The digital landscape has created an uptick in new and innovative companies across many popular markets thanks to the accessibility of social media and its ability to create an immediate feedback loop with customers. However, this constant communication has also paved the way for creative ingenuity and for brand-builders to consider new opportunities that come with creating content focused on everyday products in sought-after categories. At PLANOLY, we're always interested in seeing how like-minded brands in the same space differentiate themselves on social media, and today's article will deep dive into this through a category case study of women's shaving brands.
Category Case Study: Analyzing Women's Shaving Brands on Instagram
Overall, it's been interesting to see the beauty/wellness landscape shift in tandem with social changes around women's empowerment and the rise of "real" beauty, and many brands have acted accordingly when it comes to their storytelling and marketing efforts. Enter Billie (@billie), a female-first body care brand with a colorful look, inclusive brand DNA, and thoughtful product assortment of shaving essentials that cater to "womankind." Billie's recognizable and bold branding has effortlessly translated to the company's Instagram page where it continues its message of empowerment through eclectic, multimedia content. In looking how it compares to other brands in the women's shaving/body care space, Billie certainly takes the lead in establishing a memorable aesthetic featuring an ethereal, nostalgic, and filtered appearance that lends an element of realness to the content which aligns with the brand's mission of inclusivity. Furthermore, Billie strategically includes culturally-relevant memes or posts of dynamic women (ranging from the cast of Friends to animated heroines like Daria and Angelica from Rugrats) to complete its #throwback look, and on a grander scale, demonstrate the brand's commitment to providing products that serve a universal need for all women. Similar to Billie, the recently-launched brand Flamingo (@meetflamingo) was born for the digital generation but has a few prime differentiators when it comes to its overall Instagram approach. The first noticeable element is the brand's aesthetic which leans in the direction of a softer, more neutral aesthetic versus Billie's bold color palette and use of pop culture imagery. The content itself integrates more graphic design quote posts that feature testimonials from Flamingo customers along with branded "definitions" of terms to know that demonstrate Flamingo's cheeky tone of voice. Additionally, Flamingo's community-building strategy outwardly extends beyond its own channels as evidenced in its influencer play earlier this year which engaged select influencers like Katie Sturino (@katiesturino), Alyssa Coscarelli (@alyssainthecity), and Mary Lawless (@happilygrey) to share how they use Flamingo at home or in their routines. Finally, Flamingo has also focused on building out its Stories content as a place to further champion its community and provide insight as to how to care for their products to ensure a lasting, quality experience. This overall approach shows Flamingo's understanding of the importance of building key relationships and content opportunities on both its owned channels as well as with like- minded partners too. At the other end of the spectrum, looking at a mainstay brand like Gillette Venus (@gillettevenus) provides an interesting contrast to younger brands in the women's shaving space. It's immediately clear that like both of the previously mentioned examples, Gillette Venus is using Instagram as a platform to further solidify its place in the conversation around real beauty. However, given the brand's enduring history, Gillette Venus shows real women but has also tapped into bigger personalities and celebrities to spread this message of empowerment to the masses. Furthermore, the brand is leveraging this form of influencer marketing in a unique way by bridging the gap between industries as well — for example, look at their initiative with Regina King to spearhead the "Her Shot" campaign which engaged emerging female directors to create exclusive content for Gillette Venus' IGTV channel. This holistic use of Instagram (and cross-industry collaboration) demonstrates how Gillette Venus has tapped into creative opportunities to breathe new life into a generic industry, and in turn, build its brand relevance as a leader in the space. Our last example is Oui Shave (@ouishave). Right from the start, the company's unique value-add is that it focuses explicitly on providing razors that are made for women with sensitive skin. This specialization is carried through to the brand's content and universal hashtag #fewerbetterblades — and because of this more personal approach to shaving, Oui has tapped into its founder to play a role in also personalizing the brand's content. This is evidenced in Oui's dedicated "HEY" Highlight (which features their founder Karen Young) along with her candid posts on entrepreneurship every so often on Oui's feed. With this in mind, the brand's conversational tone extends to other content posted throughout Oui's Instagram which has created an ongoing dialogue with their customers. Just look at their "Ask Me Anything" Stories content to questions posted on the grid that engage Oui's community about what they want to see next from the brand. In this instance, this dual focus on lifestyle and educational content showcase Oui's unique positioning as a brand to not only purchase from but to learn from as well.
Now that we've assessed a few important players in the women's shaving landscape, below are a few key takeaways to consider when making your brand stand out in a congested market.
- Context is everything. Even if the same product is being sold by similar companies, providing context around your brand's lifestyle, mission, and unique product differences through immersive social content is essential. As we've seen in this article, each of the featured examples has a strong brand identity. This then poses the vital question of how the identity itself can be translated into engaging social content that paints a picture of who that particular brand is, and in turn, what unique value their customers are receiving by being part of that brand's community. Understanding what values and pillars you want to serve as a baseline for your social content will help establish a distinct voice that will resonate with your followers, and in turn, set you apart from the competition.
- A strong visual identity in a crowded market is essential. With the above point in mind, when we're looking at a market like women's shaving, it is especially important to consider how social content will act as a hook and engage customers to not only purchase products like razors out of necessity but find inspiration and an added value due to a larger brand narrative or mission. In this day and age, this often happens through lively visual content, so ensuring consistency across digital channels will help establish trust and ongoing interest as your brand develops its narrative further.
- Social content and creative collaboration go hand in hand. Whether it's a cross-industry collaboration, influencer marketing, or Instagram Q&As, utilizing and engaging with your respective network will not only get more eyes on your brand but further cement your brand POV in the eyes of your community. And in a saturated industry (like women's shaving), this can be the golden ticket to staking your claim as a brand that can succeed while coexisting with other industry mainstays.