If You’re Not Buying It I Am

makeup on a table

Hopefully, you know by now that this blog is focused on the public relations happening within the beauty industry. I am going to let you in on a little secret. This secret, if executed correctly is worth millions of dollars. Now that I have your attention, let us discuss product endorsements.  

I will start off by asking you a simple question. If you had the option to pay for a collection of Dior’s newest makeup products or get the entire collection for free, what would you choose? I think, like me, you would choose to get it for free. Well, what if I then told you Dior is giving away millions of dollars worth of free products that it only hopes the public will see. 

The Business Dictionary defines product endorsement as, “a written or public statement by a celebrity, business or professional group extolling the virtues of a product and recommending the use of the product to the public.” Of course with the overwhelming advances in social media, product endorsements have gone rampant. Product endorsement is very simple, get an influencer to like your product then hope they tell everyone they know about it in what could be the most lucrative tactic for earned media. I can think of a couple of examples, such as your favorite beauty guru telling you how much they love wearing the newest NARS Cosmetics Blush.

woman sitting on bed with MacBook on lap
Photo by Victoria Heath

Product endorsement skates the fine lines between public relations, advertising, and marketing. In the article, “How Brands Should Use Celebrities For Endorsements,” author Steve Olenski says “even small businesses would be foolish to resist the mere exploration of celebrity influencers to promote their brand.”  Unlike marketing and advertising, public relations focuses on organic endorsement and the goal is to build authentic relationships.

For example, Dior cosmetics reaches out to a well-known beauty influencer. In the message, Dior may say something about how much the company enjoys the influencer’s content and offers to send them new products from its latest collection. The influencer agrees and to the influencers surprise, Dior has sent them not only one but two overnight packages. One for the influencer and another to share. Excited and impressed by the quality of the product, the influencer gets on social media and tells everyone they know about the generosity of Dior. What Dior has done here is what Dr. Regina Luttrell mentions in, “Social Media – How to Engage, Share, and Connect,” as “engaging genuinely and effectively.” 

In the example above, Dior only paid for overnight shipping. Then to the joy of both parties, the collection got fully endorsed through word-of-mouth. This action done by the company will hopefully encourage engagement and generate higher sales. Of course, this is the best case scenario for any product endorsement campaign.

A recent article from Market Watch, says current consumers are sophisticated and crave a connection with the “rich and powerful.” Think of your favorite influencer. Mine at the moment is Patricia Bright. Bright is a beauty, lifestyle and fashion vlogger with millions of followers. After watching her latest, PR unboxing video, I realized just how much most beauty companies are reaching out to influencers and creating these strategic relationships that encourage a somewhat organic product endorsement. To be honest, at the end of each video or well-placed post, if you are not buying it I am.  

5 thoughts on “If You’re Not Buying It I Am

  1. Irene Ma (@Bonnie_Ma) says:

    It is true! Every time, after I read a post of popular cosmetic products written by my favorite influencer, I will immediately buy them! Wow, girls are naturally attracted by cosmetics!

    I really love how you use public relations knowledge to analyze the product endorsements in beauty industry. It is such a successful strategy that seems works for all kinds of products. Not only beauty companies are using this cost-effective tactic to help them promote their brands and products, also, clothing industry, digital products industry and other various industries are gradually trying to reach out influencers to connect with the public.

    For example, when I decided to buy a digital product, such as a pair of earphones, I would not go to Amazon or famous earphone brands’ official websites to check out their information. I can’t understand them! They are all about technologies and data. How can I know which one is best for me? Sure, I will search earphones on social media platforms and see what influencers said. It is always easier to understand something through watching video, especially which made by some people you like and trust.

    I think it is a great tactic as it is not just a win-win strategy for companies and influencers, it also benefits customers by helping them to know more about the product. I’d like to see how the product endorsements can be used in more areas and ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cayley Marie Young says:

    Janet,
    I loved this post! I really feel like product promotion via social media influencers is its own unique form of public relations. It would be really interesting to see the pay scale or any sort of compensation break down for promotional content. I’m also curious how engagement compares from social media platforms like youtube to Instagram. From my experience with simulations like Mimic Social, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram get the most engagement as far as generating revenue yet Youtube is also incredibly popular for paid promotional content? From my personal experience, I’m more attracted to items I see posted on Youtube and Instagram by my favorite influencers. With Pinterest, I’m more concerned with the topic of my search than the influencer. My searches on Pinterest are motivated by my personal preferences and what I actually need at that moment rather than stumbling upon an item my favorite influencer is showcasing that day. Just something to think about. I was also curious of your current favorite fall brands and how you came across them? Are you a Youtube junkie like me or do you prefer Instagram? Or maybe you’re a trendsetter yourself and find products based of your own company research?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adam Ontiveros-Oberg says:

    I can’t help but wonder if these advertisements come at some level of a cost to the companies though. Maybe I am old and cynical, but I can’t help but take these recommendations with a grain of salt when I hear that these influencers have been given the products for free. I know that 99.999 percent of them are giving fair and unbiased reviews, but I still cannot often shake that suspicion. Of course, this is in a field of which I know nothing, but I’ve held similar beliefs for other areas. Phones, cameras, lenses, headphones, cars, regardless of the device(s) or material(s), I don’t know if I agree that it is possible for advertisements to be unbiased. But at the same time, I can certainly understand why companies would gift their products to influencers who are trusted by their subscribers and followers, as those followers will often be willing to take the influencer at their word. I can’t help but wonder, though, what the processes are that these companies use to analyze the followings of influencers? Do they not make themselves targets for phony influencers, hoping to score some free merchandise or products? I have no idea if you would know the answers to these questions, but it is what came to mind while reading through your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. blogthejane says:

    Legit, as soon as I saw the title of this blogpost, I knew I was selecting it. Brand endorsing is a pretty interesting topic, as I have a whole bunch of friends who are MUA’s and stylists, and aim for that goal. (We all know makeup is… well expensive). They especially love it when you have a big follower account- which at that point means you are somewhat of an influencer.

    Every time my friend receives free makeup or even clothing, she is expected to post about it (whether it is on her story or a post). If she does not do that within a few days, the company no longer sends her products. This creates a chain reaction, because other companies will see the effect it has and then reach out to her asking for the same favor.

    However, I will say- I never really understood why companies send rich influencers or celebrities free things, as they can already afford it (free promo, I guess).

    I can still remember when Rihanna first came out with her Fenty Beauty line, and all of her artist friends were endorsing her. That alone had a huge impact. Like you said, this is obviously a win-win as she is getting free promotion, but also all the popular beauty blogs are getting the products and endorsing her as well. This meant if a potential buyer didn’t really trust the endorsement from the celebrity- they had the beauty blogger (who is just like the buyer), to give the green light.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. chilesln says:

    I’m fascinated with how people become influencers, make relationships with brands and publicize them in unique ways, so I really enjoyed reading about Dior’s influencer strategy. I think it’s smart for a brand to send something to the influencer, but also a second package for sharing. This creates a great relationship with customers, because I often find that products that catch my eye on influencer blogs or social media are more on the expensive side. Emphasizing the genuine relationship would make me more likely to spend money on their products.

    As much as I enjoy learning about how relationships with influencers develop, I am often curious as to how much is too much influence? For example, I am a frequent viewer of the Bachelor and Bachelorette series. Oftentimes, the most popular characters, both men and women, become influencers post-production. I see this as an awesome opportunity for brands to capitalize on these individuals’ following, but they all more often than not promote the same brands. With many of them having similar following on social media, I can see this getting repetitive over time as they keep promoting certain products.

    I am less familiar with influencers in the beauty industry so I am curious to know if you’ve seen anything of this nature through the accounts you follow?

    Liked by 1 person

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