Once seen as a market predominantly appealing to and targeting women, the beauty industry is broadening to have universal appeal. Wellness and self-care is no longer confined to specific gender identity, following a movement of embracing gender fluidity. Hence we are seeing a rollout of more gender-neutral and ethically-inclusive brands that promote their products on the basis of the concerns they address, rather than the gender they are targeting.
Beauty brands including The Ordinary, Aesop, MAC, and Fenty Skin all position their products as unisex. We’ve also seen celebrities lead the charge in this space, such as Harry Styles whose ‘Pleasing’ beauty line features nail polishes and skincare modelled by both female and male models across a range of ages.
With gender neutrality becoming the norm in more industries, brands’ PR and marketing strategies should follow suit. Therefore there are a number of considerations that can ultimately benefit brands in the long term.
Adopting a gender-neutral approach to beauty campaigns gives the opportunity to reach new, and more, demographics, without dismissing core audiences who will be most interested in products.
Where beauty products were previously typically most likely to feature in women’s consumer titles, brands are now able to target a wider variety of publications and work with a range on influencers to reach more audiences.
Brands that help to break gender stereotypes and support consumers to express their personal identity will earn more loyalty and trust from customers, leading to stronger brand credibility. The “pink tax” is seeing more backlash, and brands have come under fire for unnecessarily offering female versions of products – such as Bic creating a “For Her” pen rage.
Inclusivity and diversity are now also expected among all consumers – so showing support is a critical requirement for bands, rather than something unique that helps them stand out or be celebrated.
Those identifying as transgender and non-binary want to be seen and respected, so ignoring this population entirely not only reflects badly from an awareness perspective but can negatively impact sales.
Brands not adopting genuine, purpose-driven marketing approaches could ultimately risk being left behind as more brands adapt to cultural and societal changes.
We share our top tips on how brands can make sure PR strategies are gender-neutral
Diverse models and influencers
Making your marketing more gender inclusive doesn’t mean leaving women out of it completely, but should be demonstrated in how people are visually represented in a brand’s website, media materials, and social media. Imagery should promote products being used by a range of audiences either through using diverse models or sharing UGC content from different demographics. Similarly, gifting product to a wider range of influencers helps to showcase a brand’s gender inclusivity.
Use inclusive language
More brands are separating their product offerings by creating “Beauty” and “Grooming” sections on websites, rather than “Women” and “Men”. This same language can be considered and adopted throughout press releases, social media copy and campaigns, discussing a product’s benefits and use – rather than trying to target one specific audience. By using descriptive language, rather than gendered categories, products will appeal to a wider audience.
Be thoughtful in forms and surveys
Many PR teams utilise surveys to create consumer research – unveiling attitudes and thoughts to certain topics and issues. When creating these surveys, respondents are often asked to declare if they are “male” or “female”, which in turn can produce news stories such as “50% of men think…” This can be alienating to those forced to choose between these options, showing their identity doesn’t count to the brand. Instead, make sure you’re thinking about all audiences when creating forms and surveys, so no one is left out.
If you would like to find out how a PR campaign can help communicate your brand’s values, get in touch with our award-winning Consumer PR team today.