5 head-turning brand activation ideas for beauty brands

The beauty industry loves getting hands-on with its audience. From beauty-focused events to social media idea-sharing, these brands’ emphasis on interaction and engagement has led to an energized, engaged community of followers and customers.

The use of hashtags, images, and video tutorials has resulted in increased transparency and visibility; asking customers for feedback and contributions to the brand conversation has strengthened the intensity of the connection with their audiences. New beauty brands, such as Fenty Beauty, have used live video, pop-up shops, and more to build massive social communities.

And while these tactics have resulted in significant followings, connecting one-on-one with customers is critical in giving beauty brands a tangible presence and strengthening emotional connections. And because beauty is so visual by nature, brands are smart to capitalize on the revenue-generating benefits of executing a live experience. With statistics showing that 98% of attendees are more likely to purchase a product following an activation, investing in experiences is well worth it.

Now is the time to get experiential. Here are 5 brand activation ideas that will turn heads and help both emerging and established beauty brands connect with consumers one-on-one. Bonus: they will result in some awesome consumer-generated content too.

Virtual beauty: digital makeup sampling via a smart mirror or AR app

Sephora, almost every woman’s favorite beauty store, has a strong following on social media and a great brand activation record. They recently took the idea of sampling to the next level in a move that showcased how companies can combine the day-to-day routine of their industry with modern technology to wow their audience.

As a beauty brand, samples and demos are a big part of the shopping experience. However, in a traditional environment, hygiene, convenience, and upkeep of the testing area are ongoing concerns. Recently, Sephora released a digital “mirror” via augmented reality that allowed consumers to “try on” cosmetics in real-time while they shop. Not only does this tech allow for color testing, but it is a 3-D simulation, which takes Sephora’s brand activation ideas a step above 2-D counterparts. Introducing AR into a brand activation or retail experience is a great way to give consumers an unforgettable, and valuable, experience.

Make up splashed with water.

Prove it: execute a fun stay-proof challenge

There’s so many beauty challenges on the Internet that it’s tough to keep track, but they do demonstrate the fact that people love to show off their makeup skills and test new products. One great way to engage consumers is to incorporate a “stay proof” challenge into your brand activation to prove how well your products last under pressure. Invite attendees over for a makeup application, then lead them on a “fun run” or workout session to show off your brand’s smear-proof creds. Or get more avante guarde with a fully made up promo model and a dunk tank. Depending on your brand personality, the sky is the limit.

From there, take your challenge viral. Encourage attendees to share images and video from the event, and consider inviting influencers and other brand fans to recreate your stay proof challenge on their own using a custom hashtag.

Partner up: run a co-branded event with a dating app

When is comes to brand activation ideas that maximize impact and budget, co-branded events with a non-competitive, complementary company is a big win for everyone involved. Not only do stakeholders enjoy mutual promotion and a shared fanbase, they can also split the cost of the event, making the activation budget-friendly.

When it comes to makeup, nothing prompts a full-on beauty routine quite like a first date. Beauty brands can partner with a popular dating site or app to execute speed dating events that give participants red-carpet treatment before meeting their for-now soulmate. Before the event, ladies can get a professional makeup application while the guys receive skincare tips. Throw in a partnership with an adult beverage company that provides attendees with something to sip and let love take its course.

Brand activation ideas for beauty brands

Beauty evolution: educate consumers on how to adopt new products with age

Like all things in life, as we age, our beauty and makeup priorities and products change. The hot pink lipstick that you loved as a teenager might evolve into a power red for your company’s big sales pitch. From skincare concerns and beauty goals to the needs and desires of our overall health and appearance, our products evolve as we do.

Often the best way to sell to someone is to educate them. Beauty brand activations can take advantage of a face-to-face encounter by showing consumers why they should choose different products to accommodate their needs as they get older. Use quizzes and demonstrations to explain how the skin ages differently at various points in life and how a makeup routine should shift accordingly. Consider catering to a more mature audience through workshops that show them how to experience beauty and self-confidence as they age. Brand activations that offer age-specific engagement opportunities will help customers feel a personal connection with your brand.

Be a do-gooder: incorporate a cause

Today’s beauty customers balk at the notion that a brand tests on animals, leading to many “cruelty-free” and “no animal testing” labels on products. In fact, more consumers are concerned about animal testing than they are about a product being organic or paraben-free. This means it’s a great time for vegan and cruelty-free beauty brands to up their game and execute activations that appeal to the conscious consumer.

Design a brand activation that allows consumers to join your company in making the world a better place for animals. Partner with an animal rights organization, or one that advocates for the end of animal testing. Give attendees an opportunity to participate in an activity that benefits the organization. For example, for every photo taken at the event that is posted to social media with a custom brand hashtag, your company can donate a certain amount to the charity. Giving consumers a way to do good and feel good will contribute to a meaningful and memorable brand experience.

The best brand activation ideas are the ones that consumers remember

Beauty is a vibrant industry with no shortage of enthusiastic, often charismatic, fans. Brand activations are the perfect accompaniment to a consumer-centric marketing strategy that many companies are already running with. By incorporating brand activation ideas such as digital components, complementary brands, great causes and more, beauty brands can solidify their relationship with their client-base, find opportunities to connect with new consumers, and increase sales.