Jenner capital: fast-growing Kylie Cosmetics

17 July 2018

Launched in November 2015 by Kylie Jenner, the eponymous Kylie Cosmetics has become one of the fastest growing beauty brands in the world, with a $900-million revenue recently announced by Forbes. Cosmetics Packaging Insight examines how leveraging social media has created and crafted this popular cosmetics company.

In November 2015, Kylie Jenner – famous for her appearance on US reality TV show Keeping up with the Kardashians – released her first eponymous lip kit. The collection of three matt lip kits sold out in under a minute. Less than three years later, Kylie Cosmetics has become a full-service, direct-toconsumer beauty brand, with offerings that include eye shadows, blushes, tools and the aforementioned signature lip kits.

Social media has been undeniably instrumental in contributing to Jenner’s phenomenal brand popularity, having been employed as her main and sole marketing platform. Jenner’s social media accounts rank among the most popular in the world.

With regard to her Instagram profile, her following has surpassed 110 million, which has subsequently allowed Kylie Cosmetics to capitalise on Kylie Jenner’s vast media presence with an in-built and pre-existing audience of the exact target demographic. Social media marketing allows followers to keep up-to-date with the latest product launches, tutorials and news updated by Jenner herself, which gives a sense of personal engagement with the celebrity.

The brand continues to grow and is projected to become one of the fastestgrowing beauty brands globally. In the 18 months since its initial launch, Jenner’s brand generated $420 million in retail sales and the company is now projected to turn over $1 billion in lifetime sales by 2022.

Leveraging social media

Looking at Kylie Cosmetics’ marketing strategies, the brand has successfully managed to execute the product, pricing, packaging and promotionial elements of the lip kit product portfolio. Overall, the main themes driving these four elements revolve around creating a sense of exclusivity and uniqueness. Firstly, consumers can solely purchase Kylie Cosmetics products through the brand’s official website, as manufacturers and retailers are not given rights to sell the products.

The promise of high-quality ingredient formulations, stand out packaging and first-hand celebrity endorsement lures in consumers seeking products that allow them to stand out while joining customers worldwide in promoting a popular brand. Creating a sense of uniqueness and exclusivity through branding has capitalised on the appeal to today’s trendy, image driven consumers.

Vast social media followings have built brand engagement by generating product demand through creating exclusive, on-trend and easily relatable digital content. This has displayed an understanding of the targeted audience’s purchasing behaviours to create a brand loyal direct-toconsumer product relationship.

The brand marketing strategy has proved so successful because Jenner’s followers are predominantly young women, aged 18–24, who are social media savvy and hyper-aware of the latest beauty products. By understanding the brand-targeted audience and how to best effectively reach out to them, Kylie Cosmetics has capitalised through creating hype around new product launches on the brand and Jenner’s personal social media accounts. Given that 44% of global female consumers regularly use social media sites to discover new products and brands, followed by 41% who say they use these sites to follow brand news and updates, beauty brands with a large social media presence like that of Jenner’s should benefit from this advantage by directly reaching out to the consumer in the form of exclusive launches and digital content. Moreover, 35% of global female consumers use social media sites or apps to purchase products, increasing to 43% among 18–24 year olds. Kylie Cosmetics showcases a strong understanding of this, directly appealing to this defined consumer group. With female consumers having become more appearance conscious in recent years, rising from an estimated 75% in 2015 to 82% in 2017, Kylie Cosmetics has managed to appeal to young consumers who look for ways to enhance their physical appearance, creating looks that stand out and allow consumers to express their identity in a creative way. The brand has managed to capture ‘selfie culture’, creating an online buzz to encourage consumers to post selfies wearing Kylie Cosmetics products, such as its lipsticks. This in particular has driven traction among young consumers – those who tend to photograph themselves and upload the images to social media more than older consumers.

Consumer product engagement is one of the key aspects Kylie Cosmetics has managed to capture and drive through the use of social media platforms. The brand reinforces the idea of luxury and exclusivity through social media branding that Jenner herself is actively involved with. This creates a sense of direct consumer engagement with the celebrity. For example, the product launch strategies that the company is known for include uploading short previews on Snapchat, or posting video promotions on Instagram and YouTube accounts. This unique way of reaching out to the targeted demographic has created an intense whirlwind of hype around new products, which is evident in the time each product has taken to completely sell out.

Selfie culture

When it comes to purchasing beauty and grooming products, millennial females tend to be highly influenced by celebrities and social media, as well as video tutorials, reviews or demonstrations posted online. Product demonstrations in the form of video make-up tutorials posted on the brand’s social media accounts provide new dimensions of product engagement. In addition, using third-party bloggers and influencers has given the brand credibility through reviews provided by popular online influencers and celebrities outside of Jenner’s esteemed social circles.

Using social media advertising in a measured way – without over-promoting a product – is important when creating an element of inimitability. Kylie Cosmetics has managed use of social media in a restrained but effective manner, creating a sense of mystery through giving consumers sneak previews into new, curated products in the making. Furthermore, through the use of social media, brands can create a build-up and online publicity prior to the product’s unveiling. This naturally creates a sense of excitement for its target customers. Overall, this personal product engagement proves to be appealing to Jenner’s online followers and existing demographic – those who are buying into ‘being Kylie’ – which in turn is driving brand popularity and product demand.

Action points

The key to successful social media marketing lies in developing products that create a sense of exclusivity and offering limited edition products in constrained quantities. In turn, companies must create engaging and easy-to-consume social media content that helps generate brand popularity.

This works so well for Kylie’s Cosmetics because of Jenner’s preexisting fame and following, but can be mimicked with a lesser fan-base to capitalise on the audience’s need to photograph and ‘showoff’.

The aim is to target social media savvy consumers who discover, follow and purchase their beauty products on social media. This could be through sending respected beauty bloggers – or those relevant to the field of the product – free samples in exchange for glowing reviews to add credibility to what could otherwise be considered a vanity project of the nouveau riche.

When marketing the products, to grab the attention of the shortspan consumers, a sense of all output being premium, with highquality ingredients, stand out packaging and unique and unusual product designs should be promoted. By leveraging celebrity status and popularity to develop consumer engagement and drive direct online conversations with target audience, the brand will have created a market unto itself. In Jenner’s case, using her connections and allowing her celebrity friends to soft-market the products has proved vital in spreading the appeal and scope of the brand, with fantastic results.

Looking at Kylie Cosmetics’ marketing strategies, the brand has successfully managed to execute product, pricing, packaging and promotionial elements.

Where next?

While celebrity endorsements are the bread and butter of the beauty world, Kylie Cosmetics has opened up new opportunities by shining a light on how far social media platforms can be employed to develop an exceptionally strong and fast-growing brand. As aforementioned, with the current rate of activity, it will be a $1-billion company within two years’ trading. By comparison, it took George Clooney five years to sell his tequila brand for a similiar amount, which was then shared between him, his investors and partners. Given his body of work and having been in the public eye for nearly 20 years, Kylie Cosmetics’ success with alacrity is incredible.

Last year, we saw visible growth in ‘beauty queen’ packaging, which was designed to be showcased on social media. Heralded by Kanebo’s ‘Evita Whip Soap’, it appears that the industry has entered a world where the physical packaging of an online brand, backed by an online celebrity online, can guarantee to sell a product without the requirement of physical shops. The first time a customer will likely encounter the brand in person would be upon receiving the package at home.

This has naturally brought issues regarding quality, colour management, sizing and other such discrepancies that are avoided when handling a physical product before purchase. However, the figurehead’s social media presence and appearance of transparency with their consumers means that these problems are on their way to resolution with the efficiency of more traditional shopping and customer service experiences.

Kylie Jenner at the 2018 Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala

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