Case Study

Exploring Expression Outside of the Mainstream

In the ever-evolving landscape of beauty and personal expression, one major beauty brand found itself at a crossroads, grappling with a profound question: What does beauty truly mean in a world that celebrates diversity and inclusivity? Faced with the challenge of understanding the “Beauty Transformers”—individuals who push the boundaries of conventional beauty norms—the brand embarked on a journey of discovery, seeking to unlock the secrets of the “Futures of Beauty” from these creatively cutting-edge individuals.

The Problem
In a world where inclusivity is an expectation, a major beauty brand wanted to understand “Beauty Transformers” – users of makeup who push their appearance beyond the narrow definitions of current social norms. Our client was interested in learning more about the “Futures of Beauty” from these fascinating, creatively cutting-edge individuals.

Our Approach
We conducted a quant study of 300 hard-to-reach, non-mainstream consumers (followed by a qualitative deep dive) to understand what they see as the functions of makeup and skincare and how it relates to their own personal needs and modes of expression – from hormones to invasive surgeries.  

Because of the recruiting challenges we faced, SPI could not rely on standard research panels but instead used targeted social media advertising to invite potential respondents to join the study. We started with 100 each from three core audiences:

  1. Latina women who use make-up/skincare to embrace their heritage

2. Consumers who use make-up/skincare to enhance their gender expression

3. Women who use medical procedures in the name of beauty

Our quantitative work was deepened by a qualitative online community board in which 6-7 people from each segment shared with us their very personal, intimate experiences and feelings through the use of creative online tools (e.g., photo sharing, collages, videos, “Mad-Lib” style exercises, etc.).

The Solution
Not only did we deliver separate findings for each of the three groups to our client, but we also laddered up our insights to provide an understanding of what these people have in common across ethnicity, gender-identification, age, and personal styles /needs. Through the fresh, new perspectives shared by our respondents, our client learned that in order to deliver to customers on the “Futures of Beauty”, they need to embrace greater fluidity, openness and diversity in both new product development and marketing.

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