Glossier's Strategy To Becoming a Millenial-Favorite Brand


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How To Create A Cult Following.... 

Even without the use of any retailers or influencers, Glossier has become an extremely successful makeup brand, a fan-favorite and trendy icon for millennials and young women. The direct-to-consumer brand, whose signature look focuses on natural glows and sheer finishes, has built a diverse community online for all women to share their experiences with products and feel connected in their love for beauty.

How exactly has Glossier built such a strong customer base without traditional means of brand-building? In this blog, Hollywood Branded highlights Glossier’s unique marketing strategy, maintaining engagement with their customers by keeping things relatable and fun while fostering an inclusive community for all women.

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Getting Social With Instagram

Glossier’s Instagram is relatable, not only with representation of all shapes and sizes but also with humorous and aesthetically pleasing photos that liven up one’s feed.

Many makeup brands post solely pictures of customers wearing their products, which can make a feed look monotonous. In addition, many brands have received backlash for not catering to a diverse audience, such as not representing people of color or only showing models with thin figures. Glossier curates their feed to have a variety of photos, including the classic makeup swatches, but also keeps their tile blocks fresh and intriguing with memes, quotes, GIFs, and even pictures of cute puppies. This content does not exactly advertise their product but makes the young target audience feel even more connected to the brand.

The feed features user reviews and tutorials, showing potential new customers real experiences from real customers. These people are not influencers, but rather real, ordinary people that purchased Glossier’s products. This earned media tactic is a great marketing tool for companies to get promotions from customers without spending any money. Unpaid, candid reviews from consumers can be some of the most effective in influencing other potential customers, as it shows real people giving their honest opinions on products. Though traditional paid influencer partnerships have shown to be effective for similar brands, Glossier has excelled with this free-promotion strategy, featuring loyal followers’ sincere reviews and comments on the brand’s products on their page.

CEO Emily Weiss sought to make the brand different from other makeup brands in the way it makes the beauty industry a more approachable and “real” experience. This sense of validation in customers from people similar to them would make them more likely to try the product, just like friends sharing their honest experiences and product recommendations. In addition, featured model photos contain women of all ages, sizes, and races, showcasing the inclusivity and diversity behind which the brand stands.

When scrolling through the feed, the pink aesthetic is maintained making the experience aesthetically pleasing. Following the account becomes a valuable addition to one’s Instagram timeline with engaging content, not just repetitive photos of eyeshadow swatches. This relatability creates a feeling of unity within the follower base as more than just a group of people using the same makeup, but rather a community connected through their love of beauty and the brand.

Glossier Aesthetic on Instagram

Pop-Ups As A Marketing Strategy

Glossier has a sense of urgency and exclusivity by being completely wholesale and only having temporary brick and mortar retail stores. Because Glossier only has pop-up stores and no long-term retail stores, customers feel a sense of urgency and exclusivity when one is placed near them. Glossier has placed pop-up shops in popular cities such as LA, NYC, Austin, Miami, and London that remain in the area for no more than three months. Glossier has avoided using retailers in order to retain complete control over the process from warehouse to customer. CEO Emily Weiss says "We have … this freedom to experiment with offline in a way that most beauty companies that are tied to brick-and-mortar don't." * The shops are only in the area temporarily, so customers feel more pressure to take advantage of the rare opportunity to go into the store, something they might not feel as intensely if the store was there permanently. Having the option to go into the shop and sample products is a rare opportunity because the only other means of purchasing the products is online, where samples are not an option. Additionally, once they find something they like in the store, they are more likely to purchase the item on the spot if there is a line out the door and they might not get this opportunity again. This exclusivity is also likely to motivate young people to post on social media about it and show off their experience in excitement.

**Note: Though the brand avoids wholesome retailers, Glossier has put their fragrance in some Nordstrom stores temporarily in order to allow customers to sample their GlossierYou fragrance. CEO Emily Weiss felt that this decision was necessary for buyers to experience the fragrance prior to purchase. However, these Nordstrom appearances were also temporary, thus maintaining the same exclusivity feel as the other pop up shops.

Glossier Pop-up Shop BostonGlossier Pop Up Shop, Boston, July 2019

Photo: The Boston Globe


Glossier Pop Up Shop London

Glossier Pop Up Shop, London, Fall 2019

Photo: Hype Bae

Going Natural

Glossier emphasizes a natural look and enhancing natural features which appears different for every individual. As mentioned before, Glossier values representation of all ages, races, and sizes on their page. Glossier’s products are all about light coverage with a more natural, dewy finish, focusing on enhancing women’s natural beauty. Glossier maintains its brand look: “images of diverse women with dewy skin and minimal makeup; there's a cheeky, millennial-facing voice”. In the $250 billion makeup industry, makeup can seem intimidating and out-of-reach, but Glossier focuses on meeting women right where they’re at, with products “designed with your real beauty routine in mind.” Throughout the website and the Instagram feed, one will find that the makeup is more sheer, focusing less on covering up and more about highlighting one’s features with a pop of color or a youthful glow. Their skincare line also works to heal and increase skin health in hopes to help women feel more confident in their natural skin.

Glossier Signature Natural Glow Finish

Photo: Glossier

Build Your Community

Among dominant makeup brand empires, Glossier has created a unique revolutionary brand to which young women of all races, sizes, and ages feel connected in the beauty community. Being one of the first in its game to create a brand based on relatability and realness, Glossier has become one of the top makeup brands among young women. Glossier’s marketing strategy is based on social networks, influencer marketing and customer data, which all result in a unique experience for its clients.

Though its competitors have been extremely successful for decades using traditional means of marketing such as retail stores and magazines, Glossier’s unique approach has not only created a brand valuing over $1 billion, but also a platform fostering community among women with a shared love for beauty. 

Standing Out To GenZennials 

Read more about other approaches used by brands to stand out to GenZennials here:

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