Estée Lauder & The Art of Story Telling

We have all told stories. Some short, some long. Some sad, some funny. Stories are narratives that can connect people and change an entire society and we love them for that. After all, that’s why we invented fairy tales : to teach our young children how to behave in society and which side they should pick.

Story telling is good for marketing, especially if it goes beyond the goal of pure entertainment and allows a brand to engage with its audience or target. It is so powerful that it is now more and more used by most companies especially since the rise of social medias. However, of all the brands with know: there is just one that seems to have figure it all out and it’s Estée Lauder.

And the winner is… Estée Lauder !

Yes, Estée Lauder. One of the most prestigious companies in the world, founded by a visionary woman who wanted to challenge society by allowing women to gain their power. The very same company which exceeded $10 billion in net sales in 2012, collaborated with Victoria Beckham for her first make up line and maybe with Tom Ford.

In my opinion, no other company has been able to understand and master the art of story telling like Estée Lauder. I remember the “Hear our stories, Share yours” breast cancer awareness campaign in 2014. It inspired people and gave them hope. It also opened a the door for a new conversation around this disease and made Estée Lauder look very supportive of cancer survivors all around the world by donating a lot of money to charitable organizations. Not only did this campaign make people talk, it did also generate a lot of publicity around the brand and its values.

Now, Estée Lauder is reinventing storytelling. Speaking at the 2018 CommerceNext conference, Tricia Nichols, the company’s vice president of global consumer marketing and engagement outlined the strategy to listeners, which, she said, will forgo the “one big idea” style of advertising to push a multitude of smaller messages that become personal narratives to those who engage with them. This translates into short-lived contents that you can see on social media. It is a very smart decision, given the fact that our time online is fragmented throughout the day, in micro-moments. The brand can now speak on a variety of subjects and find an organic way to speak to various target markets instead of emphasing on a single theme. It is better than small ads on your facebook feed or an inspirational quote from an Instagram account : it is a short story that will only last a few seconds in your day and it will stay in your mind afterwards.

The technology is the friend, not the enemy

What if the new targets and potential customers get lost ? No worries. The brand has partnered with Google Home to introduce Liv at Estée Lauder.

It is a virtual beauty advisor that allows customers to personally experience and discover targeted products with the option to purchase. This marks another step in The Estée Lauder Companies’ ‘test and learn’ approach to engaging consumers digitally by delivering a personalised service and education to their consumers. Once again, a great example of innovation…

So what can we learn from Estée Lauder’s success ? Less is more, that’s for sure, but we also need to keep up with the always evolving digital world that we live in because today’s big trend can become obsolete in a matter of hours.


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