How beauty brands can cut through trade show noise

by | Mar 4, 2019 | Analysis, Public Relations

“Beauty’s voice speaks gently.”

Despite Nietzsche’s soft prose, you don’t have to listen too closely to know that there is no single voice speaking for the beauty industry. Natural hair and pink hair, skin tone and 90’s glitter, ingestible beauty and high tech devices are all trending. Influencers are becoming brand owners, and cosmetic giants are siphoning ideas from indie brands. The industry has many competing voices, harsh, wild, loud, soft, and every tone in between, which is why brands now, more than ever before, need to develop tailored and strategic communications unique to who they are.

Just as there is no single trend or brand owning the industry, there is not a single strategy or approach that works for everyone. There are, however, threads that commonly weave throughout all brands in the marketplace—beauty is power, individuality, diversity—seemingly binding all of beauty together in a collective dialogue.

Still, even within that conversation, there are literally thousands of brands vying for a position to be heard. This competition has created a veritable cacophony in the marketplace, whereby brands are looking to gain an advantage on any platform to garner the ear of consumers.

One popular platform in the beauty industry remains trade shows, like the upcoming Natural Products Expo West. This event offers companies a valuable opportunity to build awareness and potentially capture new leads. However, this show, like many other beauty trade events, is scheduled to host hundreds of beauty brands.

So, how can brands stand out?

Here are a few tips on how to make sure your beauty brand glows (like the latest illuminator) at a trade show.

Brand Identity

Let your beauty flag fly at these events! Every company has an identity. It’s the very essence of why so many consumers will flock to one brand over another—personality. So, what is your company’s identity?

Whatever it is, stick to it. From the look and feel of your activation/engagement tent, to your merchandise, to the way your employees speak with attendees, it is imperative to remain on brand.

Too often, trends begin to shift and brands instantaneously ditch their identity for a new one. Don’t do this, unless it is genuine and authentic to the look and feel of your company.

Unexpected, Unusual

If you’ve been to enough of these events, they can become quite predictable. And predictable, over time, is forgettable. Try something different. The beauty industry is known for taking risks.

Remaining within your brand identity, your company should develop an experiential stunt, a VR/AI/AR activation, or a nontraditional panel to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Unorthodox is memorable. And while there are obvious risks involved—“What happens if it doesn’t work? What happens if it is taken the wrong way?”—There are risks with unoriginal strategies as well! Just think, what is the ROI going to be for event activations no one remembers?

Show Face

Who is behind the brand? Be it executives, creators, or influencers, these people should be present, if available, in some capacity at trade shows. Consumers and media are craving transparency right now, and this is a chance for beauty companies to give them a peek behind the curtain.

Whether they are on a panel, hosting an activation, or present at a booth, these individuals can provide brands with an authoritative voice that gives customers a greater sense of trust.

See you at Expo West!

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Dara Busch
Dara Busch is Executive Vice President, Consumer Practice at 5W Public Relations.

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