This post is a series of blogs contributed by SMW NYC media partner Differences Magazine. To learn more about Differences Magazine and to see the original post by Jessica Bender, please click here.
Our relationship with the concept of beauty is a complex one – one moment you feel like the most gorgeous person in the world, and the next you’re cowering in a corner because you’re so ashamed of how you look. On average, only four percent of people believe they’re beautiful, and most of the blame can be given to forms of media like Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue or plastic women dominating the airwaves. However, as discussed on February 15th at The Changing Face of Technology: Click Here for Beauty, social media is redefining what beauty is.
According to the panelists, platforms like blogging and social networks are breaths of fresh air when it comes to talking about beauty. “Social media can give you a clearer idea about what’s beautiful,” says Art Markman, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. “It gives people the opportunity to make them feel better about themselves…and provides the opportunity to think outside the box about beauty.”
For a younger demographic, the opportunity to speak their minds about what’s beautiful is appreciated. “With younger [people],” Real Simple’s Beauty and Health Director Didi Gluck said, “there’s more acceptance of different standards of beauty because everybody has a voice where they can voice how they feel.”
Consumers typically find a community of their own to connect with, but beauty brands welcomes conversations about beauty and their products with open arms – in exchange for customer loyalty and future revenue. “The bloggers [who are avid consumers] who are taking over the online world tend to be normal women,” NewBeauty Magazine Editorial Video and Interactive Director Susan Yara begins. “They push the bottom line for a lot of brands…if they don’t trust or like you, they’re not going to buy from you.” More importantly, brands want to be a huge force on social networking sites like Twitter or Pinterest. For this very reason, Yara stresses, “Social media is making brands accountable, so [your brand doesn’t] want to be a bad boyfriend on social media.”
“A relationship with your neighborhood sells more than anything,” says Markman. “Brands have to develop a personality, so authenticity from top to bottom is key. [They] have to get out of the mode of constant advertising…[and] engage in real conversation [with their customer].”