As nano and micro-influencers continue speaking to niche audiences, an increasing number of independently owned beauty brands are nurturing communities of small-scale creators. With the influence of indie beauty brands rising dramatically over the past decade, these brands have come to pose a consistent alternative to more corporate beauty brands, which have pivoted their strategies to remain appealing to consumers. But while indie beauty brands boast more resources than ever, they also face a unique set of challenges.
Challenges for Indie Beauty Brands
Let’s take a look at some of the greatest challenges and opportunities that indie beauty brands will face this coming year.
Budget and Resource Constraints
In Tribe Dynamics’ 2021 Trends Report, indie beauty brands often spoke of struggling due to limited manpower, as well as budget constraints for their influencer marketing programs. Meanwhile, with more content creators coming to understand the value they drive for brands, they’re also expecting corresponding compensation for their work. Paying creators is now a standard part of the influencer marketing protocol, and brands will need to allocate their resources accordingly.
Discovering and Retaining Content Creators
When surveyed about the most important aspects of their influencer marketing programs, brands overwhelmingly highlighted two objectives: finding new, impactful content creators, and retaining existing advocates. Neither task has proven easy, with many respondents also identifying creator discovery and retention as challenges for their teams.
An Expectation for Exceptional Product Quality
According to our 2021 Trends Report, creators overwhelmingly emphasized product quality as one of the most important factors in their decisions to work with brands. Conversely, poor product quality was the most commonly cited reason that creators stopped posting about brands. In an era of such fierce competition, it’s more critical than ever for brands to bring high-quality offerings to the market.
Inflation and the Economic Climate
Even the beauty industry’s leaders have taken a continued hit, as fears of an economic downturn concern investors.
Digital Innovation Raises Standards
The beauty market has become highly competitive and fast-paced, forcing brands to invest heavily in digital marketing and product innovation. In order to inspire community support and stay ahead of their competitors, indie brands must take the risks necessary to become trend-setters.
Opportunities for Indie Beauty Brands
As seen in our Q2 2022 Indie Beauty Debrief Report, there are plenty of meaningful opportunities for indie brands, from powerful partnerships with stylists to product gifting.
Celebrity Partnerships Amplify Brands
Powerhouse partnerships certainly aren’t dead. In Q2 2022, Australian haircare brand Bondi Boost thrived thanks to a team-up with reality TV star Ashley Iaconetti (@ashley_iaconetti on Instagram), while Bubble saw impactful content from actress and brand ambassador Madison Pettis (@madisonpettis). These high-profile relationships put both brands in strong standing relative to their competitors.
Micro-Influencers Drive Unique Results
The ROI that micro-influencers are powering for their favorite brands continues to rise, especially for indie beauty. These influencers’ ability to reach niche, targeted audiences is unmatched by other influencer tiers.
Pop-Culture Influence Stands Strong
Depending on this season’s hot show, or boldest pop star, brands have ample opportunity to lean into the latest trends. For instance, organic enthusiasm surrounding the second season of the wildly popular HBO program “Euphoria” spurred tremendous growth for Lemonhead LA. The glitter-focused cosmetics brand was just one of many brands to receive a boost from “Euphoric” content creators.
Gifting Nurtures Creator Relationships
Offering content creators special goodies never gets old. In France, Typology soared in Earned Media Value (EMV) after it gifted products to popular YouTubers like Shera Kerienski, who devoted a skincare spotlight to the brand on her vlog, linking to Typology’s skin diagnostic test and tinted care products. This gifting campaign helped Typology pull in $2.3M EMV in Q1, a 71% quarter-over-quarter increase in the metric.
Indie Beauty Brands Make For Appealing Acquisitions
Indie brands are currently the most sought-after brands by cosmetics marketers, retailers, and shoppers alike due to compelling ingredient stories, creative consumer engagement strategies, and first-rate digital marketing tactics. Investment firms have taken notice, with indie beauty brands often proving a hot commodity for acquisitions.
Sustainability and Accountability are Key
Many beauty brands are taking responsibility for their environmental impact, and striving to reduce waste by implementing post-consumer recycling programs and encouraging shoppers to refill products.
While opportunities for indie beauty brands clearly outweigh the challenges, one thing’s for sure: these disruptors will need to continue to meet the desires of both consumers and their communities of niche content creators. However, as shown by several of the hottest names in beauty, if indie beauty brands navigate these challenges successfully, then there’s no telling how far they might go.
Want to learn about top-performing indie brands across the U.S. and EMEA?