What Makes Up a 'Buzzy' Beauty Product? We Asked the Experts!
We've all seen those Insta-famous beauty products that seemingly emerge out of nowhere—the ones that all the influencers you follow happen to be using at once.
Over the last few years, we haven't been able to open the app or a beauty blog without a product from Drunk Elephant, Glossier or Summer Fridays (among others) popping up as we browse. But without the backing of a beauty giant like L'Oréal or Estée Lauder, for example, how do these once-budding brands gain massive popularity?
We got the secrets to success by chatting with Yanghee Paik, cofounder of Rael, high-performance period care and skincare; and Kim Wileman, CEO of Cobuna Brands for as|if by Nassif. Keep reading for what they have to say about launching a beauty product that has media and influencers buzzing.
Sweety High: What defines a "buzzy" beauty product?
Yanghee Paik: In today's environment where things aren't quite normal due to the pandemic, I think "buzzy" beauty products are mainly defined by how relevant they are and how much consumers are wanting to learn about them despite all the challenges and distractions in their lives. If it's a "buzzy" beauty product, then people would still be proactively searching it online and reading about it via its retailers, company website, social media, influencers and beauty editors.
Kim Wileman: as|if by Nassif is all about the buzz factor! I wanted to create a brand specifically for my Gen-Z and younger millennial followers of E!'s Botched, a demographic that doesn't need plastic surgery, but who do need to start taking care of their skin. It was important for us to create a line that really worked and wasn't just marketing hype.
Most brands that target this demographic focus on anti-aging or acne. We saw a huge opportunity to create products for people who mostly have good skin, but sometimes break out or have redness and irritation, and oftentimes expose their good skin to bad habits like falling asleep with your makeup on or eating junk food. as|if by Nassif helps set skin up for a fresh start each day and many great skin days for years into the future!
SH: What contributes to a product's "buzz" factor?
YP: Now that a lot of people are staying home due to COVID-19, they're mainly concerned with their essential skincare rather than makeup. In my view, "buzzy" beauty products should address these growing needs of consumers who are keen on improving the very basic foundation of their skin, rather than covering the skin issues temporarily. To that end, these products should be functional and high-performing, driving real results. Also, as consumers are becoming more conscious of their well-being and the environment, using clean ingredients that are better for our health and the world for the longterm would be an important factor. I would also add that an emotional connection with consumers as a brand is essential to truly differentiate yourself from the competition.
KW: The definition of a buzz-worthy product or brand is making sure that the brand is backed by an authority, features products with ingredients that work, aren't just hype and have authentic messaging. We also spent a lot of time on our product names like our exfoliating cleanser #GETWOKE. Since we are a social brand, it was important that the conversation around as|if is positive, because, as you know, people are very vocal on social media if they don't like something.
SH: Do products or brands need to have a huge financial backing to pick up major traction?
YP: Not necessarily. Now there are a lot of manufacturing companies entrepreneurs can find and partner with, as long as they have compelling concepts and solid marketing and sales strategies. They don't need to start with a huge order, so the entry barrier to the beauty industry has gotten a lot lower than what it used to be.
KW: It's important to have financial backing to get your product noticed in a crowed beauty market space. You can launch anything with limited funds, but the fact is that your brand will be more visible to more people when you can place ads and create a buzz with influencers and celebrities.
SH: What are some ways for newer beauty brands/products with smaller budgets to snag that it-factor?
YP: Producing a great quality product that actually works is paramount, but having a compelling story behind the brand is also as important. It should have a unique value proposition with a compelling story of why this brand was born and what benefits they promise to deliver to their customers. I also believe having a creative packaging with sustainable materials is an angle to look into.
KW: Since we live in a very social world, it's important to make sure that your products demonstrate well on social media. You'll have to spend some money on sending your products out to key influencers or people who represent your brand well. It's also important to do due diligence and send out products to publications, blogs, etc. that represent your demographic.
We're focusing on building our community through Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Pinterest as key social media drivers for as|if by Nassif.
SH: Any distinct DOs or DON'Ts for achieving buzz-worthy status?
YP: Don't settle for mediocre formula and packaging, and don't stop product enhancement and innovation.
KW: Do be patient—sometimes it can take a few months before you have a breakthrough. Sometimes, your breakeven doesn't happen until year two.
Do be focused and fully committed to your brand. Make sure everything you do socially and brand-wise aligns with your ethos. Do hire people who are experts, team players, enthusiastic and ready to pitch in wherever needed. Don't fear making mistakes. Sometimes our biggest breakthroughs happen in moments when we experience failure. Failure is opportunity.
SH: Anything else you want to add on the matter or about your products in particular?
YP: While Rael Beauty is a young brand, we're positioned in a unique way as a clean, holistic care brand that started with organic feminine products. Our mission is to help women achieve their Week 2 skin all month long, which is the phase when our hormones align perfectly so we look and feel our best. Our products are made with clean, vegan ingredients and inspired by the cutting edge technology from K-beauty. We hope we can continue reaching a lot of consumers and become one of the notable "buzzy" beauty brands.
KW: Every as|if product is loaded with potent treatment ingredients that provide skin with a complete support system. Collagen builders, botanical extracts, and our exclusive as|if Peptide Complex will restore your skin from past mistakes and protect it from future damage. Our #FreshStart regimen gets results, making your skin look clearer and more radiant. With good habits and a consistent skin care routine, your skin will have a healthy start each day and great skin for years to come. The as|if "FREE OF" PROMISE means you'll never find these ingredients in our skin care products: phthalates, mineral oil, lanolin, formaldehyde and parabens. And as|if is NEVER tested on animals.
Speaking of buzzy products, HERE's everything to know about rare black tulip extract, SERUMKIND's remarkable hero ingredient.