The events of 2020 have pulled diversity and inclusivity sharply into focus. The Black Lives Matter movement has had an enormous impact on the world at large, and the beauty industry is no exception.
Racial equity has long been an issue in the beauty industry, sadly, with many brands ignoring the market for darker skin tones, or catering to it very poorly. However, currently many brands are now expanding their product ranges, ensuring people of colour are represented in their advertising, and enhancing their brand tone and message to reflect a more inclusive approach.
Back in 2017, Rihanna shook up the beauty industry, when she announced her beauty brand Fenty would be dropping 40 different shades of foundation for all skin tones. Given the amazing public reaction to this, other brands looked to follow suit.
When considering influencer marketing, it’s important to ensure your list of partners is as diverse as possible in terms of gender, sexuality, race, age, ability, and body type and skin type. Gone are the days of skincare brands only choosing white, slim, clear-skinned young girls to represent them. Good!
Rose Gallagher, an Instagram brand ambassador of IT Cosmetics, has rosacea and recommends beauty and skincare products to her 43k followers to help soothe / mask this skin complaint. Haircare brand, Pantene, launched their mainstream TV advert this year, featuring trans model Paris Lees, presenter Katie Piper who was the victim of an acid attack in 2008, and Ramla Ali, a black British boxer. Kate Grant, a model with Down Syndrome, was selected as a brand ambassador for Benefit in 2019.
Liz Dalton, director at Strada Creative, said: “Over the past two years, we’ve seen a shift in the models chosen to represent our beauty clients. This has included a wider mix of age, gender, ethnicity, and also what is considered stereotypical ‘beautiful’. This trend is set to continue as consumers want a genuine and meaningful connection with a brand.”
When brand ambassadors have a disability, or are older, or aren’t the expected gender, then more people are being – and seeing themselves – represented in the mainstream. This means that more people relate to the brand and it’s products, and therefore feel a meaningful connection with them.