The Brand of Beauty: Benefit

Introduction

Benefit Cosmetics (also known as Benefit Beauty) is a brand of “high end” makeup, founded in San Francisco by sisters Jane and Jean Ford in 1976. Benefit products can be found in makeup stores, such as Sephora and Ulta, or ordered online through their website. Benefit is known for their branding and packaging – it has a very vintage feel to it, lots of pinks, and fun, colorful advertising. Benefit products come at a higher cost than other makeup brands, but ask anyone who uses makeup; you get what you pay for. If you pay more for a makeup product, it is highly likely to be of better quality. I can vouch for Benefit products (their “they’re real!” mascara has gotten me many compliments on my lashes when I have used it). They are of great quality, and sold by a brand that truly seems to care for their fans/customers, which can be noted when browsing through their various forms of social media. They interact, they post often, and they get their brand out there.

Social Media Presence Overview

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter

Analysis and Evaluation

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On Facebook, Benefit has 5.9 million likes, beating out many other fellow makeup brands, including fellow high end brands such as Too Faced and Urban Decay, and even extremely popular, more affordable brands, such as Maybelline and Covergirl. Benefit does a lot of promoting on their Facebook page. A majority of their posts are text with pictures, typically of their products, and they post a few times a week. They also do frequent live feeds in which fans can watch a live demonstration of a makeup look, a product being tested, etc. Deals that can be found on their website are featured on their Facebook so fans are aware of sales. Whoever is running the Benefit Facebook page is doing a great job of interacting with fans, as Facebook notified me that they are “very responsive” to messages. They keep up with the comments on their posts and reply back to many fans there, too. If customers comment with complaints, it seems like they try their best to reach out to the customers and improve their experience.

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On Instagram, Benefit possesses 6.5 million followers, which does not beat out Too Faced and Urban Decay this time (both have over 8 million followers), but still manages to beat out Maybelline and Covergirl. Benefit is very active on Instagram. They currently have 4,274 posts, and they typically post several times everyday. I didn’t see many videos posted on their feed, but lots of pictures, including some of their products, and some of makeup artists who did looks using their products. They also post the occasional quote every now and then. While they don’t seem to be as interactive with fans here as they are on Facebook, they do tend to reply to questions asked by fans in their comments.

On YouTube, Benefit is not as popular, having only 151,747 subscribers, a pretty low amount compared to the followers they have on other social media. However, despite their rather low following, Benefit does appear to be active on YouTube. They upload around 2-5 videos per month, which I would say it fairly average for any YouTube channel. Plus, their videos are edited to perfection, so I’m assuming that putting one of their videos together takes a good amount of time, and they would rather focus on making one video look perfect than posting a bunch of poorly edited ones. They have their videos nicely organized under several different subheadings, including

  • Hot Stuff: What’s New & Trending at Benefit
  • Instant Beauty Tips & Tricks
  • 5 Minutes to Flawless
  • they’re real! mascaras & eyeliners beyond belief
  • Laughter is the Best Cosmetic!
  • Friends with Benefit
  • About Us: #LifeatBenefit

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There is no way of knowing how many Snapchat “friends” one has, but Benefit does leave their story open to the public, meaning it’s not set on private. If you add them as a friend, they do not have to add you back in order for you to see their story. Benefit uses Snapchat as a means of showcasing their makeup. Employees of Benefit take over their Snapchat to share makeup tips and tricks, and also share snaps of people doing their makeup/getting their makeup done. Benefit posts to their Snapchat story everyday, just some days more than others. For example, they had quite a long story up on Mother’s Day, featuring “Bene-babes,” or people that help to promote the company, interviewing their mothers and asking them what their favorite Benefit products are. There is also no way of knowing how often Benefit interacts with fans via Snapchat, but judging from their stories, they like to post often and that is a good way of keeping fan attention.

twitter

I may be biased when it comes to Twitter, since it is my favorite social media site, but I am especially biased when it comes to Benefit’s Twitter because it’s so pink (which is my favorite color)! Benefit’s Twitter is really visually pleasing to me, so I want to give a shout out to whoever is running it. Benefit has 824.7 thousand followers. Here, it beats out Too Faced, Maybelline, and Covergirl. Their tweets mostly contain words and photos, with a video here and there. They tweet/retweet a couple times per day, but this is perhaps the social media site that they are most interactive with their fans on. I’m pretty sure they reply to all fan and customer tweets, no matter if a fan is complimenting, complaining, or showing off their makeup – Benefit is replying back to all of them. And not only are they replying back, but they are so nice…it makes me want to tweet them!

Benefit is using social media to their advantage. They are marketing, promoting, demonstrating, interacting, you name it, and they are using social media to help them. Most people in the world use social media in some form, whether they have all these types of accounts like me, or only have one or two. Benefit has recognized that social media is a benefit to them (sorry, I had to), and it’s surely getting them even more fans everyday.

Benefit has a similar look across all social media, proving that their branding is important to them. All their social media contain similar posts and similar color schemes. I didn’t find them in any hot water when it came to Googling them and researching their digital footprint. When you Google them, your results are links to all their social media accounts, places you can purchase their products, and articles reviewing their makeup. They keep a clean image, which makes them a standout in the world of makeup brands, which can be a difficult world to shine in. There are so many brands of makeup out there, that it is hard to break through and become a big name. Benefit has been around long enough and the company has had so much experience, that their social media image is exactly what I would expect from a company of such quality – it is reflective of how hard they have worked at building their brand.

Commendations and Recommendations

If we had to give a grade to these companies/celebrities in terms of their social media, I would give Benefit an A. They have a solid social media presence. All of their accounts are visually appealing, eye catching, and attention grabbing. I think that even if you are not into makeup but stumbled upon their Instagram feed, you would still find yourself browsing through their posts. They do an acceptable job of interacting with fans, which is crucial as a brand to keep your customers satisfied. In terms of what I think they could do better, I think they should put more focus on their YouTube, and try to build up more of a following there. More videos would be a good start, maybe try to get more celebrity spokespeople to film videos for their channel. If they could get a celebrity spokesperson, I think it would do great things for them. As of right now, they do not have one, and are doing just fine, but having one could give them even more of a push in the right direction. I cannot think of much I would do to improve their social media presence and digital footprint, as their all their social media looks polished and their digital footprint is a great representation of the brand. I think they need to just keep doing what they are doing – making high quality products, and marketing them on all platforms of social media.

References 

https://www.benefitcosmetics.com/us/en

Case Study #3

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A picture I took while attending Halsey’s Badlands Tour, August 2016, at the Agganis Arena, in Boston.

OVERVIEW

Singer Halsey skyrocketed to stardom in late August 2015 when her debut album, Badlands, was released. Since the release of Badlands, Halsey has garnered many Facebook likes and Twitter and Instagram followers. On her official Facebook page, Halsey currently has 1,765,204 likes (one of which is me). On her Twitter profile, she has four million followers, while she only follows 2.954 users. She has generated 11.7k tweets since joining Twitter in June 2009. As for her Instagram, she has four million followers while she only follows 187 profiles. Halsey has a strong social media presence on all of the social media platforms she uses. In fact, Halsey owes a lot of credit to the social media platform YouTube, for helping her to be discovered and signed to a label. She used to post song covers that got many hits and developed a fan base for her.

ANALYSIS

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Halsey’s Facebook page wouldn’t be considered her most popular social media site. While she has a significantly lower amount of followers here than on Twitter and Instagram, she manages to keep a solid almost two million “likers.” For her profile pic and cover photo, Halsey uses the same image, the cover of her album, Badlands. I figure she does this for promotional purposes, so if a person is not familiar with her and clicks on her page, they will see her album artwork and maybe it will catch their attention, with its blues and pinks that are certainly eye-catching. Under her “About” tab, she has a link to her Twitter, the release date of her album, links to download and order Badlands, the names of her managers and those to reach out to who help her represent her career. There is also a link to “Shop Now,” which brings you to her website and all of her merchandise.

When it comes to the pictures she posts on her Facebook page, they never seem to be short of likes. One of her most liked pictures was posted March 7, announcing the release of her second studio album (which is the photo in the screenshot above). The picture now has 102K likes. Another of her most liked pictures is a full body shot from January 1st, captioned “Happy new year” with 125K likes. I noticed that the pictures she receives the most likes on tend to be pictures of herself – ready for award shows, about to perform on tour, just having gotten her makeup done, etc. The majority of her posts are pictures. She doesn’t post many text statuses or updates. All her posts are her material,  and she rarely ever shares from other pages. She gets a ton of comments on her pictures, many of them from fans showing their support for her, but I did not find her replying to comments too often. I think it’s smart that she has her album cover as her profile picture, but I think maybe she should update her cover photo, perhaps to something promotional for her second album. She has lots of followers on her other accounts, so there must be a reason why she doesn’t have as many followers here on Facebook. Maybe it could be because she is not interacting with people on Facebook as much as she does on her other social media.

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I would consider Halsey’s Twitter profile to be her most popular form of social media. Even though she has just as many followers on Instagram, she interacts with her fans all the time on her Twitter. I feel like fans reach out to her through Twitter way more than through Facebook or Instagram. All her tweets get a decent amount of likes and retweets, even if they are completely random. For her profile pic, she has a picture of clouds, and for her banner pic, she has just a solid blue color…which, for people who are not fans of her, seems a little off. But, to her fans, it makes total sense. It’s all part of her “aesthetic.” Halsey is all about aesthetics, and things that appear appealing to the eye. She also loves to kind of confuse people and have them wondering things like “Why is that her profile picture…?” She wants people to figure out why she does what she does, without revealing too much. It’s a clever tactic, because it gets people’s attention.

Her bio, which I included a screenshot of above, includes solely a quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This just adds to her air of mystery. Her tweets include a mix of her thoughts, her replies to fans, and pictures. One of her most popular tweets is announcing her second album, just as that was one of her most popular posts on Facebook. I think Halsey does a great job with her Twitter. She’s active on it, interacting with fans, quoting tweets. Sometimes she has some backlash from negative people, but she deals with it positively.

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Halsey’s Instagram is equally as popular as her Twitter in terms of followers. Her pictures, especially those of herself, get a lot of likes. They typically get at least 100,000 likes, but usually go way over that. Her profile pic is a promotional photo for her second album. Her bio contains the same quote as her Twitter profile. After covering her Facebook and her Twitter, there honestly isn’t that much to cover here. A lot of her social media posts are repeats, all the pictures she posts here also go to her Twitter and some of them also get posted to her Facebook.

CONCLUSION

Hands down, Halsey is most successful interacting with fans through her Twitter profile. I also find her Twitter to be her most appealing social media, but that could be because I’m biased and Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I think a lot of people keep up with her Twitter and interact with her through it on the daily. She’s active with her fans more so on Twitter than anywhere else. I enjoy reading through her tweets and I do like/retweet many of them. It’s obvious that she likes using Twitter, which may be why this is why it is the most appealing. It’s clear that she’s having fun with it and using it to her advantage.

Case Study: Blog Analysis

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Overview

Cake Wrecks is a blog that was first started in 2008 by Jen Yates. Other contributing authors to the blog include her husband, John, Sharyn Hamilton, and Lindsey Allen. It is a 100% humor blog with tons of pictures of mistakes that professional cake decorators have made, and a lot of the material is sent in by readers. Aside from the wrecks, they also showcase some cake masterpieces. The authors have published two books from their blog material, which is where I  came to discover the blog. The picture on the front cover of the first book is a cake that says, written in frosting:

“Best Wishes Suzanne

Under Neat that

We will Miss you”

My mom’s name is Suzanne. So, when my dad and I saw this book in a store around Christmas time, we thought it was hilarious and ended up purchasing it as a joke gift for her. It actually ended up being the hit of that Christmas morning. So, that’s how this blog got on my radar.

Analysis

The blog uses a blue, white, and orange color scheme that I do not really think is the most effective color scheme there is. In my opinion, it would look better if they didn’t use such a dark shade of blue, which is the color that covers most of the blog. Their header is fairly simple with some white bubble letters spelling out the blog name, but it does manage to capture one’s attention. The blog title is in an apt position, right at the top of the page. Obviously, the title suits the blog perfectly, since it is all about literal cake that is a visual disaster. They have even included a box off to the side that says “What’s a Wreck?,” stating that “a Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate – you name it.” The blog’s subheader is written out in dark blue lettering with orange surrounding it, I’m assuming as a pop of color to attract attention, and says “When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong.”

As far as information about the author goes, the blog has a FAQ and an About page. Their FAQ section has ten questions and answers under the subheading, “The Basics.” The authors seem to have put a lot of thought and consideration into their answers. Under the About page, each author is introduced and there is a small paragraph dedicated to each of them. There is an additional Contact page for anyone looking to send in pictures or touch base with Jen, the main author.

For guidelines to the those visiting the blog, near the top of the page, right under the title and subheading, there are links to the Home, FAQ, Contact, About, Directory pages. There are an additional few menus on the right side of the screen, which include links to “The Classics,” or the cake wrecks that gave Jen her idea to create the blog, and “Fan Faves,” or wrecks that have garnered many likes and laughs from readers. There are links to their Facebook and Twitter feeds, easily accessible near the top of the screen. Underneath is post, there are options to comment, share on Facebook, pin on Pinterest, send the content in an email, or also to share it via Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Tumblr. The footer shows a picture of Jen’s two Cake Wrecks books, with links to purchase them through Amazon or Barnes and Noble and a link to her other blog. It has a copyright and a privacy policy available upon clicking on it.

Content

The blog’s most popular posts are conveniently located under the “Fan Faves” menu. Pretty much every post contains pictures that have been either sent in by fans or found by one of the authors. The titles of the posts tend to all be humorous in order to keep the reader…well, reading, for lack of a better term. Although the blog does have an About Me page, I’ll admit that I think they could do better with it. For such a successful blog, I think there should be more information about the authors besides just where they live and their credentials. And, like I said in the first paragraph of my analysis, I think the blog could benefit from using a different color scheme. The blue is just too bland and isn’t very appealing to the eyes. I would say a nice, bright pop of color would be a better choice. Perhaps a yellow or bright orange.

The top posts on the blog boast a couple hundred comments each, which I don’t think is anything too crazy. In fact, it seems like sort of a low number to me. These posts have been up since 2008, are the most popular, and only have a couple hundred comments? This seems off to me…

Many of the posts have been shared on Facebook repeatedly, the top posts having the most shares. Pinning is a less popular option, with the most popular posts having anywhere between 300-500 pins on Pinterest. But, on the option to share to other outlets besides Facebook, Pinterest, or by email, there is a hefty 16.5k shares on one of the most popular posts, which is a little more impressive.

There does not appear to be an option to subscribe to the blog, but I feel if someone has visited it once, they will return, as I have. The material is funny – if you are having a bad day and need a good laugh, this is a great source of humor to turn to.

The Singer Who Gave Me the Best Night of My Life

My name is Julia Phelps and I can still perfectly recollect the best night of my life – November 4, 2015.

On this night, I saw my absolute favorite singer in concert at the House of Blues in Boston. Her name is Marina and the Diamonds (which I know sounds like a band name, but it’s just her). Her actual name is Marina Diamandis, so you can see where the “Diamonds” comes from. I attended her 2015 Neon Nature tour, my featured image being a photo of the poster I got at the concert.

The House of Blues is a small venue, no seats, standing room only. It’s safe to say there were a couple thousand people crammed in the building. I advise you not to go here if you can’t stand being surrounded by what seems like a million other people, pushing you to get closer to the stage, giving you dirty looks when you don’t move, but that’s a topic for a whole different blog post.

I attended this concert with a friend who introduced me to Marina’s music. I first started listening to her stuff in winter 2012. Specifically December. I remember exactly when it was because her music became a vital part of my life from then on. At the time, I had an iPod nano and I went on iTunes and downloaded her two albums she had released at that time (now there are three). I was immediately obsessed. I spent hours laying on my bed listening to her songs on repeat, memorizing them word for word. I thought it was even cooler that she wasn’t very popular. Here was an artist with amazing music and none of my friends, besides the one that introduced me to her, knew of her. So, her music kind of created my own little world. The song that basically kickstarted my obsession was “How To Be a Heartbreaker.”

Marina’s music is mostly categorized as pop, indie pop, new wave, and electropop. Her music is quirky and like nothing you have ever heard before. Her lyrics are even better. On her third studio album, Froot, she wrote every song by herself. By herself! This is quiet the feat since most singers nowadays have other people writing for them. My personal favorite off of Froot, and perhaps out of her entire collection, is “Blue.”

At the concert, I was on the upper level, or balcony, and had a few people standing in front of me for pretty much the entire time. Being on the shorter side of things (thanks mom), I couldn’t see too well. I could partially see, it wasn’t like my entire view was blocked, but I kind of had to stand at an odd angle and position myself in a certain way. The people standing in front of me looked to be somewhere in their 30s or 40s, and I know everyone had the right to stand wherever they wanted, but at the same time I was still thinking come on! I’ve been waiting for this night for a long time now and that is my idol on stage and you are so tall and you can see that I’m not so, please, if you have any decency at all, let me stand in front of you. That never happened.

But, then, as Marina began thanking us for being such a great audience and telling us about how much Boston made her feel appreciated every time she performed there, the tall people left! And, to make things even better, guess what her encore song was?! It was “Blue.” I got to be right up in front at the head of the balcony watching my favorite musician sing my favorite song. Best. Feeling. Ever. Here’s a picture I took from my phone. Not the best quality, but I’m happy I have it.

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Since releasing Froot in 2015, Marina has stated that she may not be making new music for some time. Although this is disappointing to me, I know how hard she worked on her last album and how much she toured for it. No matter how long she waits to put new music out, she will never lose me as a fan. I wish I could thank her for giving me the best night of my life so far, but, for now, this blog post will have to do.