According to a report by Mintel, over 11% of beauty launches are being dictated by the seasons. But, what is it about the new seasons that provide such inspiration to beauty brands? How is the beauty world translating seasonality into products to meet the shift in consumer needs?
Seasons definitely affect change in the cosmetics category, but not in the ways you might expect. While some brands take the classic approach to celebrating the seasonal traditions by adapting seasonally inspired colors like deep, rich orange and regal, sophisticated burgundy for fall, other brands are going beyond what’s expected. Rather than focusing only on colors and holiday references, brands have adopted a broader interpretation of seasonality, often focused at giving the consumers more customized solutions for their seasonal needs.
Adorn (shown above) is a great example of a brand developing products to help their customer transition seamlessly between seasons with product innovations to help the consumers navigate their changing skin conditions and tones. Through its pen-sized printer with a built-in sensor, Adorn can match and dispense the right tone of foundation to the seasonally appropriate skin tone. No matter how the skin reacts to the season, consumers get a perfect, personalized foundation match.
Other brands take a more functional approach, introducing products inspired by the seasonal impact of weather. They offer a range that includes ingredients that protect skin in extreme weather conditions. Products like Aesop’s Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Hydrator are perfect for protection against stormy winter weather.
While some are taking a more seamless or even agnostic approach to seasons, other brands are doing just the opposite—leveraging new business strategies to deliver hyper-on-trend colors and designs at multiple times throughout a single season. 3INA updated its logistics to get faster to market for seasonal trends with a myriad of options to suit every occasion and desire. By providing highly relevant, on-trend options, the brand encourages consumers to try different styles and products more often.
What’s interesting about this broad approach to seasonal branding—whether innovative functional or hyper-trendy—is the continued desire to stay fresh and offer the consumers a new reason to purchase. This brings up a key universal dilemma for beauty brands: How to continue building long-term brand recognition while constantly re-inventing yourself?
It can be tempting to get caught up in the latest seasonal trends, but long-term brand equity should always trump short-term seasonal campaigns. Building consumer recognition and emotional connections requires a balance of consistency and newness.
Consistency comes from the brand’s key visual assets, including type, color, the logo, photography/illustration style, and other recognizable assets such as Sephora’s bold black and white stripes. These should be the elements that remain consistent from season to season; these should never be changed or modified for seasonal promotions. They are the consistent elements that deliver on your brand positioning and help build long-term brand understanding, recognition and recall.
Seasonal "newness" can be telegraphed from other cues outside the key brand assets. These aspects of your brand can be tailored to convey or signal a seasonal change to the consumer. They also keep consumer momentum and inspire more consistent engagement. For beauty brands, this means encouraging additional purchases outside the "classics" or "best sellers”.
One easy tip to help you balance long-term brand building with short-term seasonal campaigns is to stay true to your brand. The easiest way to adapt to the seasons in a “brand appropriate” way is to use your brand personality and strategy as a filter for decision-making. For example, a brand’s interpretation of fall trends for a beauty campaign is going to be very different if the brand personality is "optimistic, bold and contemporary" vs. "traditional, warm and caring." Remember your brand has a lot of interaction points beyond your product. There is a whole ecosystem of touch points and experiences to help bring your long-term and short-term brand stories to life.
Beauty brands are no longer just following conventions of the season. Now a season change means so much more for consumers and brands, because the consumer's world has adjusted and their eyes are open for something new to meet their evolving expectations. By embracing the season and consumer needs in a way that’s true to your brand strategy and personality, beauty brands can create a balance of consistency to drive recognition and freshness to create excitement for new products and innovations.