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.
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.