Cosmetic Packaging and Design – The Influencer Revolution

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Cosmetic Packaging and Design – The Influencer Revolution

Cosmetic Packaging and Design – The Influencer Revolution


The social networking evolution has completely transformed the digital marketing industry, a space in which influencers are currently calling the shots. Influencer, blogger and digital guru are just some of the buzzwords that have taken over the Internet in recent years. These terms can be overwhelming and confusing for brands and consumers alike. Forbes have estimated the Influencer marketing industry to be valued at a substantial $2.38 billion in 2019. In this modern world, no brand strategy is complete without incorporating social media in some shape or form. This digital marketing era has brought with it revolutions across all industries, there are very few, if any, industries that remain untouched by this digital movement.

What exactly is an influencer??

According to Marketing Hub, Influencers are defined as people who have used social media to build a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular topic. They create regular posts about their topic on their preferred social media channels. As a result, they gather a large following of engaged people who trust and value their opinions and pay close attention to their posts. Influencers can create trends and encourage their followers to purchase the products that they promote. This makes them extremely attractive to brands as an alternative direct marketing route compared to traditional channels.

It is evident that there is one particular platform that’s accelerating the influencer boom. With 1 billion active monthly users and en route to 2 billion, Instagram has been dubbed as the fastest growing social network in 2019. Users are posting 95 million photos and videos per day along with 400 million Instagram stories daily and a mind blowing 4.2 billion posts being liked. Every. Single. Day.

The Instagram Influencer market is growing phenomenally year on year.

How are brands leveraging social media trends?

Brands are beginning to heavily rely on the use of influencers as a marketing platform to promote their products and increase engagement on social media. To put it simply, brands pay Influencers a fixed fee or commission-based fee to promote their product or service on their social channels using captivating imagery and video. When an influencer recommends a product or service their followers expect it to be a product worth buying, which is extremely beneficial for both Influencers and brands.

This gives brands the opportunity to extend their reach, hit their target market and create brand awareness in exchange for a fee from Influencers. Influencers offer highly curated beautiful photography (usually a once off deal) and more natural lifestyle on the go shots (usually with an ongoing or longer term partnership).

To put this accelerated growth into perspective; it took radio 35 years to reach 50 million users. It took television 13 years. It took Instagram only 19 months. Click To Tweet


The arrival of Influencer own brand products

Influencers were quick to realise the magnitude of the sales they are capable of and were keen to take a slice of the pie for themselves. This can be seen with international influencers such as Huda Kattan, Zoella and Nikki Tutorials experiencing unrivalled success with the launch of their own brands. Huda Kattan is a beauty influencer with over 26.2 million Instagram followers. She is now one of the most influential women in the Middle East. Using her Instagram following as a springboard, she has launched her own cosmetics brand, which has just been valued at a staggering $1billion by Forbes. Kylie Jenner was recently named the youngest self-made billionaire ever by Forbes. At 21, she was worth $1 billion and her cosmetics company, KylieCosmetics, valued at $900 million. There are also endless YouTube beauty influencers that have become millionaires as a result of brand deals and YouTube views including Jeffree Star, Michelle Phan, Zoella, Kandee Johnson, James Charles, Jaclyn Hill and Desi Perkins to name just a few.

Huda Kattan – makeup artist, beauty blogger and entrepreneur. Founder of Huda Beauty.


However, It’s not just the international influencers that are making an impact with their beauty brands, Ireland is a powerhouse for successful Influencers come entrepreneurs. Aimee Connolly founded Sculpted by Aimee, a cosmetics brand that is growing from strength to strength. Holly Carpenter founded her own jewellery and accessories company called Love Lift. SoSueMe has experienced massive success with multiple cosmetic brands and products spanning across all beauty ranges, from eyelashes to tan she has nailed all her launches. Cork native Just Jordan has launched her cosmetics brand Luna by Lisa. Vogue Williams has just launched her all new organic tan. Pamela Laird, Dragons Den entrepreneur has experienced amazing success with her brand Moxi Loves. However, this new era of Influencer own brands can make it particularly difficult for new brands with little to no following to successfully launch into the cosmetics market.


So how can your brand make an impact?

The beauty industry in Ireland can be an extremely lucrative market for the successful. According to statista, the Irish cosmetics market was valued at €128 million in 2018 with +2.8% growth year on year. This means that there is massive potential in Ireland but equally an intense amount of competition. With so much competition, how can you make sure that your product breaks through the cluttered shelves and in your target customer’s hands? Packaging! It’s the first thing that consumers interact with when reviewing your product so it needs to portray the quality of your product and entice them to buy. In todays fast paced competitive environment, packaging needs to be connected and keep up to speed with sustainability but still be equally beautiful and impactful, sound challenging? Fear not, here are some pointers to guide you toward the top packaging trends of 2019.



Trends in packaging 2019

Packaging is now expected to deliver more than ever before. Visually driven social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest have changed the way consumers interact with brands. With just one tap on a smartphone, these platforms allow consumers to learn more about the brand and product details, and to compare prices before even landing on the brand’s website. Packaging may not be what springs to mind when you think of digital marketing, but it is in fact an extremely effective way of bridging the gap between the physical and digital world.

Packaging now needs to be both sustainable and interactive.


Its important to note there are some elements you need to have decided before considering incorporating the below trends, these are;

  • Know your brand colours and fonts styles and be consistent.
  • Know what information you need to display on your packaging.
  • Know the function of your packaging.
  • Know what the focal point of the packaging is.
  • Source a great graphic designer – they are visual communicators who will guide you towards the best design for your product.
  • Decide the structure of your packaging before artwork or graphic design commence, you can decide this with your packaging supplier and or graphic designer.
  • Consider using an unusual packaging shape, the most common in cosmetics is rectangular so try to step away from this to differentiate yourself and even stand out on ecommerce platforms.
  • Incorporate a window on to packaging, as it will encourage higher consumer engagement with your product.
  • Start designing – When designing you can begin to incorporate the below trends to achieve optimal results.

Mintel’s industry report has announced four trends impacting the global packaging industry in 2019 and beyond, you can download the full report here.

“As technology connects and innovates packaging in the virtual world, consumers demand eco-friendly solutions to clean up the real world”. Mintel 2019. Click To Tweet

Lets have a look at the packaging trends that will ensure that you get the products off the shelf into your customer’s hands;

  1. Connected packaging
  2. Closing the loop
  3. Reinventing the box
  4. Plastic free


1. Connected Packaging 

Connected packaging offers unique flexibility that is new to the market, it is the connection between a physical package and a digital experience. Connected packaging refers to packaging that has the ability to connect to digital content using sensors and codes that can send and receive information between the package and the consumer which allows phone users to access more information in a way that cannot be achieved with limited space on pack.

Connected packaging is becoming an increasingly popular and effective marketing tool, it bridges the gap between the physical and digital world and has the potential to influence customers when they are making purchasing decisions. It is important that your connected packaging is fully integrated into branded digital marketing strategy’s in order to create a cohesive, seamless journey for the consumer. Consumers now expect experiences along their path to purchase and connected packaging offers just that.

Linking physical packaging to the online world has become particularly important for the cosmetics industry as it gives brands the opportunity to transition customers to their online platforms. They can then educate their customers about how to use their products and serve them relevant information to encourage further purchasing. There are various options that brands can incorporate interactivity via packaging; QR codes, Near Field Communication, Radio Frequency Identification Tags, Bluetooth and Augmented Reality.


For the consumer, connected packaging offers interaction and a memorable shopping experience. It’s no longer enough to simply provide a product; the customer needs to remember the experience of their journey through purchase. Connected packaging can build a brand story, provide additional information about products and provide promotional offers and discounts to encourage additional purchases. By linking customers through to an online space it gives the brand control about how they are portrayed and what the customer is interacting with. This is a prime opportunity to deliver enhanced content and directly influence purchasing decisions.

The brands that embrace connected packaging early on will differentiate themselves from competitors and be in a position to leverage the potential gains from the ever-expanding social media revolution. It provides endless potential for brands to connect their customers to sharable branded stories on Instagram, filters on Snapchat and create momentum for their brand online.


2. Closing the Loop

As sustainability is at the forefront of global discussions, customers are not only demanding recyclable packaging but they want to understand how brands are actively taking part. In light of this, major brands are proclaiming their commitment to provide 100% recycled packaging by an expected date in the future. However, few have considered how exactly they will accomplish this and where and who will be supplying these recyclable materials.

Brands need to educate consumers about recycling.



Brands have a prime opportunity to meet consumer’s needs and educate them about their recycling process. The recycling message must be communicated on the packaging in a simple, straightforward and actionable format. Brands can differentiate themselves by being part of the solution and committing to use recycled material in new packaging.


3. Reinventing the Box

The rapid development of ecommerce has had a massive impact on businesses in all aspects – in particular the supply chain. It is the most disruptive movement many industries have experienced in the past several decades. Ecommerce poses challenges in every aspect of the supply chain but when it is embraced by businesses it can drive costs down and consumer engagement up.

Packaging now needs to meet the fast paced demand of ecommerce shipping channels and brands that achieve this effectively will be leaps ahead of the rest. Customers consider the quality of the product and brand to be associated with the care taken to package and ship the product. Considering products can be handled in excess of 20 times during the journey through the ecommerce supply chain, an established ecommerce packaging strategy is essential to allow brands to design packaging for the worst cast scenario. A good ecommerce packaging strategy should protect against leaks, dents, breakages, spills and theft. Any of these occurrences reflect badly on brands and create more work and cost in customer services and returns. Therefore, brands that take the time to invest in ecommerce package optimisation stand to reap large social, financial and brand gains.

The evolution of social media and ecommerce have come together to bring a whole new element to product purchasing ‘the unboxing’ phase. Influencers who unveil their products using videos and images across social platforms like YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram have highlighted the ‘unboxing’ stage. Influencers and customers alike expect beautiful packaging to enable them to create these exciting unboxing videos on their social media channels, which can have millions of impressions worldwide.


Great packaging has the power to excite and create a journey that the audience can follow. Equal attention should be given to the shipper and packaging as this is the first point of contact with your brand to the consumer, messaging and branding should be split between the secondary and shipping container. Shippers provide an opportunity to create an optimal unboxing experience. The shipper should be layered to allow for suspense and discovery, keywords and hashtags should be included on the outer and inner packaging to allow campaign tracking. You can incorporate personalised messages using notes, direct messages, and personalised discount codes. Carrying your branding the whole way through this process is integral. This experience in itself is an amazing digital marketing opportunity that brands should capitalise on.


4. Plastic free

Consumer concern over growing plastic pollution is driving retailers to consider plastic-free aisles in store. With most retailers turning their focus towards creating plastic free aisles, brands must quickly consider what alternative packaging solutions they can use to guarantee they get space on the shelf. Excess plastic is one of the most pressing environmental concerns globally and brands have a crucial role to play in this. The term ‘Plastic-free’ seems to be quite self-explanatory but there is actually no universal definition for what this term means. Though small ‘packaging free’ stores are appearing, the inconvenience of bringing multiple containers means that larger retailers will most likely look to alternative materials rather than offering loose products. For example, some brands are claiming that they are plastic free but are using cellulose-based plastic. Cellulose plastic is actually a biodegradable plastic made from plant tissues. Therefore, it might be a case of the right type of plastic not just ‘plastic free’.

Puma has introduced biodegradable packaging solutions.

Brands can address this confusion and educate about good plastic that preserves products, offers convenience and can be recycled vs. bad plastic that adds little to the customer experience. Brands should act now, either to ensure a place in emerging plastic-free zones by switching to acceptable pack materials, or by clearly explaining the benefits of using alternative plastic packaging to their product, and addressing plastic pollution concerns with appropriate end of life pack solutions.


Some Concluding Thoughts

With the rapid acceleration of social media and Influencer marketing, the market is becoming increasingly competitive and saturated. Brands are at a disadvantage compared to Influencers who have a ready-made loyal and engaged platform of potential customers. In order to leverage the potential offered in this digital era, brands need to become innovative and shake things up. One of the ways they can do this is to utilise the above packaging trends to create innovative packaging that not only serves sustainability but also keeps up with ecommerce demands. Incorporating these will ensure that they are optimising their packaging to leverage the potential offered in this new digital era.

Advances in technology are constantly making us consider innovative ways that brands can connect with consumers. There are many challenges in today’s diverse digital era but there are equally endless opportunities if brands are willing to step outside the norms and employ creative innovative strategies. Brands that embrace these changes and seek ways to make disruptive technology work for them, rather than viewing it as an obstacle, will reap the rewards.

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