Estée Lauder joins TikTok

On Friday, Estée Lauder officially launched its own TikTok account (@esteelauder), marking the platform’s emerging importance for the premium skin-care category.

For its entrance onto TikTok, Estée Lauder plans to host a hashtag challenge called #NightDoneRight from June 12-14, and it’s partnering with 11 creators like Liane Valenzuela (@lianev, 11 million TikTok followers) and Mireya Rios (@mireyarios, 3.8 million TikTok followers). The campaign aims to educate consumers about the importance of taking care of their skin at night, highlighting the brand’s best-selling hero product, Advanced Night Repair. Estée Lauder products range from $24 -$405, with the Advanced Night Repair serum starting at $75 for a 1-ounce bottle. Even up until now, the presence of premium skin-care brands has been minimal. Brands like Guerlain and Drunk Elephant have official brand accounts but have not posted any videos, while Lancôme posted one in July 2020. Erno Laszlo has a non-verified account with only 10 videos since the first was posted in April, while Sunday Riley has been active on a weekly basis since April 2020. According to Jon Roman, Estée Lauder svp of consumer marketing and online, this is part of a larger strategy to reach new Gen-Z and millennial customers and build new communities.

“We are focused on making sure that we are creating content that is the right fit for the right audience,” said Roman. “But, we want to think about community a little bit differently. It’s not a community of Estée Lauder consumers on TikTok; we actually want to build a community of TikTokers that eventually love our brand on their platform.”

Estée Lauder plans to work with TikTok creators, rather than rely on its own in-house operations to achieve this. TikTok video content will be produced by skinfluencers, DermTok, ASMRtists and traditional beauty influencers. Roman said that the brand is specifically looking for “fun” content. He declined to cite specific investments made into TikTok, but said Estée Lauder has increasingly invested in digital channels. It has also partially reallocated funds from “non-traditional” advertising channels.

Before launching its own channel, Estée Lauder has been present on TikTok since July 2020. It spotlighted its reformulations of the Advanced Night Repair serum in July, with an influencer-driven campaign focused on product education and demonstration. And in the U.K., the Estée Lauder brand worked with The Digital Fairy agency to relaunch the Daywear moisturizer in April with Gen Z in mind. Working with TikTok stars including Sara & Avni (@iconicakes, 2 million TikTok followers) and Daisy Jelley (@daisyjelley, 1.7 million TikTok followers), the Daywear campaign was ideated, created and shot exclusively by Gen Zers. This test-and-learn campaign aligns with what Amy Oelkers, TikTok U.S. director of CPG and global business solutions, suggests brands do before diving headfirst with their own channel.

“[We suggest brands] get to know the TikTok community by tapping into existing trends and sub-cultures,” said Oelkers. “Success on the platform looks different for every partner. The key is to show up in a real and authentic way; use organic [content] as your jumping-off point [to become] part of the culture and learn from the communities. Then activate those learnings by encouraging the community to participate with you in a hashtag challenge. The secret to success is great content.”

For the #NightDoneRight campaign challenge, Estée Lauder will benchmark against specific views and shares, and the amount of UGC produced. The brand will also look to an increase in website traffic, product sales and followers on other social channels, like Instagram. It shared the TikTok channel launch news on Instagram on Friday. Roman stressed that, although #NightDoneRight centers on Advanced Night Repair, the heart of the campaign is about nighttime skin-care education.

“[Last summer] we really didn’t see that prestige beauty was very well represented on TikTok,” said Roman. “Prestige beauty and, specifically, skin care was not present. We feel that we’re at a sweet spot, where TikTok is now ready for what we’re going to do.”

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