Making the digital grade

I recently ran across a report that so impressed me that I wanted to share it with beauty marketers who might not be aware of it.  L2 is a NYC-based consultancy that regularly publishes a series called the Digital IQ Index.  The Digital IQ Index seeks to grade brands’ performance in the digital arena (elements including factors like website design, social media adoption and digital marketing initiatives) in various sectors such as fashion, jewellery and watches, travel, pharma and finance, among others.  They recently published a report on beauty brands that looked to be one of the most comprehensive I’ve ever reviewed.  The study’s author links digital performance back to shareholder value and underscores how in driving one, value is enhanced in the other.  It is a compelling premise that demands some consideration!

Let’s have a look at how the Beauty Digital Index works.  Various elements of the brand’s digital activities are assessed and weighted.  Site design accounts for 40% of the brand’s digital grade (includes aspects like technology, user experience, ecommerce, tone and others), digital marketing 30% (includes search, advertising, email, etc), social media 20% (includes activity on key platforms) and mobile 10% (mobile optimisation and app offerings).  A brand’s digital “IQ” is thus calculated and might range from Genius (140+) down to Feeble (less than 70).

While the top ranks are filled with predictably impressive digitally performing brands like MAC (Genius), Clinique (Genius), Estee Lauder (Gifted), Bobbi Brown (Gifted) and Victoria’s Secret (Gifted), the overall report verdict is less than positive to the industry.  Scott Galloway, the principal researcher, concludes “Despite impressive growth, marketing continues to show signs of aging.  Beauty executives pay lip service to ‘going digital,’ but their marketing allocation paints a different picture.  Muscle memory, coupled with limited digital understanding, has resulted in what appears to be massive marketing inefficiencies.”  He also points out that traditional magazine editorial sway is increasingly threatened as tastemakers are increasingly found online—and that “the traditional gatekeepers don’t command the space they occupy.”

The entire 44 page .pdf report can be found here .  L2 requires you to register with an email address but the report is free and can be downloaded immediately.  Sixty-six beauty brands are scored, and the report offers fascinating highlights too numerous to list in full here, but includes case studies, focus on social media metrics and year on year brand performances.  If you haven’t had a chance to review this report, do yourself a favour and have a look!

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Apps-solutely Fabulous: A Look at Three Beauty Brand Apps

A quick look at three branded apps gives a sense of how three beauty marketers have approached apps.

The mark. brand has a Beauty & Fashion Trend app which is essentially a catalog of their seasonal collections.  While the trend approach gives it some utility, it is telling that half of the ratings the app has received have only been one star—indicating the app has limited long term utility to users.

Revlon’s All Access app has taken a very magazine approach, with a stable of resident Revlon experts that share insights on beauty and fashion.  That makes sense, given that it was developed for Revlon by magazine publisher Conde Nast’s digital team.  The real test of this app strategy will be whether this “soft sell” approach will ultimately drive customer activity– or simply be an expensive exercise in digital custom publishing.

My Beauty Advisor was developed by Proctor & Gamble for the iPhone and Android.  P&G connects users with such major P&G brands like Clairol, Covergirl, Olay and Pantene. It allows users to browse a free magazine, have a beauty consultation and add products to a virtual “beauty bank” that saves information about consumers’ personal choices.  It seems like a fair exchange for P&G and users, with this telling caveat comment from a user: “I really like this app…love that I can browse makeup and add to my beauty bag…like that it has a pic of the product and customer reviews…the only thing I don’t like is that there is only one brand for each category. I’d like to be able to browse other brands as well…would give five stars if they expanded it.”

If you’ve developed a killer app in the beauty space, why not let me know about it for a future update on apps?  I’d love to hear from you at patty@digitalchameleon.net!

Patty Keegan

Digital Chameleon

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“We need an app, ASAP!”

It seems to be the mantra in marketing departments throughout the land these days.  Everyone it seems has suddenly discovered a burning need to have a branded app.  Certainly there is a growing appetite for app.  As of mid 2011, over 15 billion apps had been downloaded, and offerings are plentiful, with an estimated 425,000 apps for the iPhone and 90,000 for the iPad available on the iTunes store.  Looking more specifically at the beauty category, there are 414 iPhone apps on the iTunes Australia store tagged as “beauty” and 179 iPad apps tagged “beauty”.  And that’s not even looking at the potentially bigger Android app marketplace!

App development isn’t cheap.  Aaron Maxwell, a US developer, suggests a good budgeting rule of thumb is to allocate $30k to develop an app from scratch, not to mention updates and upgrades.  Given the cost, it is worth answering two basic questions before diving into the app pool:

1.)   What is my ROI?  Unless I’m charging for my app, how will I determine what my return on investment is?  Will it generate leads?  Create engagement that translates into purchases?  Build my database?  Without a defined ROI, all you have is an orphaned marketing effort.

2.)   Does my app do anything?  Why would someone download it?  The value of an app lies in a combination of immediacy, simplicity and context.  When it is done well, an app creates a real opportunity for engagement with your prospects.  But when it doesn’t, it will be ignored.

 

Patty Keegan

Digital Chameleon

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Digital PR

Don’t forget social media when it comes to your public relations programs. Digital PR can be an important partner in your social media marketing campaign planning.

So what do we know about digital pr? First, it can be used to promote our brand in traditional ways, but can also be used in new areas such as market research. Second, use social media carefully. When it gets used poorly, our brand can be damaged but when we do handle it well, we get rewarded. Finally don’t wait for the crisis to hit before you prepare your social media PR defenses. Have a script and be prepared beforehand or you’ll waste crucial time scrambling to respond.

Patty Keegan
Digital Chameleon

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5 tips to optimising your social media

Optimise your social media whenever you can. Here are five tips to optimising your social media efforts from Rohit Bhargava, noted social media strategist.

They include creating shareable content, always making our content easy to share with others, making sure we reward others for engaging with our brand, getting in front though proactive sharing and, finally, giving our brand fans permission and encouragement when it comes to creating mashups that involve our brand.

Patty Keegan
Digital Chameleon

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Gov’t media inquiry is naive

While incredulously reading about the Independent Media Inquiry into print and online media in Australia, I saw this cartoon (in the AFR), which says it all!


Nice that the government is waking up to “… technological change that is leading to the migration of print media to digital and online platforms.”  Which, by the way, has already happened, and has been happening for 15 years.  While they wring their hands about the lack of financial support for “quality journalism,” the next wave of “technological change” has already taken hold.

Alan Kohler sums it up pretty well in this piece.  Below is a snippet:

…having been one step removed from their customers, publishers are now two steps removed. Far more content is flowing between consumers than from producers to consumers; even if publishers knew and understood their audiences, which they don’t, they can’t compete with their audiences’ friends.”

Patty Keegan

Digital Chameleon

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Developing content for social

Our content strategy should be continually evolving.  We’ll be adding to it and curating it on a regular basis.

Let’s cover some basic principles when it comes to content management.  Tagging and categorising our content will make it easier for our audience to find it and us.  Defining our content purpose and how it connects back to our business strategy is a must.  Conducting content gap analysis over our competitor brand messages helps us better position our brand.  Tying the content back to our brand’s key themes and messages as well as incorporating recommended topics will keep our content fresh and consistent.  In addition, we’ll want to establish guidelines about just who manages our content and the governance issues around it.  Finally, we’ll want to tie our social media content publishing efforts back into our brand’s SEO efforts to provide us with maximum exposure on the search engines.

Patty Keegan

Digital Chameleon

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