Daniela Ciocan, the award-winning marketing powerhouse behind many beauty events including Cosmoprof North America (CPNA), is reinventing the concept of the trade show. Unfiltered Experience closes the loop on the beauty ecosystem with an inclusive event that brings brands, consumers, influencers, and retailers together all under one roof.
The concept of the trade show hasn’t changed in 50 years—it’s simply morphed into conferences with a trade show component. Ciocan is rethinking the why and how of the trade show experience from end to end, creating a dynamic and immersive experience that provides value for everyone that participates.
Unfiltered Experience will take place on July 26 and July 27 in Las Vegas, with the first day dedicated to professional meetings and education for brands and influencers, and with the second day designed for consumers. If you are heading to Cosmoprof North America, which runs July 28-30, it’s worth flying in early.
BeautyMatter sat down with Ciocan to learn more about the concept and future of Unfiltered Experience.
Tell us a little about your career.
I have been in the beauty industry for almost 20 years; I started selling beauty products behind the counter, studied marketing cosmetics at FIT, and then worked my way up with a luxury Japanese brand after which I landed a key role to turn around the business for Cosmoprof in the US.
Why did you decide to leave the 9 to 5 behind for the life of an entrepreneur?
The trade show business is never a 9 to 5 job … so I was already used to working unorthodox hours. Furthermore, I always had the “entrepreneur” mentality of always wanting to try something new. And doing it as part of a company you don’t own is always a challenge.
It feels like a brand or entrepreneur could go to a trade show, conference, or summit every week of the year. What do you think of the current landscape?
I think there are too many events most doing the same thing without a unique point of view and without really delivering on ROI. The concept of the events out there are stemming from the same assumptions, yet the market is different nowadays and no one is really addressing that.
What was the white space opportunity or impetus for reinventing the concept of a trade show?
The shifts we are seeing are that companies are recognizing DTC as a crucial pillar of their business, while for some, especially the start-ups, it’s their only pillar until they get enough brand awareness and financial liquidity to support a wholesale business. Consumers want to know who they buy from and what they buy and whether the brands they support with their purchases are genuine. Social media plays a crucial role of connecting brands with consumers, yet the social media influencers are the conduit in bringing forth new techniques and products to their fan bases. Lastly, beauty is now holistic—it truly is mind, body, and soul. I wanted to create an event that seeks to blend these dynamics together.
What is your vision for Unfiltered Experience?
Unfiltered Experience is an experiential pop-up that allows companies, content creators, and consumers the opportunity to come together in a cool venue with Instagrammable visuals from up-and-coming artists. The idea is to allow companies to establish rapport with social media influencers from different parts of the country and secure collaborations and social media content. As well as find and connect with consumers to sell and sample products as well as touch consumers through hands-on demos. The event concept is to highlight products, tools, and resources to allow consumers to live out the best version of themselves.
The launch of Unfiltered is positioned as a DTC event. What do you credit with the rise of the DTC trend in both brand positioning and the inclusion of consumers in events traditionally limited to trade?
I think trade events are challenged in that consumers want access to what is new and fresh. With social media you can showcase novelty from B2B events, but consumers cannot purchase those products for months to come, if ever, since distribution is not guaranteed by the mere fact that you are exhibiting. And there are several trade events all pursuing the same business model that has been around for 50 years.
What should a brand or business expect from participation or partnership?
Participation will allow brands the opportunity to connect with social media influencers to educate them on key attributes and new products as well as the ability to discuss collaborations and learn about influencers’ content strategies and ways of engaging with followers. Furthermore we are bringing in some of the top digital publications so they can meet with key editors as well.
You have an interesting integration of influencers in your concept. Can you share the thinking behind this strategy?
We have a robust group of influencers: we have makeup artists and master stylists—colorists, and braiding / updo / extensions / wigs specialists—as well as artists known for their unique transformations.
You are launching in your hometown of Las Vegas, but what is the future rollout of Unfiltered?
I felt it’s best the first event is launched closer to home in Downtown Vegas, which is the true authentic and a bit edgier part of the city where the locals tend to go. We plan to hit the road and go to LA next, and then from there hit the Midwest markets that tend to be neglected where consumers are starved for such events.
Any cool promotional campaigns you are rolling out to support Unfiltered Experience?
We have partnered with Genies, a technology company that creates personalized animated avatars as 15-second videos. This relatively new company has thus far had collaborations with major music performers and cultural icons, and Gucci is one of their partners. We’ve created a cool campaign whereby top social media influencers who are participating in Unfiltered received a personalized avatar to post and promote their event participation to their fans. Engagement with such animated characters via fun videos is way higher for young Millennials and Gen Z’s, and that is part of the demographic we are targeting. A landing page for ticket sales was created so that traffic coming from social media platforms from the Genies campaign has a logical tie-in. The campaign was rolled out a few days ago.