The term “crowdsourcing” immediately conjures images of funding platforms. However, while crowdsourcing is a good way to raise money, the beauty industry shows that it’s a useful tool that can leverage fans and followers into treasure troves for marketing and innovation.
But crowdsourcing isn’t just about askingpeople for their opinions. It’s about asking the right people, like followers of your brand’s social influencers, for guidance on industry trends and product referrals. Brand followers are already invested in the success of the company, so they’re willing and able to provide the kind of feedback that can help shape future offerings.
This is why beauty brands associate with social media influencers more than any other industry. The more popular the influencer, the larger the audience a brand can survey in order to gain insights it needs from its target demographics.
These three beauty brands have mastered the art of crowdsourcing, bringing buzz to their new products and creating diehard fan bases eager to participate. By mirroring the lessons that each one teaches, other brands can turn crowdsourcing into a valuable marketing tool.
1. Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner: It’s OK to start small.
Kylie Jenner, the youngest member of the Kardashian clan, has a massive social media following consisting mostly of Millennials and teens. And all of them look to Jenner to lead them into the next fashion and beauty trends.
Last year, the model/entrepreneur created a contest to allow one of her followers to name a shade in her Valentine Collection, a move that yielded thousands of responses in a matter of minutes. It was a wildly successful step and brought hype to the upcoming collection while making Jenner’s followers feel like their idol valued their opinions.
Brands can take a page from Jenner’s book without starring on a reality show. She didn’t ask her followers to design a whole kit — only to name one of the shades. By giving customers a small peek, beauty companies can test the waters for new products while giving fans a sense of pride and ownership in the result.
2. Julep: Feedback is key.
In the Julep Beauty Lab, online followers nicknamed “Mavens” test new products and participate in development from the outside. Julep crowdsources opinions to see which products prosper and fail, then it doubles down on the former. This real-time feedback speeds up the development process and lets Julep estimate market interest in new products without spending money on traditional research.
Followers are eager to share their opinions. Through Julep’s example, other beauty brands can leverage that craving to be on the cutting edge, bringing followers into the fold to gain faster feedback and slash product-to-market time.
3. Glossier: Tell people your story.
Emily Weiss launched her company’s Instagram page before there was even a company to promote. She took followers behind the scenes, opening the backstage area for people to watch the company prepare to launch. Within a month, Weiss accumulated 15,000 followers for a beauty brand that hadn’t released or even announced a single product.
Humanizing the brand helped Glossier connect to followers first so the company could sell products second. The company prides itself on the personal connections followers feel for the brand, producing candid marketing campaigns and crowdsourcing product ideas to keep the buzz going.
Glossier teaches other beauty brands to put the story first. When followers love what the brand stands for and feel a connection to the people running it, they will naturally want to help those people succeed by providing feedback on new products and allowing the brand to crowdsource the data it needs to be successful.
These beauty brands have remodeled crowdsourcing into a marketing innovation weapon that can transform advocates into product advisors, all while increasing brand loyalty. By following their examples, other brands can tap the power of crowdsourcing to make better products, slash production time, and make customers feel like valued team members.