This June, Elle Morris and I traveled to the annual three-day HBA Global Expo in New York to present “The Future Face of Beauty” and “The Rise of the Latino Market.” The conference has long been the convergence point for brands ranging from small, indie start-ups to category-leading beauty franchises.
This year’s lineup of speakers and educational sessions was impressive—but we found the most inspiring to be the brand case studies presented by Matthew Malin, Chief Executive Officer of Malin+Goetz and Jude Severin, President of Deborah Lippmann, whose eponymous founder created a beauty brand celebrated by runway giants and luxury retailers alike. Getting their firsthand accounts of building iconic beauty brands was both educational and rousing for the start-up businesses in the audience and the agencies that seek to partner with them.
Influence of Technology
The influence of technology at the show was in full swing for a second year in a row. While last year’s technology themes focused on social media, blogger influence and multiplatform messaging, this year the buzz shifted toward the influence of 3D printing, a slew of augmented reality apps and self-diagnostic beauty tools. In a panel discussing augmented reality’s role in retail, Rahul Mehendale, founder of mySkin, spoke about the expansive scope of apps—ranging from acne to anti-aging. Parham Aarabi, CEO of innovative app developer ModiFace, highlighted best-in-class adaptations of technologies, like Vichy’s Skin Analysis tool, that add real value to the retail experience.
Importance of Credentialing
We also saw the importance of credentialing manifest in multiple presentations, ranging from social vetting to the need for a certified organic standard for cosmetics. Beauty claims are transitioning from “free from” to more and more claims borrowing from the food and beverage category like “gluten-free and vegan.” As trends within the food and beverage category increasingly influence the beauty industry’s concept of “natural,” transparency is at odds with the magic and mystique at the heart of many beauty brands.
Latina Beauty Consumer
Our talk this year focused on the Latina beauty consumer—the evolution of race and culture in the US market and drivers of Latina identity. More than ever, understanding the values and desires of this consumer is key to capturing the growing Latino market—leveraging these insights to inform the future of health and beauty branding. This awareness can help brands understand how regimens that some may consider unconventional could be opportunities to connect with new consumers in new ways, such as the insights that Latino men are twice as likely to shower multiple times a day, or their openness to partaking in salon services such as manicures and pedicures.
There was a lot of energy in the room and a great deal of engagement and interest in examples of the slowly emerging portrayals of multiracial beauty in media. Elle’s firsthand anecdotes of her experience as a third-generation Cuban American, as well as being the mother of biracial children, illuminated growing statistics: 1 in 6 people in the US today are Latino; multiracial births have increased by 50% since 2000 (4.2 million); and by 2050, we project 1 in 20 Americans to be mixed race. Agencies need to look beyond the Don-Draper depiction of the all-American family.
Our talk was followed by a panel discussion on broader demographic trends influencing the industry, featuring male-grooming expert Pamela S. Viglielmo, COO at Mënaji Skincare and millennial expert Jennifer Walsh, CEO at Pride and Glory and founder of The Beauty Bar. A lively dialogue followed on topics ranging from the complexity of leveraging consumer insights to the future of modern beauty ideals.
You can find our presentation online by clicking here.
Bryan Goodpaster is a creative director at LPK, where he is often called upon for his non-traditional approach and strategic consultancy—helping crack wicked brand problems and strategic conundrums for many category-leading brands. Follow Bryan on Twitter at @bryangoodpaster or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.