In February, Selena Gomez announced that she would be introducing a line of beauty products this summer and called for submissions from fans to be featured in the brand’s first campaign. The brand, called Rare Beauty, asked applicants to share what makes them rare and planned to fly a group of approximately 50 finalists to Los Angeles to meet each other and be photographed.
In three days, the brand received more than 20,000 submissions, and the #wearerare campaign drew tens of thousands of engagements on Instagram. But then the global pandemic put a stop to travel and group events, forcing the brand to postpone the shoot. “What we would have traditionally posted about doesn’t feel as relevant,” says CMO Katie Welch.
Instead, the brand hosted a style of “community call” previously associated with corporate meetings rather than influencer connections. Using Zoom, the brand invited 10 of the applicants, selected at random, to join a video call with five employees from Rare Beauty. The call was a success, Welch says, because it fulfilled the original intent of creating a meaningful connection with the brand’s community. Rare Beauty likely would not have initially tried a video conference, she says, but it has now hosted three more, coining it “Rare Beauty Chats”.
“During this pandemic, while people are isolating and often feeling lonely, it’s never been more important to connect. I feel grateful that we’re still able to connect and engage with our community in a meaningful and intimate way,” says Gomez. Last week, the singer shared during an Instagram Live that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Welch says that mental health will be at the centre of the brand’s purpose. “It's something that Selena advocates for and speaks very openly about. We want to help people get more access to support and services, and help people feel more authentically connected to one another and less alone in the world,” she says.
By pivoting to live video, Rare Beauty found what many have landed on during a collective working from home moment: video has become an important lifeline for building and maintaining customer relationships and testing the bounds of unpolished familiarity. While some brands have been testing live video for years, for many, now is the first time that they’ve had the need — and the time — to take the leap. With events cancelled and stores closed, it’s the next-best option to having a real-life experience.
Adoption has been dramatic. Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in a week, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that usage was so high that the company was “struggling to keep the lights on”. During the third week in March, Instagram reported a 70 per cent increase in Instagram Live views, and it has begun curating recommended daily watch schedules. Zoom, when contacted for comment, said that its data scientists were so slammed that they didn’t even have time to provide data on how the video conference platform is being used.
For smaller brands, accessible live video platforms let them continue intimate, one-on-one dialogues. Stylists from independent workwear brand Nora Gardner, for example, style hard-to-match items in client closets; hat designer Jamie Slye helps gift card recipients pick the perfect hat. Emerging designer Christopher John Rogers applies eyeshadow, virtually, with makeup artist Marcelo Gutierrez, and Virginia aesthetician Sarah Akram conducts virtual facials.
The full article read on the Vogue Business