These posts continued on a daily basis until the launch of the YouTube trailer “Shades for All” (Fenty Beauty By Rihanna, 2017) on 8 September, the website going live, an in-store Sephora launch in 17 countries and an immersive launch party with a strategically democratic guest list that included fans, beauty influencers and celebrity makeup artists.
According to Heath (2017) Fenty Beauty’s Instagram account grew from 100,000 followers and had grown to 1.6 million followers in one month. In the same month, there were nearly 80,000 posts about the brand with over 1.6 billion organic impressions.
Sandy Saputo, Chief Marketing Officer at Kendo Brands, the incubator division of LVMH, the parent company of Fenty Beauty, describes the “surgical precision” required to launch in 17 countries and 1600 retail stores simultaneously. Under the surface of the social media flurry, there was a precise strategy involving brand and merchandising, supply chain, marketing, social media and retail team (Saputo, 2019).
The Importance of Brand and Marketing Integrity
Looking at the launch campaign through the lens of Kaplan and Haenlein’s (2011) Five Pieces of Advice framework, Fenty Beauty created the perfect environment for a viral social media marketing event. Primarily, the range was impeccably developed with customer needs and product quality at the forefront of the process and the icing on the cake was the marketing ethos of “showing, not telling”. Had any piece of the puzzle been missing along the way, the brand may not have had such spectacular success at the launch. Fenty Beauty’s social media success was the integration of all aspects of product development, distribution, PR and marketing being firmly in place, prior to the launch.
Fenty Beauty was even named one of the 25 best inventions of 2017 by Time Magazine (Time, 2017) due to 40 skin true foundation shades that revolutionised the cosmetics industry.
.@TIME mag named @fentybeauty one of the 25 best inventions of 2017! I’m honored and I have to send love to everyone who’s supported this brand in the 2months that we’ve been here! Glory to the Most High. https://t.co/sGxsiO6wxA pic.twitter.com/GsPG64A93P— Rihanna (@rihanna) November 16, 2017
Guests at the launch party were given a generous and beautifully packaged Fenty makeup kit. The following day, from his luxury hotel room in New York, YouTube makeup artist Jeffree Star (who currently has over 16 million subscribers) released the first video review of Fenty Beauty (Jeffree Star, 2017) which to date has had over 13 million views.
Miller & Lammas (n.d.) discuss how social media has empowered consumers to become confident members of brand communities. By engaging meaningfully with the YouTube beauty community, social media influencers, beauty vloggers, makeup artists and fans to the experiential launch party, Fenty Beauty began more than just a successful celebrity beauty line. The launch began a meaningful global dialogue across social media on inclusivity in the beauty industry.
I wanted everyone to feel included. That’s the real reason I made the line. Beauty for all, that’s what I believe in.Rihannah (Bailey 2020)
This was communicated in her hands-on approach, from her initial vision and development of the products and packaging through to applying makeup and taking selfies with guests.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this, please leave your comments below!
Bailey, J. (2020, August 20). INSIDE THE GLOBAL LAUNCH OF RIHANNA’S FENTY BEAUTY LINE. Grazia. https://graziamagazine.com/articles/rihanna-fenty-beauty-global-launch-brooklyn-new-york/
Heath, H. (2022). LinkedIn. Linkedin.com. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fenty-beauty-best-social-media-product-launch-history-h%C3%A9l%C3%A8ne-heath/
Harker, L. (2020). How Fenty Beauty Has Built Brand Awareness — and Won. Latana.com. https://latana.com/post/build-brand-awareness-fenty/
Jeffree Star. (2017). FENTY BEAUTY by RIHANNA… HIT OR MISS?! | Jeffree Star [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LwpGaDKmZ8
Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2011). Two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the social media/viral marketing dance. Business Horizons, 54(3), 253–263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2011.01.006
LVMH. (2017, September 18). Rihanna launches Fenty Beauty by Rihanna makeup brand with Sephora exclusive – LVMH. LVMH. https://www.lvmh.com/news-documents/news/rihanna-launches-fenty-beauty-makeup-brand-with-sephora-exclusive/
Miller, R., & Lammas, N. (n.d.). Social media and its implications for viral marketing. https://www.seokursu.com.tr/social-media-and-its-implications-for-viral-marketing.pdf
Saputo, S. (2019, June 17). How Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty delivered “Beauty for All” — and a wake-up call to the industry. Think with Google; ThinkwithGoogle. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/future-of-marketing/management-and-culture/diversity-and-inclusion/-fenty-beauty-inclusive-advertising/
Time. (2017, November 16). The 25 Best Inventions of 2017. Time; Time. https://time.com/5023212/best-inventions-of-2017/