How Indie Beauty Brands Can Lead and Thrive During COVID-19
30/04/2020 by The Red Tree
The current period of upheaval and uncertainty being experienced across the beauty industry has been unforgiving to many businesses. However, handling a crisis with compassion and kindness, also presents an extraordinary opportunity for beauty brands to build a strong foundation for the future. Brands will be valued by how well they contributed to the nation during the crisis.
Whilst we have not yet come out of the other side we know this much, when we do there will be a paradigm shift into a new normal. Indie beauty brands many of whom are purposeful, resilient, adaptable, and human, have a chance to come out with a deeper connection with their customers and their employees.
Here are 5 tips for navigating your beauty brand through a pandemic.
At the start of the crisis as lockdowns emerged, the prevailing emotion in society was that of disorientation. Indie beauty brands with a direct relationship with their customers understood that their customers were feeling shell shocked. So too were beauty brand owners.
In any crisis scenario, decisive action based on the mood of the situation is critical. Social media, often the go-to conversation point with customers, is where the swiftest adjustment is needed. When people are feeling anxious or fearful, brands must make sure they do not behave in a way that is out of touch with reality. The best thing you can do is to simply seek to acknowledge the situation.
Beauty brands also have a duty to their suppliers and employees. It is important in any crisis that brand owners check in with their suppliers and their staff on the ground. It is important to stay committed to the importance of relationships over transactional concerns.
Don’t chase perfect choices
It may seem obvious however in a crisis it is easy to forget that there are rarely, if ever, perfect choices. When COVID-19 landed it was clear that no one had experienced this kind of situation before and therefore there was no single, correct way forward. Don’t look for perfect choices or perfect outcomes.
Be consistently and radically human
You cannot be too human in this crisis. As a beauty brand owner, customers and employees are hungry for who you are, they need reassurance and leadership. Everyone will deal with each stage of a crisis differently, however regular contact with customers or employees can help beauty brand owners to relate and remain relevant.
Many brands can get things wrong as a result of badly worded communication. In a crisis it is not the time for complex or difficult language. In a crisis where everyone is disorientated, every day, human language should not just be in your conversations, but also in your business communications.
Generosity and survival are complimentary
Society will judge beauty brands and how they treated people in this crisis. How you treat your most vulnerable employees communicates a powerful message to everyone. This choice will be remembered long after this crisis subsides. Generosity and the survival instinct are not opposites, they are complimentary. It is important and fundamental to society that we look out for each other. In a crisis, beauty brands must call their customers and suppliers and ask them how they can help. Don’t just rely on contractual terms with customers and suppliers. Be as accommodating as possible. If you can continue to give them business then continue to do so. If we want our partners and suppliers to survive then, where we can, we must help them and from this something far more valuable will emerge and that is loyalty.
Be purpose led
and relationship. The old way of working was about hierarchical large organisations, however the next generation of indie beauty brands are driven and organised by purpose and relationships. It is this that will help them to navigate this crisis and be remembered for something bigger than the bottom line.
Zaffrin O’Sullivan is the co-founder of Five Dot Botanics, a gender neutral minimal ingredient skincare brand based in the UK and the Founder of Female Founders in Beauty a grassroots global network of 2000 women in beauty. Zaffrin is currently taking part in Sephora Accelerate 2020.
The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.
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