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Reels, representation and how brands can show up with authenticity

by Rich Kivell

February 17, 2022

We’ve seen an explosion in creativity as creators and brands embrace Reels, the latest surface on Instagram to foster new forms of self-expression. In essence, Reels is an accessible production tool that gives anyone the power to create and edit entertaining short-form videos, then share them with the Instagram community.

For those of us simply watching Reels it’s a great way to discover new communities and keep up with how culture is evolving and developing, but for anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator, this discoverability helps them take center stage. This is due to a key difference between creators that you already follow and are engaged with, and those you discover through Reels. It shows up in the ‘explore’ tab to showcase the best of trending culture on Instagram, and offers an intuitive way to extend beyond ‘feed’ and ‘stories’. You can discover an entertaining selection of Reels made by anyone on Instagram, in a vertical feed customized for you. If you love a reel, you can easily like, comment or share it with your friends.

This brings us onto brands and the role they play in this emerging ecosystem. Creators have become central to how people discover new brands and products, even persuading their purchases. As people spend more time online due to the pandemic, the popularity of digital creators has only grown.

Charlotte Tilbury - Reels so everyone feels seen

For brands, the most effective creators to partner with are those seen as authentic, trustworthy and relatable by their audiences. In fact, 60% of global consumers say they’d follow a brand, product or service after seeing it promoted by a creator who shares their values and interests. By rethinking what authentic and relatable means to their audiences, businesses can build trust with consumers.

A prime example of a brand effectively collaborating with creators is Charlotte Tilbury. The beauty community on Instagram is vibrant, diverse and multifaceted. People build connections over style, trends and culture. Not only is there much to discover and learn in these diverse communities, but they are also at the forefront of social commerce as early adopters of new technology. For the relaunch of Charlotte Tilbury’s eagerly awaited Airbrush Flawless Foundation product, the brand needed a campaign to not only match the hype of this unique combination of makeup and skincare, but also to reflect the inclusive nature of the product itself.

Available in 44 shades, it has been created to cater to the complexion needs of everyone and anyone, and Charlotte herself has said it's her most versatile formula yet.

The brand wanted to generate awareness of their product range, but also wanted to show up with authenticity and explore new ways to connect with audiences beyond more traditional methods. They were keen to see the impact of Reels and creator content on sales of the newly released product range.

Whilst there has been an increasing awareness of representation within the beauty industry over the past few years, this is not always reflected in product ranges. The most common issue faced when purchasing beauty products is finding the right product for skin-tones, both due to varying ethnicities and other differences in skin-tone.

Working with creators allows us to reflect a diverse range of skin tones, but also to tap into the beauty community through the easily accessible visual and audio language of Reels.

Find your flawless

To help people ‘find their flawless’ we devised an inclusive, personalized branded content campaign to demonstrate the product and celebrate that anyone can find their flawless shade match to unlock their best-self yet. 44 creators matched to 44 shades.

The native Reels language of lip syncing, green screen, and fast edits, gave Creators a clear brief to recreate a catching repeatable format. Each person was able to inject their own personality whilst also staying consistent to the campaign. Look and feel your best yet, with four steps to flawless.

Creators and personalization

Influence is a connection to culture. It's how we stay up to date with what's happening and trending around us. How we continue to find new ways of expressing who we are and keeping this fresh. And that's exactly why people come to Instagram. To get that "in."

By tapping into the world of Reels and the diverse creators expressing themselves in this space there is an opportunity to build campaigns with representation and intersectionality at the core. We’ll see work that features different layers of diversity, and which pursues progressive portrayals of under represented groups.

Brands that forge partnership with authentic creators can deliver their message through diverse voices, personalized to different kinds of people. They can reject stereotypes and create content that better serves diverse audiences, and ultimately craft more inclusive, authentic and honest people-first ideas.

Learn more about Reels here.

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