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SXSW: Create Inclusive Beauty Communities By Knowing Your Audience

Written by: Ezzah Rafique

In today's rapidly evolving consumer landscape, the beauty industry stands at the forefront of a profound transformation. Since 2020, consumer expectations have undergone a seismic shift, demanding more than just products or services from brands. Moral and ethical considerations have become integral to brand perception, with inclusivity emerging as a cornerstone of consumer preference. Now more than ever, brands must transcend mere rhetoric and actively cultivate inclusive and authentic communities to thrive in this new paradigm.

In the beauty sector, where brand loyalty can be fleeting and Gen Z consumers are quick to explore new avenues, understanding and engaging with diverse audiences is paramount. To navigate this terrain successfully, marketers and tech experts play a pivotal role in crafting strategies that resonate deeply with consumers, fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment.

To navigate this terrain successfully, marketers and tech experts play a pivotal role in crafting strategies that resonate deeply with consumers, fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment. Our roster of speakers brings a wealth of experience and insights to the table:

Ekta Chopra, Chief Digital Officer at e.l.f. Beauty, brings over two decades of technology experience, spearheading digital transformation initiatives crucial to fostering inclusivity.

Judy Lee, Group Creative Director and Global Head of Brand Experiences at Pinterest, is a vocal advocate for inclusion and mentorship, championing diverse representation within the tech and advertising industries.

Astha Malik, Chief Business Officer at Braze, leverages her extensive background in brand-building and revenue acceleration to drive inclusive marketing strategies that resonate with diverse audiences.

Moderated by Emma Sandler, the panel featured Ekta Chopra, Chief Digital Officer for e.l.f. Beauty; Astha Malik, Chief Business Officer for Braze; and Judy Lee, Global Director of Experiential for Pinterest. Each speaker offered unique perspectives rooted in their roles and experiences within the beauty and technology sectors.

Ekta Chopra emphasized e.l.f. Beauty's commitment to authenticity, stating, "Authenticity for e.l.f is in the DNA." She highlighted e.l.f. inclusive approach, catering to "every eye, lip, face, and skin concern," reflecting a genuine connection with their diverse community.

Judy Lee echoed this sentiment, emphasizing Pinterest's dedication to inclusivity by ensuring representation across various dimensions. She stated, "It's really hard to be inspired if you don't feel included," emphasizing the platform's mission to inspire users from diverse backgrounds.

Aastha Malik underscored the importance of leveraging data to understand and engage customers effectively. She emphasized Braze's role in helping brands collect first-party data and personalize experiences, stating, "Individualized personalization is possible only if you seek to understand each of your customers better."

The discussion highlighted the significance of authenticity, alignment with values, and leveraging data-driven insights to drive engagement and foster inclusivity within beauty communities. Actor and Judy Lee shared impactful examples of campaigns and activations that resonated with diverse audiences, further illustrating the power of authenticity and representation in brand messaging.

Ekta Chopra reflected on e.l.f. Beauty's campaign with Paralympic swimmer Anastasia Pagonis, emphasizing the importance of telling diverse stories. She stated, "It's about really going out there once again, really staying true to our purpose."

Judy Lee shared insights from Pinterest's Manifesto Festival at Cannes, showcasing activations that celebrated diversity and empowered users to explore their identities. She highlighted initiatives such as a hair pattern search tool, demonstrating Pinterest's commitment to inclusivity both online and offline.

Astha Malik emphasized Braze's role in enabling brands like e.l.f. Beauty to create personalized experiences at scale. She highlighted Braze's partnership in enhancing e.l.f. Beauty's loyalty program, emphasizing the importance of engaging customers beyond transactions.

Overall, the panel emphasized that fostering inclusive beauty communities requires a holistic approach that integrates authenticity, data-driven insights, and meaningful storytelling. By understanding and embracing the diverse needs of their audience, brands can create transformative experiences that resonate deeply and drive long-term engagement and loyalty.

Listen to the full panel, here.


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