Over two years into the pandemic that arguably forever changed how we consume, connect, and communicate, companies from all sectors are being forced to change, compiling resilient corporate strategies in order to keep businesses performing to their highest ability. Alongside the pandemic, geopolitical challenges, as well as inflation, rising interest rates, and energy supply issues, are further testing businesses to become innovative with their branding strategies. In order to create a guide towards a secure future for businesses, The Future Laboratory recently released their Innovation Debrief Report, "shining light on companies adapting to consumer behavior and carving out inventive routines forward" through the use of case-study brands. Here are the key beauty takeaways from the report:
Consumer Collaboration and Loyalty
The Innovation Debrief Report focused on consumers seeking security, inclusion, and community from brands, forcing companies to adopt stronger reciprocal relationships with their consumers. Within the study, it was concluded that membership models with streamlined supply chains were the best initiatives to meet the needs of consumers, enabling sustainable production and providing the potential to reverse a decline in brand loyalty by overriding the concept altogether.
This declining brand loyalty in recent years has prompted businesses to reconsider traditional models, such as reward schemes. Many companies are exploring membership models that allow them to incorporate sustainable manufacturing, feedback-based co-creation, and hospitality benefits. By doing so, companies and consumers benefit from changes, deepening engagement, and solidified relationships between the two parties.
"Brand loyalty is about to get a lot more interesting. As consumers become familiar with subscriptions in other parts of their lives—from streaming services to meal kits and even hotel stays—the trusty membership model has the ability to change the way we shop for good. As brands, this also provides an opportunity to learn more about your customers, or members, than ever before," says Holly Friend, The Future Laboratory Deputy Foresight Editor.
Highlighted as an exemplar for brand loyalty schemes done correctly, Soho House's crowdsourced beauty initiative, Soho Skin, taps into its members as its most valuable resource. Soho Skin’s popular 24/7 Treatment is a product developed off of feedback from consumers, a gel mask for those living hectic, travel-heavy lifestyles, combining magnesium and other fermented ingredients to revitalize the skin. By building on the brand's Cowshed spas and products, Soho Skin was developed by professionals who were guided by the valuable opinions, suggestions, and needs of Soho House members. Through examples such as Soho Skin, the Innovation Debrief Report suggests that going forward, companies will continue to draw on the desires of their customers to successfully develop products that align with their lifestyle habits, enabling consistency and, therefore, consumer loyalty.
Glamor, Opulence, and Hedonism
Consumers are reviving glamor, opulence, and hedonism, all things that last year may have been frowned upon. However, the mood is shifting, with ostentation now very much in fashion. The study suggested that consumers are searching for a sense of fun and release in uncertain times.
The Unseen is the company paving the way for ostentation, known for experimenting with new ideas such as holographic hair dye. The brand was recently featured in Infringe magazine, showcasing their temporary hair decorations from the Spectra reflective cosmetics line. The decorations, curated with photo-reflective abilities and the model's reflective hair pigments, activated only by camera flash, create a new and exciting experience for consumers, one perfect for sharing on social media, enhancing hedonism. With innovations like those presented by The Unseen, The Future Laboratory predicts that going forward, consumers will want to experiment with their makeup looks, encouraging beauty companies to put forward product offerings designed solely to be photographed and draw attention to the wearer.
"We may have predicted an era of Uneasy Affluence, but then the pandemic turned living with less from a lifestyle choice to a global certainty. As we return to a life of busy schedules and busier accessorizing, expect decadence to become a mindset that is evident in every sector from hedonistic hospitality to attention-seeking beauty," Friend continues.
Pandemic-Induced Touch Deprivation
After such a long time of being unable to come into close contact with one another, consumers seek tactile products that allow physical contact and stimulation of the senses. As a result, The Innovation Debrief Report explains how companies are delving into the pursuit of sensory strategies that encourage touch, smell, taste, and hearing.
To reconnect consumers through physical touch, the Spanish museum El Prado worked with curators, researchers, and the Puig perfume house to recreate the fragrances of 10 items in Jan Brueghel's "The Sense of Smell" painting. Researchers identified the 80 different plant and flower species seen in the painting, creating the perfect scent for the experience, which visitors can smell through AirParfum technology, which diffuses scents through the use of touchscreen technology.
The Future Laboratory Creative Foresight Analyst Sav Scott comments, "People are seeking emotional and tactile experiences in an attempt to forge meaning and connection with the spaces, people and products around them. Consider how your business or company can use unexpected textures, haptic technologies, color and scent—both offline and online—to stimulate the senses, soothe or inspire."
Climate change is nothing new; with the climate crisis rapidly accelerating, extreme weather events are taking place across the globe, impacting the beauty and health industry more than ever. With research showing pollution and sun exposure causes skin damage and premature aging, businesses are pushing geo-aggressors to the forefront of their product development, curating products that counteract a number of environmental stressors.
Several brands are paving the way for more environmentally conscious products and consumption. The Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), led by a research team in India, has discovered a means to produce a liquid solution that protects skin cells from frostbite. According to the scientific evidence, seasonal exposure to cold temperatures can provoke cell death in the exposed area due to the formation of ice crystals, which ultimately results in burn injury and reduced functionality. To prevent this, researchers are pioneering a topical cream named SynAFP that helps prevent frostbite by stopping ice crystals from forming within cells. Topical skincare treatments that enhance defense mechanisms are becoming increasingly popular within the beauty industry, showing skincare brands are set to continue merging physical appearance products with long-term wellness strategies.
In the haircare sector, Prose set an example by partnering with environmental intelligence platform BreezoMeter to collect data on micro-local pollution levels that are known to impact the hair, head, and scalp. The information sourced will inform Prose's online consultation service, creating personalized formulas based on key factors such as a specific location's air quality. This is just one of many examples of AI becoming increasingly incorporated into beauty brands to offer the best service for consumers.
As the occurrence of wildfires sadly becomes more common across the globe, French beauty brand Pour Moi is working towards smoke-proof products. Their latest innovation is a serum that strives to protect skin against the smoke particles that travel through the air after such events take place.
As well as protecting the people, brands are working towards protecting the planet. Japanese skincare brand Allie has focused on beach protection, releasing a range of sunscreen products committed to reducing water pollution levels. This comes after regulations have been put in place to prevent the use of harmful chemicals, such as in Hawaii, where over-the-counter sun protection containing oxybenzone and octinoxate have been banned in the efforts to protect coral reefs.
"The climate emergency is on everyone's mind, but if people knew the direct effects it has on their health, they'd certainly be taking more action. Pollution is rapidly ageing our skin and higher temperatures are raising our risk of skin cancer. A global temperature rise of 2°C could increase skin cancer incidence 11% globally by 2050. Beauty must now protect people from the planet, while not causing any harm in the process," says Olivia Houghton, The Future Laboratory Senior Foresight Analyst.
Overall, The Future Laboratory's Innovation Debrief Report has outlined the key priorities beauty businesses should hold going forward in order to maintain consumer confidence in their brand. It is now essential for companies to interact with their consumers on a deeper level, encouraging them to become fully invested in the values their brands hold. Sensory experiences, as well as climate-change consciousness, is vital to be showcased by businesses to further accommodate consumer desires. Through the study, one thing is clear: in order for businesses to thrive and expand, they must be open to change, and what’s more, commit to these changes with the correct intentions.
2 Article(s) Remaining