Inflation over the last few years has everyone trying to save a few bucks where we can.
One major beneficiary of this penny-pinching has been E.L.F., a makeup brand that sells products similar to much pricier wares for a fraction of the cost.
And in some cases, they’re even considered superior to the original – as with one E.L.F. product the Washington Post highlighted that retails for just $14, versus the spendy Charlotte Tilbury version that costs $49.
While much of this magic lies in E.L.F.’s product formulation and manufacturing, there’s a PR story to tell too.
As the Post reports:
E.L.F. was one of the first brands to join TikTok and BeReal, and it recently announced an interactive experience on Roblox. It’s also on Twitch, the live-streaming gaming platform, and has partnered with a popular female gamer.
The brand has “been really mastering disruptive marketing,” said (Delphine Horvath, a cosmetics and fragrance marketing professor at Fashion Institute of Technology), noting its advertising campaigns with actress Jennifer Coolidge and product partnerships with brands such as Chipotle, Dunkin’ Donuts and American Eagle “that create buzz, boost engagement and brand awareness.”
In addition to marketing on these platforms, E.L.F. also conducts social listening – and acts on it, such as in the case of a TikTok livestream with CEO Tarang Amin where customers begged for a specific dupe. Immediately after the stream, he was working with product to make it happen.
Why it matters
Having a great product is half the battle in PR. But the other half is ensuring that customers know about it – and know what your brand is about. E.L.F. stays current with social media trends, not content to stick with what’s already working but always looking for the next big thing and using strategic partnerships to grow their audience.
But just as importantly, once they’ve acquired that audience, they listen to them. They understand their place in the market and work to act responsively as new, viral products rise.
Obviously this market placement won’t work for all or even most brands. But being an affordable imitator has brought huge success for E.L.F., guided by strong audience understanding and reactivity to trends.
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