Why Urban Decay Cosmetics is Positioned to Succeed With Social Media


Urban Decay Cosmetics – They’re the hip, edgy, socially conscious, femme fatale in the world of beauty products. Women everywhere love their product line because it offers them choices that they previously didn’t have with other make-up brands. Urban Decay has delightfully vibrant and sparkly colors, yet feels elegant, provocative and a little dangerous – speaking to every woman’s inner desire to express themselves.

Urban Decay also gives their fanbase the satisfaction of knowing that their products are socially responsible, and thereby guilt-free. They have always pledged to change the beauty industry by never allowing animal testing on their line of products. This level of cruelty-free commitment enabled them to be certified by both PETA and The Leaping Bunny program. All of their products are 100% Cruelty-free, with the added bonus that many of their products are 100% vegan, as well. Some of their products include honey and similar ingredients, so those are not listed as vegan. Urban Decay is also an official sponsor for The Global Women’s Rights Awards. Their level of social dedication has garnered a built-in loyalty from their customers, and that level of devotion has largely contributed to the brand’s success.

This level of community and connectedness is a brand’s dream for enabling a beautiful social media relationship. One rich with the opportunity to create meaningful experiences for their consumers. Here’s what they have going for them:

  • Hugely loyal fan base – As mentioned above, their customers love them, they love the products, and they love the principles behind the products.
  • Urban Decay cares what their customers think. In early 2012, Urban Decay was tossing around the idea of expanding into the Chinese market. One problem, though, China legally requires animal testing on all products before they can be offered to the public. Urban Decay was attracted to the opportunity of  expanding into a marketplace that  would empower the women of that culture and the hope of changing mindsets within that marketplace. They were ready to go in and fight the good fight. However, loyal customers took to the social netwaves expressing their disapproval. It created somewhat of a firestorm, and Urban Decay listened. They decided not to enter the Chinese market until they could do so while remaining true to their core principles. Their community voice was heard and acknowledged, allowing them to establish trust and demonstrating precisely how much the brand values the opinions and sentiment of their loyal customers.
  • UD is a brand that cares about really important issues – animal cruelty and women’s rights – things that matter to the women of Generation C (Connected Consumer). Their dedication and conviction to the principles of these causes has allowed truly meaningful connection with their fanbase.
  • Urban Decay makes their fanbase feel beautiful and inspired to be themselves, to step out and express their individuality, to feel alive as a woman, and to share that feeling with other women. This touches on a level that is deeper than mere product affinity, fostering a sense of intimacy and personal ownership of the brand.

    Wende Zomnir, Chief Creative Officer and Founding Partner welcomes you to The Violet Underground - Official Blog of Urban Decay Cosmetics

    Wende Zomnir, Chief Creative Officer and Founding Partner welcomes you to The Violet Underground – Official Blog of Urban Decay Cosmetics

In April, Urban Decay launched their new blog, The Violet Underground, which in a short time has proven to speak perfectly to their audience passion points. Although late to the blog scene, their blog has the feel of an interactive beauty magazine, and expresses a mix of creativity with highlights such as Music Monday, spotlighting artists and sharing custom playlists, and special event coverage ranging from the NYC Met Gala 2013‘s punk theme, to The Global Women’s Rights Awards, highlighting such individuals as Soosan Firooz, an award honoree for being the first Afghan woman to be seen in the hip-hop scene. Other notable features are mashups of Urban Decay company personal faves, introducing the personal side of your favorite beauty bloggers, and dares, such as suggestions to wear only red lipstick for a whole week and to report back how it affected your week. These juicy segments, while encouraging engagement, also make the blog feel like it was written by your best girlfriends who just want to share life, dream, be a little daring, take you out, and have tons of fun. Urban Decay has a real advantage here to use this blog to proactively lead and design the customer journey and shared experiences that they want their fanbase to have with their brand.

With the purchase of their company by L’Oreal last November, Urban Decay has an extraordinary opportunity to further gratify and strengthen the connection they have with their fanbase. Some supporters have expressed concern that even though Urban Decay has promised to uphold their commitment to remain cruelty-free with no animal testing, the fact remains that some of  L’Oreal’s brands do, in fact, sell to markets where animal testing is required by law. There is a mindset that assumes that this automatically places UD in a compromised ethical position. I tend to look at it a little differently. If Urban Decay is committed to staying cruelty-free, then this partnership with L’Oreal will expand their marketplace, and thereby give more women in more markets the ability to CHOOSE the cruelty-free option over the alternative brands. If anything, this will expand UD’s efforts to bring cruelty-free products to more customers and give the other cosmetic brands reason to pause and consider the ethics in their own processes, when they realize that they are losing business to the moral consciousness of women everywhere. This is the surest way to increase the awareness that there is, in fact, demand for cruelty-free products, and that it is an issue customers care about. Urban Decay’s acquisition by L’Oreal, actually gives UD extended power to do more good. Loyal customers have reason to celebrate!

Urban Decay Cosmetics has long known the secret components to brand success – quality products and genuine relationship with your customers. Factor in the creation of intentional experiences for their audience, and this is the foundation that their future social media presence will grow on and flourish. As a social media professional, this is one company I would love to work with. I will be keeping my eye on them.

38 Responses to Why Urban Decay Cosmetics is Positioned to Succeed With Social Media

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  2. The Leaping Bunny Program sets itself apart from other cruelty-free lists by reviewing companies’ adherence to a strict no animal testing standard and removing those companies that no longer comply. “The tragedy of this is that testing cosmetic products and ingredients on animals is cruel and unnecessary,” commented Sue Leary, Chair of CCIC. The certification program remains in dialogue with companies and other experts on the issue, and supports efforts to persuade Chinese officials to accept non-animal alternative test methods.

  3. Urban Decay is a cruelty-free brand and is committed to ending animal testing. We do not test our products on animals, nor do we allow others to test on our behalf. Additionally, we require our suppliers to certify that the raw materials used in the manufacture of our products are not tested on animals. Our Brand is certified by both PETA and The Leaping Bunny Program (CCIC) as cruelty-free.

  4. Urban Decay is a cruelty-free brand and is committed to ending animal testing. We do not test our products on animals, nor do we allow others to test on our behalf. Additionally, we require our suppliers to certify that the raw materials used in the manufacture of our products are not tested on animals. Our Brand is certified by both PETA and The Leaping Bunny Program (CCIC) as cruelty-free.

  5. With this being said many fans are not satisfied because the parent company does encourage animal testing and in turn all of the profits of Urban Decay will end up in the hands of a company who does not have any compassion for the lives of animals. Urban Decay will most likely end up losing it’s Leaping Bunny logo if the product ends up for sell in China; which L’Oreal sells most of their products at. Many consumers are confused at the fact that Urban Decay will continue to stay with their bunny logo even though their parent company tests on animals. In a way Urban Decay will not entirely be cruelty free and this is sad due to many of their products are vegan as well.

  6. gold price says:

    My Beauty Bunny is an award-winning, cruelty free beauty blog. We’re here to help you find the best hair, skin, makeup and other beauty products NOT tested on animals!

  7. Bryce Soto says:

    Urban Decay is a cruelty-free brand and is committed to ending animal testing. We do not test our products on animals, nor do we allow others to test on our behalf. Additionally, we require our suppliers to certify that the raw materials used in the manufacture of our products are not tested on animals. Our Brand is certified by both PETA and The Leaping Bunny Program (CCIC) as cruelty-free.

  8. As a former lover of Urban Decay’s vegan cosmetic products, I’m disappointed that they are going back on their cruelty-free stance and I will no longer support their brand. Please let Urban Decay know how you fill about this change !

  9. Autumn Johnson says:

    A lot of excellent information in this piece. I love that you are focusing on such an important and far-reaching cause, which helps to further raise awareness, by prompting readers to think about their own choices when choosing cosmetics. Without companies likes these and people supporting them, we will continue to see products that damage the environment, are cruel to animals and are made in working conditions unsuitable for workers. Consumers have to make changes with the power of their pocketbooks and blogs like this help to get people thinking and taking action in the right direction.

  10. Mike Alwood says:

    Nice article Denise! Well written and informative! I may look into these for Jen. Thanks!

  11. Great informative article. There’s lots to be learned from a brand with far reach and socially aware business practices. I hope to see UD and other far reaching companies use their brand to encourage social awareness.

  12. William Siu says:

    This is a wonderful article Denise. With brand loyalty, customers of Urban Decay can use social media to further promote their cruelty-free products to help spread the company’s influence into the cosmetic industry. They are doing a tremendous job in listening to customer feedback to help shape their decisions because customers are the key to a company’s success.

  13. Laura Gonsalves says:

    Wonderful article, Denise!!! I had no idea about UD or their moral values. Makes me want to go out and try their products! I don’t think I ever have….

  14. Amy Miller says:

    Very well-written article Denise! I so appreciate your insight and I am constantly impressed at your intuitiveness in knowing just the right information that would appeal to so many people in what you choose to write about. I believe we are increasingly becoming more environmentally conscious and genuinely interested in supporting the economy in a way that is ethical and resonates with our values. I for one knew nothing about Urban Decay before this article and on my next visit to Sephora or Macy’s or wherever they sell this brand, I will certainly take a closer look (I need a good red lipstick). I appreciate that this company is not solely about the bottom line and has not compromised it’s own values to further expand their business worldwide. Lastly, I think it’s admirable that they recognize their ability to make significant contributions to various causes that make a difference, and generously do just that.

  15. Irene says:

    Generation C! Wow there’s a name for us! I’m always looking for the healthy, socially responsible alternative when it comes to food, household items and makeup. This article really drives home the point that we as consumers have a voice in our buying power. Urban Decay looks like a company I’d support. I would initially be worried about L’Oreal stepping in but since, according to this article, Urban Decay has outlined their standards and practices, I think they’ll be just fine. :)

  16. Diane mouser says:

    Refreshing view of how we all should aspire to be, socially responsible, aware and proactive! Denise, you always inspire me :)
    This article did it today! Thanks once again!

  17. AnaV says:

    Great article! I love my UD eyeshadows! Now love them even more! Did not know they were cruelty free :)

  18. DeniseHolt says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful comments, everyone! I really admire the transparency that Urban Decay has as a company. They are a role model for how brands need to be in the digital age we are in. Connected consumers want social value in their favorite brands, and UD really delivers on that front.

  19. Interesting how a customer conscience first based company grew its valuation through social media and staying true to its roots. L’Oreal’s acquisition clearly demonstrates that marketing and capitol are no substitute for truth. Looks like a win win.

  20. Matthew Trolan says:

    Interesting article by Denise! I like the fact that the company stood by its core values even after being acquired by a larger company. I believe if a company comes up with a solid set of products that benefit society, that the marketing message they espouse should be tied to the company’s core values. In that way, the consumer’s confidence level in using the product(s) is not compromised even after a company is acquired, or makes attempts to enter a new market place.

  21. Kelly Joseph says:

    What a great article ! I am happy to see that there are companies still out there that care about animals, being a vegetarian and a love of all life I will happily buy Urban Decay cosmetics. I was unaware of what strong values they had, thanks for your wonderful and informative article.

  22. Dominick Martinez says:

    It takes people like you Denise to recognize talented companies with great values like Urban Decay Cosmetics. Continue to spread the good word of a great company! Good for you for recognizing a great company with rare values!

  23. MMT says:

    I use Urban Decay products and I couldn’t be more pleased to find out through your article that they do not test on animals. Not only are their products awesome, especially their powders, but the company itself is awesome!
    Thank your for the insight!

  24. Melinda says:

    Great article, Denise! They are my favorite brand, but I knew very little about the actual company. Thank you for the detailed information.

  25. Licia says:

    I had no idea Urban Decay did not allow animal testing! Thanks for the article! Very informative.

  26. Well spoken Denise! I agree 100% in your perspective that UD is one brand to keep an eye on. Customer loyalty is a cardinal rule and it takes guts to stand by your motto when there are big money signs fluttering about. It’s easy to have the desire to “sell out” in today’s economy but UD is sticking to their guns and I have the utmost respect for this kind of etiquette. Times are changing and these guys are smart to understand now, that loyalty and ethics are keys to success for business longevity. Not to mention the fact that they’re keeping operations domestic, right here in good ol’ US of A…! Thanks for the article 😉

  27. Another great article by Denise! Very informative and thourough with direct links to important sites.

  28. Sandra Dee says:

    My daughter just introduced me to UD today. Thanks for such an informative article. It’s refreshing to read about a company’s dedication to responsible policies.

  29. Michele says:

    Great article and very informative. I’ve used their eyeliners for years because of the fabulous colors offered and will now look into their other products for my daily beauty routine. It’s nice to see companies making ethical and smart decisions like no animal testing.

  30. Tchell DePaepe says:

    Great article! I have used Urban Decay cosmetics for years because they don’t test on animals. It good to know I can still feel like I’m making a small contribution for a better planet. Thank you for writing this informative post on what direction the company is going. It makes me want to continue to be a loyal customer!

  31. Donna says:

    Excellent article, very informative!
    Personally I have always used Mac products and now after reading this article I’m considering making a change. Lastly I think it’s fantastic there is no animal testing!

  32. Brian says:

    Great Article! Very interesting with regards to animal testing.

  33. Rebecca Slavin says:

    Great article! It is wonderful to read about a company that cares about doing the right thing. Thanks for the information and links. I’m going to have to check them out! :)

  34. Melissa says:

    Awesome article highlighting the reasons I am a loyal UD user: solid products and the strong principles behind them.

  35. Denise says:

    “In early 2012, Urban Decay was tossing around the idea of expanding into the Chinese market.” Really? Get your facts straight… They announced they were entering China… and they pulled back after everyone got pissed. That’s not tossing around an idea.. that’s backtracking after messing up…

  36. Dr. Chase Cooper says:

    Excellent article on a great company. Other companies should use Urban Decay Cosmetics as a role model!

  37. Dan Scannell says:

    Another great article! I really appreciate how this company is highlighted, as they value their strong ethical values (i.e., no testing of animals) over additional profit (not enetring China’s market unless they can do so w/out testing products on animals. Thank you-

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