As a team of storytellers, TeamEV can’t help but admire brands who tell their stories well. In the latest ‘EV Loves…’ Holly shares why Glossier is one of her favourite examples of brand identity and customer engagement.
Few brands have successfully established a cult-like following and an instantly recognisable brand in such a short timeframe like Glossier has. Emerging in 2014, Glossier’s rise to notoriety was perfectly timed with the meteoric rise of Instagram and social media marketing. As founder of beauty blog Into The Gloss, which she began in 2010, CEO Emily Weiss’ own personal experience of influencer advertising and marketing gave her a unique insight into how to engage with the new generation of millennial (and now Gen Z) customers. Put simply, Weiss’ strategy for creating a beauty start-up boiled down to one question: how do you make a beauty brand whose sweatshirt people would want to wear? This holistic approach to building a brand and its core ethos is one that has stood Glossier in good stead in terms of attracting loyal customers whilst maintaining an alluring, “it-brand” status.
Glossier, both in terms of its product range and marketing, has always had a Tumblr-friendly, minimalist-focused aesthetic, which has made its stock universally popular and accessible. When the brand launched in 2014, it began with just four products: a moisturiser, face mist, skin tint and a lip balm. Fast forward to 2020, Glossier now offers 36 different skincare, make-up and fragrance products as well as its latest offering, lounge apparel: ‘Glossiwear’. As well as this, the company is now valued at $1.2bn, boasts 2.7 million followers on Instagram, employs over 500 people and its cult-favourite brow pomade (Boy Brow) is sold once every 30 seconds.
What makes Glossier special, alongside its trademark simplicity, is the brand’s dedication to curating a multi-faceted journey for customers; from the beginning to the end of their shopping experience. This is evident both in the physical and online stores; both of which immediately create a sense of exclusivity for customers because you can only buy Glossier’s products directly from the brand. Equally, its signature Skincare Quiz educates prospective customers on how to choose the products best suited to their skin type and desired results, in order to maintain a low-effort beauty routine. This simplistic approach to offering tailored advice isn’t as personalised as offerings from similar brands (think Function of Beauty or The Ordinary), but it’s enough to create a sincere connection between Glossier and its consumer.
Arguably, the most impressive experience that Glossier has created for its core audience can be found in its physical retail stores. Last summer, I ventured down to Glossier’s flagship store in New York, which is tucked away in between SoHo and Chinatown, and was captivated by the experience. Pretty much everything is decorated in the brand’s signature shade of millennial pink, which is accompanied by neutral accents of white and florals. It almost felt like stepping into a surreal art exhibit, due to the distinctive design features and minute, flat-lay display tables. Glossier staff, who Weiss and her team have dubbed ‘offline editors’, float around in pastel pink jumpsuits ready to talk to you about shade ranges and product bundles.
My favourite part of the experience was not just feeling like I’d stumbled upon a super-exclusive E-Girl club but the act of paying for and receiving my order. There are no cash registers, you simply pay via iPad and then head to the collection desk to receive your order, which is parachuted down a conveyor belt to you! As well as your order, you get a personalised, branded bag with your name on and usually a couple of freebies, such as laptop stickers and mini samples.
In my opinion, this is by far Glossier’s most successful marketing tactic; making customers (including myself) feel a sense of reward and enjoyment for parting with our money! Overall, Glossier is so popular because its products are both cute and functional, whilst the customer journey makes you feel valued and provides you with a sense of gratification.