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Brand Strategy Social Media Marketing

Is it cool yet? The new rules of revolutionary period, hair loss, and skincare brands

By Adam Payne, Strategy Director

TEAM LEWIS

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August 14, 2023 | 7 min read

A new generation of brands is tackling once hushed-up medical and personal concerns with candor, verve, and savvy socials. Team Lewis’s Adam Payne peers behind the success of the likes of Topicals, Hims, and Midol.

A single-blade razor, held by a hand against a pink background

How are period, hair loss, shaving and skincare brands shaking up the rules of brand strategy? / Helen Barth via Unsplash

Verrucas, cramps, and piles: not the most appealing topics. But are these (often literally) sensitive subjects becoming new hallowed ground for developing standout brands?

Product categories that have been historically unloved, uncool, or kept confidential are going through something of a brand renaissance.

People care about finding fixes to problems that truly impact their lives. And solutions are coming out of the shadows, taking pride of place, no longer hidden away. A new age of sector disruptors is changing perceptions, making difficult topics more approachable and functional issues more interesting.

And while the disruptor premise of being different, rather than just better, is prevalent throughout, the commonalities between these disruptors are clear. Let’s explore how brands can harness these trends to stand out in this new age of candor.

Stand for something bigger

For brands, the art of showing you care, and then living those values, is at the heart of many success stories.

Skincare brand Topicals may be focused on treating chronic surface skin conditions and flare-ups, but it also passes an equal concern to what those conditions do to sufferers, mentally. Via profit donations, charitable strategic partnerships, and open conversations, the brand combines science and social impact to solidify long-lasting customer resonance.

Don’t shy away

Midol, a manufacturer of period painkillers, is another brand with plenty of customer support information at the ready. But it’s the brand’s willingness to bring personality to menstrual concerns that sets it up to stand out.

The company’s latest campaign is no different: “Mi-cramps suck. Mi-boobs hurt. Mi-period has no mercy.” Rather than hiding away in the aisles, Midol is bringing the goal of more open conversations around these crucial topics to the fore.

Make it aesthetic

Gone are the days when a cheesy infomercial, featuring balding individuals running sheepishly into hair clinics, was the advertising standard for hair loss treatments. Now, brands like Hims are making a previously sensitive treatment look elegant.

Simplicity is key, from the premise to messaging and visuals. More suited to designer living rooms than the depths of a bathroom cabinet, the Hims brand is modernizing what solutions to male issues can look like. It’s not that hard (and they have treatments for that, too.)

Build a community

With a recent ‘bushy or bare at the beach’ campaign, razor manufacturer Estrid is doing its bit to change in-person social norms for good. But that’s not the only ‘social’ world in which it has thrived. Whether for the ‘everything shower’ or just a big-toe-trim, Estrid’s products have taken over our social feeds.

With a social-first route to market, the brand’s aesthetic, pastel razors seem to be stuck on the walls of every influencer – and their followers. Whether it’s getting paid partners chomping at the bit, or growing an organic ambassador army, getting real people to tell your story isn’t going away.

Like and subscribe

Laundry isn’t at the top of everyone’s fun weekend plans. But what’s not to love about planet-friendly household cleaning?

Detergent brand Smol’s stand-out attribute is not just its functional-yet-aesthetic product packages, but its purchase model. With subscriptions delivered to your door whenever you need them, Smol is challenging outdated shopping habits for functional utilities. Another brand that loves nice copywriting, this is, in its own words, maybe just a Smol revolution.

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Form, function, and flexibility

From skin disorders to sustainability, many of the issues facing customers today don’t have quick, simple fixes. Companies must be there to support them in the long run, so we need to create flexible brands that allow people to join evolving conversations, on different channels, which can bring through their personality even on non-advertising mediums.

Naturally, this must not involve gimmicks. Modern customers are far too aware and cynical. In today’s world of authenticity and transparency, big claims need big performances, as this science-backed era of cut-through brands shows.

Brands offering genuine solutions need to embed themselves into the lives of those who care and need them most – by changing the traditional narrative to solve problems in a way that others can’t or won’t. By creating a positioning around resonance that combines style and substance. And by engaging in a refreshingly honest and accessible manner. It’s all straight out of the disrupter playbook.

Inconvenience and stigma come in many shapes and forms. But for brands and marketers alike, it’s an opportunity to be real-life superheroes. Now, does anyone know anything about bloating? Asking for a friend.

Brand Strategy Social Media Marketing

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TEAM LEWIS

TEAM LEWIS is a global marketing agency, delivering Creative Campaigns for Commercial and Community Causes. The company has 25 offices throughout Asia, Europe and...

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