Embrace The Force of Nature1 February 2018
How haircare brands can own natural to increase relevance.
Since 2013, the value of the UK haircare market has declined. A growing trend for a more natural style has been a key factor in this.
According to Mintel, nearly 60% of women want their hairstyle to look effortless, even on special occasions. 55% of younger women are increasingly likely to down haircare tools to simply leave their style natural.
This effortless and natural trend is a real challenge for haircare brands. They’ve spent decades championing an aspirational and sometimes unnatural aesthetic.
But this doesn’t have to be a problem. To find an answer, it’s important to understand where this trend has come from.
We’ve identified a few causes of the shift towards naturally-does-it style and spotted brands that have expertly ridden this wave, rather than wipe out in it.
The rise of Active Beauty
The athleisure boom is not new news – certainly not in the apparel market where it’s predicted to become an $83b industry by 2020. As gyms increasingly become hubs for socialising as well as working out, the idea of ‘Active Beauty’ is taking over. Witness Gisele looking angry, sweaty and fabulous in Under Armour’s ‘I Will What I Want’ campaign, and you get a sense there’s a new aesthetic influencing women everywhere.
Aside from generally following the active beauty look and feel in communications, haircare brands can fully embrace the active beauty trend in their product line by creating ‘gym-ready’ or ‘active’ themed variants. For example, a hair extensions brand could offer an ‘active’ product specifically designed to withstand regular physical activity (and the resulting sweat) and still look good – perfect for those budding Giseles.
Healthy me, healthy hair
With 54% of women worried about the damage styling does, healthy hair is fast becoming more important than glamorous hair. 40% of 16 to 24-year-olds have reduced their use of hair appliances; 25% are using them at lower temperatures.
Just as we’ve seen with the trend for clean eating, consumers are increasingly conscientious about what they put into or onto their hair, the ingredients and effects.
It’s little wonder that there has been a rise in organic haircare and that brands like Bare Minerals – products powered by nourishing skin-loving minerals – now rub shoulders with makeup counter giants. But the opportunity doesn’t just lie in offering more natural ways to style hair.
This holistic approach to beauty and heightened interest in understanding what a product does – the bad and the good – means brands can win this health-conscious audience’s trust.
Take them on a journey: explain product provenance, help them understand the science, share insider info. Not only will customers have the information they need to make an informed choice, but they’ll also have valuable social currency to explain their choices and help spread the word.
For years, the beauty industry has lured us in and got us buying their products with the promise that they’ll make you a better you.
From multi-million pound celebrity endorsements to laying down the ‘beach-body ready’ challenge, aspirational advertising has played on our insecurities and positioned its products as the way to achieve the unattainable for decades. But things are changing.
Pioneered by brands like Dove and Benetton, advertisers are increasingly likely to celebrate being true to you.
Sure, the latest Missguided campaign still packs in plenty of aspirational characters, but the difference is that they are all just being themselves. Their empowering message of ‘keep being you, it’s a really good look’ is something everyone and anyone can aspire to.
This ‘empowerment’ trend was also the inspiration for our work with hair straightener brand Cloud Nine back in 2015.
To launch the brand we created a campaign that encouraged women to fight against the unnatural, unobtainable look competitors were peddling. Our ‘No Rules’ campaign not only tapped into a product truth, it also celebrated a more natural aesthetic and offered a call-to-arms to be yourself, don’t follow the herd.
Which kind of natural?
There are many angles to this natural trend. Attitudes to what’s considered beautiful have shifted – more effortless, less glamorous looks. Beauty is now something that comes from the inside out. Audiences aren’t afraid of their own individuality.
The trick is to recognise which aspect of natural style your brand can help deliver, and then start talking about it.