Finding my niche: Someone like me.
When I first started considering developing a concept for my own brand I always had at the forefront of my mind that I wanted it to be something that I would like to see in the market myself (Saunter, Shin, 2019). Having this introspective realisation of my own consumer needs made me realise that the right audience for my products would be people of a similar age and who have similar interest to mine, meaning : young adults, enthusiastic about the cosmetics industry and who practice conscious consumption habits (Saunter, Shin, 2019). Therefore, I started researching more about Gen Z and Millennials consumer mindset and how I could enhance my brand’s proposition by mirroring some of their preferences (Saunter, Shin, 2019).
The Gen Z consumer is attracted to experiences and products that can help promote their mental and emotional well-being, particularly if these are able to positively re-enforce messages of sustainability and inclusivity(Saunter, Shin, 2019). Purpose to purchase is a lifestyle choice for this generation and it is strongly determined by the whether ethical practices can be identified within a brand’s proposition (Saunter, Shin, 2019). This audience is closely involved with animal welfare and is known for favouring plant-based diets, on that note, animal-free beauty launches increased by 175% from 2013 to 2018 (Saunter, Shin, 2019). Additionally, anti-waste and cruelty-free are also becoming popular topics in the cosmetics landscape (Saunter, Shin, 2019). Similarly, Millennials are also ingredient conscious, and particularly prioritise products with a “clean” approach, and are willing to pay more for it if they consider the quality of formulation to be justifiable (Masory, 2019).
Gen Z is known for using social media as a mean to educate, advocate and connect with like-minded individuals (Saunter, Shin, 2019). Similarly, Millennials look into social media as a channel to form new relationships with brands who stand up for the same ethical and environmental standards and who promote an aspirational lifestyle (Masory, 2019). This demographic of consumers is pivotal at bringing awareness to inclusivity in the personal care industry, either being by promoting the need for less Caucasian-centric images of beauty or by breaking down gender barriers related to cosmetics use and consumption. Gen Z defies generalisation and with the presence of social media, it provides a platform for conversations about gender fluidity and ethnic diversity(Saunter, Shin, 2019). This positions this cohort at the forefront of gender fluidity activism as they challenge traditional perceptions of masculinity, in Korea there are over 44k YouTube “male idol make-up” videos, mostly created by teenage boys (Saunter, Shin, 2019).
Inclusivity & Transparency
The Gen Z audience is known as the most educated consumer base to date (Saunter, Shin, 2019). Having had access to widespread knowledge and online tutorials form an early age, this generation was able to decode and reject misleading corporate marketing strategies with ease and in response to that, they seek for reliable information in online communities (Saunter, Shin, 2019). As a result, the demand for authenticity and transparency across the industry is at an time high, giving power to consumers at expressing to brands what are some of their needs and concerns (Saunter, Shin, 2019).
After finding my niche audience and analysing some of their key characteristics I was able to have a better understanding of some of the most relevant consumer touchpoints my brand should be reaching in order to attract their attention. Fortunately for me, my brand’s demographic is very similar to me in terms of wants and needs, so I am able to use my own critical sense to re-enforce my decision making processes. Therefore, the takeaways of my research go as follow:
1. BRIXI should aim to resonate with consumers by demonstrating that ethical and environmental efforts are at the forefront of our brand ethos. This should not only be exhibited in the supply chain phase, but rather carried through as an omni-channel approach.
2. BRIXI should be actively trying to demonstrate acceptance and wider inclusivity within the skincare community. Promoting different ethnic backgrounds is not enough, we should also aim to create a genderless appeal to the brand.
3. BRIXI should be transparent with consumers and straight forward about our product formulations and brand purpose. Communicating with consumers and responding to their concerns is also key.
Finding the consumer: Social Media hunt
In order to create four realistic consumer profiles to inform my marketing document I made the decision to conduct a social media hunt looking for people who matched the description given by my research. I used my business skincare account to scout for consumers since I already followed a vast array of people who I knew would be potentially interested for a new e-co conscious and socially ethical skincare brand. It was also very important to me that I these people were all UK based, so that I could prove that this audience actually exists in the market brand would be primarily operating. Lastly, I wanted to make sure I had equal representation of genders, it is very important that the brand has an all-inclusive and genderless appeal.
After careful consideration, I was able to narrow down my search to four ideal candidates. I picked out these people because they offered a balanced mix between age, gender and the type of skincare content they posted about. The boys I sought have more of a skincare review oriented profile on Instagram, which would be great as a potential consumer as they are more likely to feel persuaded into trying something new. As for the girls, they are mostly invested in posting aesthetic still-life cosmetics imagery, which is also ideal because they could be potentially interested in the unique graphic quality of the brand’s products. Furthermore, they all met the criteria of being UK based.
Overall, the process of asking them to collaborate on my project was very relaxed. I had already previously engaged with all four of them by commenting on their posts and replying to stories – so the rapport had already been built to some extent. After messaging each one of them individually they all replied promptly and seemed keen to participate. I expressed to them the context of my request and explained that all I needed was for the to answer me one question and give me their consent to use their data on my document. I believe that this was a good way to go about it, because I made sure to emphasize that the task did not require “much effort” and that could be completed within minutes, making the possibility of them denying to comply much lower.
Reflections & Future Direction
Overall, the experience of asking for someone to contribute with my work is something that frightens me. I don’t like the feeling of being out control and having to rely on someone else’s agenda in order to get an important piece of information for the completion of my project. However, I was knew that in order for me to enrich my research it was necessary that I gathered this primary research, so I chose to remain patient and faithful with the participants. To my good fortune, all four got back to me in time and I was able to include their responses, yet this was far the most worrisome part of my research development portion of the project. In the future, I hope to be able to use this positive experience to help me loose some of my fear of relying on collaborators. Moving forwards, I will be working on mapping customer journey variables informed by the research results gathered and the secondary research.
Masory, A., 2019. Millennial Preferences In Beauty And Personal Care Products. [online] Alixpartners.com. Available at: <https://www.alixpartners.com/insights-impact/insights/millennials-preferences-beauty-personal-care-products/> [Accessed 9 August 2020].
Saunter, L. and Shin, J., 2019. Gen Z: Building New Beauty. [online] Wgsn.com. Available at: <https://www.wgsn.com/assets/marketing/emails/2019/beauty/launch/Beauty_Whitepaper_Digital.pdf> [Accessed 11 August 2020].