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Staying relevant during COVID-19? Beauty companies turn to tech

As lockdown period is extended worldwide, cosmetics brands are seeking new ways to build their communities with technology at the forefront.

In an effort to appeal to consumers in lockdown, beauty brands are placing more focus on their community-building methods, embracing technology as a means of overcoming the barrier the industry as a whole is facing with sales via physical retail no longer an option.

The shift of their social strategies from product pushing to increased internet lifestyle content isn’t new — cosmetics brands have been incredibly active on the web for a while now — but their turn to music is. Live DJ sets on Instagram and specially tailored playlists are all the rage within the online beauty community at the moment while their audience remains under social distancing orders, a trend that’s been accelerated tenfold since quarantine began.

‘We’ve seen a huge uptick in interest in more content that is not specific to product,’ says Alleyoop founder, Leila Kashani Manshoory. ‘Although we’ve dabbled in lifestyle content before, it wasn’t nearly at the same level that we’re doing it today. I think the quarantine has made us step up our game because the interest is there, for sure.’

With Instagram stories that link directly to these playlists on their respective accounts, companies such as Bareminerals, Il Makiage, and Alleyoop are just a few of the big names in the industry that have been getting involved. Even Glossier is currently operating its own Spotify page with over thirty playlists accessible to the 17,000 followers they have on the platform (Mixtape 14 is definitely my favourite, have a listen here).

The compilations of these brands on Spotify and Apple music share similar themes of keeping motivated while at home as they continue trying to position themselves as lifestyle-oriented, but what’s proving most successful is the integration of music with IGTV.

In fact, despite being considerably overshadowed by TikTok (IGTV was only downloaded by 7 million people in comparison to TikTok’s 1.5 billion in the same time frame), IGTV seems to be making a significant comeback through beauty, as brands churn out content for users stuck indoors. And tapping into its increasing popularity seems to be the way forward, particularly for Youth to the People, a skin-care brand that hosted a one-hour DJ set on March 27 which brought in thousands of viewers from around the globe.

‘Music has definitely been something that’s been at the core of the brand,’ says co-founder Greg Gonzales. ‘We’ve had Spotify for two years now and we launched a concert series in LA earlier this year. Being in  quarantines what prompted us to host our first-ever DJ set over IGTV and we’ve started offering more raw content as well like classes on vegan cooking, yoga, and lymphatic release. It’s important that we adapt our programming and think about everything we’re doing.’

But, if you’re still wondering how this is benefiting brands, know that it’s the prioritisation of engagement over sales, of play over revenue, that’s keeping them afloat. In the long run, it’s totally transforming what these companies are at their core, and what’s apparent is that there’s certainly going to be more of a lifestyle focus in the future as long as technology is involved.