By Conor Begley
cpna-5I stumbled across an article the other day in the New York Times about the current presidential election that I think has some surprising similarities to what is currently happening within the beauty industry. I know this sounds far-fetched, but walk with me for a minute here.

The article is titled, “Measuring Donald Trump’s Mammoth Advantage in Free Media” and discusses how Donald Trump’s success has confounded most political experts because of the small amount of money he has spent on paid advertising. The article argues that he has benefitted most strongly from what is known as earned media. Earned media is coverage by news outlets, television studios, blogs and social media that is unpaid for. According to mediaQuant:

“Over the course of the campaign, he has earned close to $2 billion worth of media attention, about twice the all-in price of the most expensive presidential campaigns in history. It is also twice the estimated $746 million that Hillary Clinton, the next best at earning media, took in.”

The topic of earned media has become an increasingly important discussion item that isn’t only relevant within the political community. Within beauty, several brands have utilized similar tactics to Trump and have achieved unbelievable success as a result. A few examples:

  • NYX Cosmetics in 2015 generated $85M in Digital Earned Media Value and was acquired for $500M by L’Oreal at the end of 2014*
  • Too Faced Cosmetics in 2015 generated $88M in Digital Earned Media Value and was also acquired for $500M by General Atlantic in mid 2015.*
  • Finally, Anastasia Beverly Hills in 2015 generated a whopping $194M in Digital Earned Media Value and is the fastest growing brand in beauty in market share by a wide margin.*

The thing that you will find consistently across these brands, as well as Mr. Trump, is a dedication of their marketing efforts towards attaining earned media coverage (in beauty, the focus is on Youtube make-up artists and Instagram personalities) as opposed to more traditional advertising strategies.

The reason this technique has been so effective recently is because the cost to be a publisher has dropped dramatically which has lead to a lot more people creating content than there ever was before.

What this allows for is a brand like NYX to establish relationships with hundreds of Youtube make-up artists to get media coverage at a very low cost. Each one of these Youtube artists may be small individually, but collectively they add up to having a lot more readers than Glamour and will be significantly easier to work with.

Trump has undertaken a very similar philosophy and I think both are worth paying attention to as you think about ways to grow your brand!

*Beauty Earned Media Data from (also my company as a disclaimer)

Conor is the co-founder and president of Tribe Dynamics. Conor and co-founder Jon Namnath founded Tribe Dynamics in April 2012, after Conor discovered the power and potential of influencer marketing while working in Australia. With extensive experience in search marketing, reputation management and CRM systems, Conor and Jon decided that influencer marketers needed their own analytical systems and enterprise-class technology. What began as an intuitive theory shared by two long-time friends, the Silicon Valley based startup in just over two years has become a leading authority in technical marketing and social analytics within the beauty, fashion, and lifestyle industries. Under Conor’s direction, Tribe has developed close relationships with some of the beauty industry’s top brands and publications, including WWD/Beauty Inc. and The CEW’s Beauty Insider, who both feature the startup’s analytics and expertise on an ongoing basis.

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