As one of the biggest beauty disruptors in the last decade, it makes sense that Deciem wouldn’t be looking to a standard industry playbook for its marketing strategy.
“Agility and reactive marketing are key,” said Dionne Lois Cullen, Deciem’s chief brand officer. “We have to plan for the unplanned, take lots of mini chances and join our customers in the conversations they’re having, instead of forcing a message that suits a marketing plan.”
Case in point: The parent company of The Ordinary continued its “Slowvember” anti-Black Friday campaign for its third year, shutting down its site on Black Friday and instead offering a month-long discount to promote more responsible consumption.
With its science-focused branding and emphasis on researched ingredients, Deciem also jumped into the conversation around ingredient safety. With its “Everything is Chemicals” campaign in June 2021, it promoted bringing “science-backed, repeatable, experimental evidence to the forefront” with a series of educational content on social media with an emphasis on a “scientifically sound perspective that encompasses both the principles of toxicology and the basis of regulatory requirements,” when it comes to ingredients. This was aimed at combating online misinformation about nebulous concepts of “toxins” in products that don’t have basis in scientific studies — these have also impacted public sentiments on vaccines during the pandemic. “Deciem was founded to bring integrity and honesty to the beauty industry, and this conversation helped us reinforce that nothing is cleaner than the truth,” said Cullen.
The company’s rapid growth and cult status has been thanks, in part, to its blunt, open messaging. When it joined the many brands raising prices this year, it came out with an Instagram post two weeks before announcing the change, stating that it was needed to compensate its employees well. This was part of its “dedication to being open and honest with our community,” said Cullen.
With an emphasis on authenticity, Cullen is focused on “boosting content after it’s been made organically and amplifying community conversation,” she said.
She added, “How can we not only listen to what our customers are saying, but also have everyone else hear them too?”
As The Ordinary’s peeling solution has gone organically viral on TikTok multiple times, including last month, the brand’s TikTok strategy includes spending a lot of time in the comments section, said Cullen. “It’s surprising how much time people spend there. What a beautiful thing if the authenticity of your organic conversation with a customer can get other customers to understand more about your brand.”
The beauty marketing landscape — perhaps thanks in part to Deciem itself — has “become less tactical” in recent years, said Cullen. “Marketing today requires more empathy than it ever has before. Caring more about the consumer’s needs than if they purchase is what builds conversation, trust, long-term relationships and customer advocacy.”
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