IS MU­SIC STREAM­ING THE NEXT PLAT­FORM FOR BEAUTY?

IN PUR­SUIT OF NEW AU­DI­ENCES, BEAUTY BRANDS ARE PASS­ING THE AUX CORD TO STREAM­ING SER­VICES FOR BOTH AD­VER­TIS­ING AND CON­TENT CRE­ATION.

WWD Digital Daily - - Front Page - BY ALEXA TIETJEN

Mu­sic stream­ing plat­forms are help­ing beauty find its voice.

As the ad­ver­tis­ing land­scape con­tin­ues to evolve and beauty brands ramp up their dig­i­tal ef­forts, some are find­ing it eas­ier to cut through an in­creas­ingly sat­u­rated so­cial-me­dia space via sound.

“We’re in an in­ter­est­ing time pe­riod where, be­yond dis­tri­bu­tion, stream­ing in­tel­li­gence of­fers much more in­sight into what is beauty and what is cul­ture and what is in­flu­ence,” said Rob Walker, cre­ative di­rec­tor of cre­ative so­lu­tions at Spo­tify. “‘What is the

sound of beauty’ is a con­ver­sa­tion we’ve been hav­ing with beauty brands. As we move into a voice-based, screen-less so­ci­ety, what is that sound for brands and how do you start to lean into that?”

Tamara Be­drosian, vice pres­i­dent of CPG and re­tail at Pan­dora, echoed the idea of a shift away from screens to­ward sound.

“Con­sumers are not spend­ing hours sit­ting around the TV or read­ing a mag­a­zine, but mu­sic is with them through­out the day,” she said. “We have the abil­ity to de­liver that mes­sage into the mo­ment where they’re ac­tu­ally sham­poo­ing their hair in the shower or they’re putting on their mas­cara, get­ting ready to go out for the night.

That has led to this in­ter­est in au­dio and con­sum­ing and cre­at­ing con­tent [with beauty brands].”

Beauty in­vest­ment in print ad­ver­tis­ing dropped 23 per­cent be­tween 2013 and 2017, ac­cord­ing to Launch­metrics, leav­ing so­cial me­dia as the in­dus­try’s dom­i­nant chan­nel.

Ulta, Dior and Clin­ique are just a few of the beauty brands that ad­ver­tise on Spo­tify — Ulta also ad­ver­tises on Pan­dora — and dur­ing an in­ter­view on Ralph Lau­ren’s Polo Red Rush fra­grance launch, Ginny Wright, global deputy general man­ager of Ralph

Lau­ren Fra­grances, ex­pressed in­ter­est in part­ner­ing with mu­sic fes­ti­vals and plat­forms such as Spo­tify. Spo­tify also pre­vi­ously sold Pat McGrath Labs prod­ucts via the Spo­tify shop at­tached to artist Mag­gie Lin­de­mann’s page.

To date, Spo­tify has 180 mil­lion to­tal monthly ac­tive users. Pan­dora has 71 mil­lion monthly ac­tive users. Tidal has 3 mil­lion sub­scribers.

Stream­ing apps pro­vide ad­di­tional modes of advertisement and e-com­merce for beauty brands. More than that, they’re now of­fer­ing their re­sources — and au­di­ences — for cre­ative con­tent part­ner­ships.

In April, Spo­tify de­buted Bag Check, a branded video part­ner­ship with Sephora timed with the kick­off of fes­ti­val sea­son. The 30-se­cond Coachella-spon­sored video fea­tured artist Moonz cre­at­ing a fes­ti­val-ready look us­ing prod­ucts by

Too Faced and Hush. The video lives on Spo­tify’s plat­form and Sephora’s YouTube chan­nel.

“Brands want to spon­sor spe­cific mo­ments in time and those mo­ments in time could be any­thing from a cul­tural mo­ment to a spe­cific mo­ment that you can only tailor to Spo­tify, which is like a get­ting-ready playlist or a shower playlist or a team-hang­out playlist,” said Walker.

In May, Tidal de­buted “Get the

Look,” a nine-part video se­ries for which pop­u­lar beauty YouTu­bers Jackie Aina, Rosa Chang- Cre­spo and Nathalie Muñoz recre­ated looks worn by artists such as Janelle Monáe, Nicki Mi­naj and Cardi B. The videos are ex­clu­sive to Tidal and were cre­ated by the YouTu­bers.

“With Tidal, we’re all about not just mu­sic, but the cul­ture of mu­sic and ev­ery­thing that sur­rounds a mu­si­cian’s life,” said Tony Gervino, Tidal’s vice pres­i­dent of cul­ture and con­tent.

“With so­cial me­dia, there’s a thirst for knowl­edge about ev­ery part of [the mu­si­cians’] lives. It seemed like a nat­u­ral that peo­ple would love to know how Nicki Mi­naj got the look for [the ‘Chun-Li’] video be­cause there’s a cre­ativ­ity and an artistry to it. Tidal mem­bers were ask­ing for that kind of ac­cess.”

Chang-Cre­spo, who was paid by Tidal for the three videos she cre­ated for the se­ries, said she hadn’t no­ticed a siz­able boost in her fol­low­ing due in part to Tidal’s lack of re­post­ing on In­sta­gram.

“They did re­post [the videos] on Twit­ter, all three of us,” she said. “The beauty com­mu­nity does use Twit­ter, but it’s kind of dy­ing out with all the con­tro­ver­sies and all the drama. In­sta­gram’s the main plat­form and if they had re­posted it, I would have got­ten more buzz from it.”

She did, how­ever, no­tice an in­crease in en­gage­ment from her fol­low­ers. “My sub­scribers en­gaged more be­cause they were happy for me,” she said.

While Spo­tify and Tidal are putting an in­creased fo­cus on video, Pan­dora is hop­ing to own the au­dio space, which in­cludes both mu­sic and spo­ken word pod­casts. Ac­cord­ing to Be­drosian, the plat­form has been work­ing with an Oak­land, Calif.-based au­dio labs team to bring col­ors and visu­als to life through au­dio, and has part­nered with neu­ro­mar­ket­ing com­pany Neuro-In­sight to “prove the mem­o­ra­bil­ity of au­dio ads” Pan­dora serves.

“We found that au­dio ads served within a Pan­dora en­vi­ron­ment were 27 per­cent more ef­fec­tive than print ads and 25 per­cent more ef­fec­tive than TV norms,” said Be­drosian, cit­ing a study con­ducted in part­ner­ship with Neuro-In­sight. She at­trib­uted Pan­dora’s growth in beauty to the no­tion that au­dio leaves more room for the con­sumer’s imag­i­na­tion when it comes to beauty ads.

“I’m a brunette, right? If I look at an ad and I see a gor­geous blonde model with long, flow­ing blonde hair, I don’t re­late to it,” she said. “How­ever, if that same ad was por­trayed to me through au­dio, I very quickly can en­vi­sion my­self be­cause I’m not see­ing blonde hair that im­me­di­ately turns me off or makes me not con­nect. When peo­ple hear au­dio, they en­vi­sion them­selves ver­sus a model that they can­not re­late to based on what the model looks like.”

The cou­pling of beauty brands with stream­ing plat­forms af­fords brands the op­por­tu­nity to be associated with artists who have the same de­mo­graphic as the brands’ tar­geted con­sumer.

Ali­son Bringé, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer at Launch­metrics, has seen a ver­sion of this pair­ing play out in the fash­ion sphere, not­ing Calvin Klein’s mu­sic video part­ner­ship with The XX and Drake de­but­ing his song “Signs” at the Louis Vuit­ton spring 2018 show as ex­am­ples.

“This is ab­so­lutely a trend we’re see­ing,” said Bringé, re­fer­ring to fash­ion and beauty’s shift to­ward mu­sic. “I know how clouded and sat­u­rated the mar­ket is for our customers, so brands have to be ex­tra cre­ative in their part­ner­ships and think about how many times re­ally they can show an­other prod­uct shot of a lip­stick.

These col­lab­o­ra­tions al­low you to be more cre­ative [and reach] a brand new au­di­ence with the same de­mo­graph­ics as the tar­get au­di­ence you had, had you done it on your own plat­form.”

She added that Launch­metrics has an­a­lyzed fash­ion-mu­sic part­ner­ships and found that in the cases of the best ex­am­ples, the au­di­ences served were nearly iden­ti­cal.

“Brands are think­ing, my cus­tomer is no longer go­ing to a brick-and-mor­tar store and they’re go­ing to par­ties as well, but if I re­ally want to reach more customers, I need to think what types of dig­i­tal part­ner­ships I can have,” she said. “This is a re­ally unique ex­am­ple of the mar­ket­ing shift of what tra­di­tional spon­sor­ship and part­ner­ships and ac­ti­va­tions looked like — but for the dig­i­tal era.”

In pur­suit of new au­di­ences, beauty brands are pass­ing the aux cord to stream­ing ser­vices for both ad­ver­tis­ing and con­tent cre­ation.

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