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CAPSULE COMMUNICATIONS LTD
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A true success story in how an expert-first approach can launch a new beauty brand into a highly selective market.
Those of us working in beauty know, in theory, that endorsement by a true industry expert can make all the difference to brand recognition and awareness. But seeing this happen in practice is still a powerful reminder of how it can and should shape strategies, due to its unique capability to start a positive chain effect that percolates throughout the industry.
This was the case for Finishing Touch Flawless – a hair removal brand that has achieved cult status in U.S. for their sleek hair removal tools, but who only launched into the UK market in 2019. Although primed for success, the brand still had ways to go to become a household hair removal name in the UK beauty community. Capsule Comms worked with Flawless throughout 2020 and achieved fantastic results for a totally new brand with zero paid for endorsement involved.
What differentiated Flawless’ introduction to the UK market was the brand’s approach to beauty experts: while many beauty brands usually arrive to expert endorsement naturally after first targeting the wider influencer and mainstream consumer communities, Flawless began their UK journey by targeting experts as their very first step. And it was this hard-hitting expert campaign that caused a chain reaction of incredible exposure that ultimately spread like wildfire to other expert communities and into the influencer realm.
The beauty experts targeted can be considered true leaders within the wider industry: these included A-list facialists and dermatologists, leading VIP makeup artists, celebrity brow experts and legendary experts whose beauty columns shape industry and consumer trends. With this ambitious tactic, the brand’s primary objective was to earn Flawless widespread expert accreditation and make the Flawless hair removal gadgets – Face and Brows – expert kit staples from the very beginning. And our secondary objective was to naturally build brand awareness through these experts’ social posts, which would educate consumers on the gadgets.
As alluded to, this expert activation was an unprecedented success: numerous authority voices in the beauty community posted tutorials on how to use the Flawless tools, offering voluntary yet highly influential expert endorsement throughout 2020. Some of these top figures include esteemed facialists Debbie Thomas and Adeela Crown, brow gurus Brows By Suman and Shane cooper, and celebrity makeup artists Lan-Nguyen Grealis and her superstar client Lisa Snowdon.
The results of this unorthodox expert approach speak for themselves: the total reach from this group alone reached 1,034,060 by the end of 2020, an incredible number for a new brand to the market.
Come spring, the fantastic expert endorsement that Flawless continued to receive had now begun converting into remarkable press coverage. The first high-profile feature came from the illustrious Sunday Times Style beauty journalist India Knight, who declared Flawless Face as a ‘must–have for every woman over 40’. This feature, in turn, created a domino effect of interest towards Flawless amongst key players in press. With the UK under its first lockdown, we positioned Flawless as a line of essential lockdown beauty tools you can use safely at home and encouraged press and consumers alike to make Flawless a part of their everyday lockdown/tier-restricted beauty regimes.
Thanks to this ‘at-home spa’ angling, Flawless was able to harness its coverage momentum and received further superstar features in leading publications. Lisa Armstrong, a leading voice and trendsetter in the industry, featured Brows in The Telegraph Magazine, stating she loves Flawless Brows ‘for at-home brow upkeep‘. Similarly, celebrated beauty journalist Elsa McAlonan nominated Flawless Face as her Beauty Tool of 2020 in Daily Mail’s Inspire Beauty Awards; she stated it’s her favourite tool to ‘remove facial hair when you can’t get to the salon‘ in lockdown. Throughout the year, we managed to place more excellent features for Flawless in national titles such as The Sun’s Fabulous, The Daily Telegraph and Metro, resulting in an unbelievable press reach of 56,904,346 in 2020. But the exposure did not stop there: in February 2021, Flawless Face was featured by undisputed beauty tastemaker Sarah Jossel on This Morning as her choice tool for at-home facial shaving. This one-of-a-kind national feature was broadcasted to over a million people UK wide, cementing Flawless’ spot as a beauty brand to be reckoned with.
So Flawless had enamoured experts and won over the press. What was next on our list? The influencers, of course. In this realm, our outreach first targeted larger, more mainstream content creators, given our initial objective was to drive general brand awareness and elevate Flawless’ social platforms by receiving tags. Alongside sending out monthly product for trialing, we wanted to demonstrate Flawless’ unique ‘at-home spa’ aspect through creating seasonal e-blasts, really demonstrating how these beautiful tools can be adapted to our new lifestyle habits. A great example of such positioning was the handy brow shaping guide created for mask wearers using Flawless Brows.
After targeting our key big name lifestyle influencers, we shifted our late 2020 influencer outreach to so-called ‘skinfluencers’ in an effort to target all audiences within the vast beauty influencer landscape. To describe skinfluencers, they are almost experts in their own right due to being extremely knowledgeable in all things skincare. And importantly, they tend to have highly engaged audiences of equally curious skincare fans who trust the influencer’s informed opinion. This skinfluencer campaign was a truly great way to round off an incredible 2020 for Flawless, garnering the brand excellent exposure in the lnstagram skincare community who embraced the brand and posted detailed tutorials and reviews on their social channels. One could say, these skinfluencers almost gave Flawless a second wave of ‘expert endorsement’, perhaps on an even more consumer-friendly level than before.
Overall, Flawless is a true success story in how an expert-first approach, though ambitious, can be a great way to break a new beauty brand into the highly selective, discerning community and market; causing a positive chain reaction and yielding organic credence that paid-for partnerships simply cannot always provide.