While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to uproot the retail industry and play havoc on the beauty segment, in particular, there is growing evidence that consumers are still turning to purpose-driven brands when they do show.
The theory among many industry officials is that purpose-driven retailers and brands can build trust with customers, which results in greater sales. According to a survey by New York-based Deloitte Global, purpose-driven products are selling three times faster, on average, than their competitors.
The importance of leading with a purpose accelerated during the pandemic and the social unrest that gripped the nation. According to Deloitte Insights’ recently published 2021 Global Marketing Trends report, 79% of respondents surveyed had positive awareness of companies that responded during COVID-19 to help customers, workforces and communities. In the beauty industry, examples included companies shifting gears to produce hand sanitizers (which L’Oréal is credited with being the first to do) or donating to front-line workers.
Nearly 1 in 4 respondents strongly agreed that those actions favorably shifted brand perceptions. Additionally, 1 in 5 people surveyed strongly agreed that such moves pushed their buying preferences in favor of that brand.
Given the increased importance that consumers are putting on brands to be socially responsible, it is more crucial than ever for the beauty industry to do the right thing — from cutting down on the wasteful packaging endemic in the category to ensuring products offer shades for all skin tones.
Empathy rules, according to Joann Marks, CEO of Orlando, Fla.-based CosPro Marketing. Her company published a white paper on COVID-19 that encouraged brands during the pandemic to reach out to consumers on a more emotional basis. “Some 83% of consumers surveyed are more likely to support brands that help others during hard times,” she said. “They will remember these companies and develop lasting loyalty to them.”
The luxury beauty market traditionally has been associated with purpose-driven efforts. Over the past two years, however, the mass market has stepped up its game. Recently, Ulta Beauty launched its Conscious Beauty program, which is designed to help consumers make more informed beauty choices. The featured brands offer products that are clean, cruelty-free, vegan and sustainably packaged.
“The introduction of Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty reflects the incredible value we place on listening to our guests,” said Dave Kimbell, president of Ulta Beauty. “We consistently work to answer their evolving desires and, with this holistic effort, we’re aligning beauty choices with their personal values.”