapChat has only 160 million users. With these statistics, it is not surprising, that Fenty Beauty also uses Instagram Stories to post tutorials, release new products. However, one of the most important ways Fenty reaches their audience is through influencer marketing. It has become a very powerful tool in the world of social media; influencers are described as people who build a large network of followers, regarded as trusted tastemakers in one or several niches. One survey revealed that 28% of marketing managers believe that influencers is the fastest online consumer acquisition method. Therefore, it is no surprise that Rihanna incorporated influencer marketing and of course, she has celebrity status herself.
Rihanna uses a new type of celebrity to promote her brand; social media influencers fill up her feed including models, beauty bloggers and makeup artists. As a report from Intel states, influencer marketing allows brands to appear more diverse. This is clearly reflected in Rihanna’s Instagram-the influencers are from all over the world with their own diverse followers. Together, they reach a wide range of audiences.
Higher number of followers creates the perception of likability, and therefore, popularity.