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Channel Your Brand’s Inner Beauty

Contact Author Diana Arena, Experticity
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The distance between inner and outer beauty is shrinking.

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The definition of beauty is ever-evolving. Hundreds of years ago, ruffs, corsets, pale skin and wigs were considered by many Europeans to reflect the epitome of beautiful. Since then, we’ve found beauty in crop tops, self tanners, platform shoes, gauchos and everything in between. Today, the pendulum seems to be shifting back toward “au naturel,” especially when it comes to skin care, makeup and consumers’ attitudes.

Getting Real

The anti-makeup movement is starting to take over Hollywood, with celebrities like Alicia Keys celebrating makeup-free photo shoots and television appearances, and others jumping on the #iwokeuplikethis Twitter and Instagram bandwagon.

At the same time, politicians are holding court about how to regulate unrealistic body images and promote a healthier self-image for the public. For instance, London mayor Sadiq Khan moved to ban advertisements that portrayed “unhealthy or unrealistic body images” from the city’s public transport.

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Meanwhile, Unreasonable Women recently launched the Retouchers Accord, an code of ethics and conduct that encouraged authenticity and healthy body images in digital alterations of photos.

Brands are feeling the pressure. Earlier this year, Gucci came under fire for featuring “unhealthily thin” models, with the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority ultimately banning the advertisement, calling the fashion brand “irresponsible” for promoting it.

In order for brands to leverage these converging trends into lasting relationships of trust with a growing, loyal consumer base, they need to deliver messages that resonate via people consumers like and trust.

Elsewhere, Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” focused on “real women whose appearances are outside the stereotypical norms of beauty.” The brand also created #MyBeautyMySay to elevate women’s achievements above a sheer focus on physical beauty.

This latest trend in the beauty industry reflects the notion that beauty is more about how you feel and less about subscribing to social norms in order to feel beautiful. For consumers, this means there’s a greater emphasis placed not only on what you put on your body, but also in it, in order to look and, more importantly, feel beautiful.

Building Trust

Another significant social trend—suspicion of traditional advertising—is creating headwinds for brands in delivering a message of inner beauty and wellness directly to consumers. The silver lining in this phenomenon is that these same consumers are looking increasingly to people they trust—from beauty experts to friends to other “deputized consumers-at-large”—for cues to shape their perceptions and buying behavior.

In order for brands to leverage these converging trends into lasting relationships of trust with a growing, loyal consumer base, they need to deliver messages that resonate via people consumers like and trust.

Inside Out

One of the messages that brands can deliver through trusted brand messengers is the value of targeted daily health and beauty routines. This requires specific knowledge of which products are right for specific individuals’ skin, hair and body type, as well as what is appropriate for the climate and atmosphere where a given person lives.

These companion trends also provide opportunities for brands with the sophistication to link inner beauty with nutrition, lifestyle and eating habits. Taking care of the inner self can create effects that outer beauty products alone can never match.

For those committed to beauty from the inside out, simple daily attention to nutrition and activity will work wonders. Sophisticated products, through effective messaging, can be well positioned as something that cultivates both inner beauty and its outward manifestation.

As inner beauty continues to expand its place as one of the biggest emerging trends in fashion and beauty, brands will need to clearly—and sincerely—outline the importance of inner and outer beauty with their products and missions.

Savvy brands will find ways to link inner and outer beauty as mutually reinforcing. For example, they will find effective ways to encourage proactive health maintenance—physical, mental and emotional. There will be a growing convergence of this type of messaging not only from beauty companies, but also from health and nutrition brands.

Brands across the product spectrum will link their offerings to the ever-attractive and empowering effects of self-confidence, as something essential that no makeup or hairstyle can approximate.

For example, marketing efforts for a product that helps the skin retain more moisture can simultaneously celebrate the customers’ decision to hydrate their bodies with sufficient fluid and emphasize how the product reinforces and enhances the customer’s commitment to health.

As beauty brands and experts distance themselves from unhealthy methods of presenting beauty, it will be fascinating to see how ideas of inner and outer beauty evolve to inform the conversation about what beauty truly is.

Examples of brands pursuing this type of strategy include Hum Nutrition’s Raw Beauty Green Superfood Powder; Moon Juice’s Monster Moon, which reportedly “nourishes the skin, boosts energy and supports the thyroid”; skinade’s collagen drink; and Fountain’s “beauty molecule” beauty supplement, which contains resveratrol.

Authenticity

As inner beauty continues to expand its place as one of the biggest emerging trends in fashion and beauty, brands will need to clearly—and sincerely—outline the importance of inner and outer beauty with their products and missions.

Consumers’ trust can be tenuous and fragile; they need to believe that a brand or product is completely committed to their personal well-being—inner beauty as much as outer. Connecting with these consumers through influencers they can believe in cements relationships of trust between brands and consumers.

What Is Beauty?

Inner beauty is not just a trend. It is a necessity. And it should be a reflection of a rich, fulfilling inner life and positive habits of body and mind, not just something cosmetic. As beauty brands and experts distance themselves from unhealthy methods of presenting beauty, it will be fascinating to see how ideas of inner and outer beauty evolve to inform the conversation about what beauty truly is.

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