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Alissa Marrapodi

Alissa Marrapodi is the editor of Inside Cosmeceuticals. She has a passion for all things natural, including food, cosmetics and supplements. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University with a bachelor’s in journalism. She loves hiking, photography, red wine and traveling.

Benefit Cosmetics® Says Social Media Localizes Marketing Efforts


Social media has taken the digital world by storm and reshaped social interactions—from everyday communications with friends and family to how the world sees and experiences life as a whole.

These mediums have opened up a whole new way for the beauty industry to reach consumers on a localized level. "Social media is becoming a big piece of our digital strategies for beauty brands," said Valerie Hoecke, VP digital experience and commerce, Benefit Cosmetics. "At the center of social is an inherently local conversation between our brand and our customers, or between customers and their friends about our brand. Our customers and fans want to communicate with us in their local language, about events happening at their stores and counters, solutions to their beauty dilemmas, and about products that are launching today." Hoecke used Benefit's Benebabes in Hong Kong as an example. "They want to know if the POREfessional does a great job minimizing pores in a hot, humid environment," she said. "They want information that is relevant to them, and they want to discuss it with their peers locally."

Think about it in terms of food—ads promoting locally grown foods are more likely to resonate with shoppers than produce grown and shipped from who knows were. But this concept can get lost when it comes to global beauty brands used to "pushing out heavily centralized global marketing messages geared toward translating or localizing campaigns in a very top-down way," Hoecke remarked. "We create ads that may not even get translated, and campaigns that make sense based on the market we call home."

One size doesn't fit all. And although not exactly the same, another way to think about it is in terms of industrial design. Designers have to be mindful of cultural differences when creating instruction manuals. Even when using pictures instead of words, some cultures read from right to left, which could lead to a backwards interpretation if this isn't taken into account. The point is to understand that your global audience isn't a collective, but rather separate audiences with unique needs; and in order to reach them, you need to find out who they are and talk to them directly.    

This is where social media comes in. "Social media proficiency is actually requiring a sea change in how we work with our markets and how we communicate with our customers," Hoecke said. "We need to train, leverage and empower digital leaders in our markets, who speak the language of our customers, to manage our social media. To do that right, we need a clear shared vision for the DNA of our brand and the strengths of social communications, with a vision for how to leverage these globally to our teams. And we need smart digital marketers in our various countries adapting appropriately for their home market. We need conversations—which are inherently personalized, often one-on-one and highly topical—to happen today, in countries and languages around the world. Providing these requires a change in how we work."

Hear Hoecke talk more on this subject during her presentation "Social Media & Local Market Innovation" at InnoCos USA on Thursday, June 12, 2012 at 2:35 p.m. She'll give examples of local innovation in social media by Benefit's digital advocates around the world, and how the company is trying to deal with this change both organizationally and in terms of the actual assets and tools it tries to provide from headquarters.


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