E.l.f. is a brand that aims to tackle the competitive cosmetics market by offering affordably priced, premium makeup. They are one of the first to offer premium quality makeup at shockingly low prices, and came to be popular through the power of social media and micro-influencers. While certain marketing and brand tactics may have worked for E.l.f. as a startup, a company must change as they grow in order to be successful. One of the ways to do so includes rebranding.
The company is still performing well, but there are a few ways that they could rebrand and experience growth. One of the means of doing so could be, instead of a “creative and expressive” brand positioning, the company could position themselves as “trusted by professionals.” In addition to this, trusted by professionals, they can push being a sustainable makeup choice. E.l.f. can offer limited edition professional makeup artist lines, with their same affordable pricing, and cultivate partnership with larger influencers in the makeup industry—like famous YouTube makeup gurus. The company already demonstrates corporate social responsibility by not testing on animals, and they have developed a natural “minerals” line of product. They can make a move to be more conscientious of what is going into their products and have these influencers endorse the sustainability of the company. Cosmetics brand Pennellifaro (2017) asserts that sustainability and environmental /social awareness will be the number things driving consumer purchases in makeup for the 2017-2018 year. This would make advertising and positioning their product as natural and environmentally/socially aware something that would help them attract more consumers and solidify a position with the larger grandmothers of cosmetics like L’Oreal or Maybelline.
In terms of marketing, well-known influencers will play a role in promoting the product as such. While the company has said that people relate well to smaller influencers and that micro-influencers have more social reach, the company has already amassed a loyal fan base (Tode, 2017). The company utilized micro-influencers to be relatable, attract attention, and form a foundation for success. The company has been wildly successful by relying on this method as a means of word of mouth marketing and social media marketing. However, just because micro-influencers worked for them as a startup, it doesn’t mean it will work for them now. The company has grown so much since inception and accumulated a large following. Now, E.l.f. is at a crossroads where it needs to branch out and reposition their brand image as “sustainable,” in addition to being premium quality and affordable, because they now have the followers to vouch for them. Doing so would help give the company credibility as a quality brand—not just a cheap brand—as well as a socially responsible company. If something is cheap, especially makeup, people tend to shy away from it because they question the value. It’s probably bad quality, is what one would assume. Likewise, if product is full of harsh ingredients or sourced from undesirable places, millennial consumers—the ones who are purchasing due to CSR—will shy away from purchasing because that company does not reflect their own values or care about making the world a better place (which is the mantra of the millennials). By generating professional reviews and endorsements, the makeup community and millennials seeking quality product for low prices would be more inclined to purchase, and have a piece of mind in doing so. Millennials look for opinions any time they purchase, which is why the company utilized micro-influencers in the first place. Should the company utilize influencers that are more powerful, they will be able to grow their sales and market segments even more. Right now, they attract lower class and portions of the middle class segment, but with professional endorsement, they could grow to attract even upper class citizens, which is a market they have yet to conquer.
Pennellifaro. (20 Feb 2017). The 5 top trends for the cosmetic market 2017-2018. Retrieved from https://www.pennellifaro.com/en-ww/the-5-top-trends-for-the-cosmetic-market-2017-2018.aspx
Tode, C. (13 Mar 2017). How E.L.F. Cosmetics builds community and drives results with micro-influencers. Retrieved from http://www.marketingdive.com/news/elf-cosmetics-building-community-micro-influencers-social-media/437915/