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May 8, 2024
(Updated on
Jan 23, 2024

How Drunk Elephant Achieved Its Success In Skin Care Through Its Marketing Strategies with Gen Alpha

source: shiseido

With its unique philosophy and methodology, Drunk Elephant is a skincare line that has altered the beauty industry.  Tiffany Masterson's rise from small business owner to household name is a tale of innovation, dedication, and customer service.  Before we get into Drunk Elephant's story, it is important to know where the brand came from and how it became so popular, with a focus on how Instagram and TikTok were a big part of that. Drunk Elephant's story begins with Tiffany Masterson's personal struggle with adult skin issues, leading her to formulate products that addressed her specific needs. This commitment to authenticity and personal connection laid the foundation for a brand that resonates with consumers seeking genuine solutions. Instagram, a platform that allowed the brand to showcase its clean formulations and minimalist approach and interact directly with a quickly expanding community, was a significant factor in the rise of Drunk Elephant.

Drunk Elephant's Core Success Factors

Clean, Non-Toxic Formulas: Drunk Elephant disrupted the skincare market by prioritizing clean, non-toxic formulas. In a world saturated with beauty products laden with potentially harmful ingredients, the brand's commitment to avoiding silicones, chemical screens, sensitizing colourants, perfumes, and essential oils addressed the escalating demand for safer alternatives. Drunk Elephant's emphasis on formulating products that cater to sensitive skin elevated its status as a pioneer in the clean beauty movement.

Minimalist Skincare Approach: At the heart of Drunk Elephant's success lies its minimalist skincare approach. Unlike brands inundating consumers with an overwhelming array of products, Drunk Elephant started with a concise range of core products. This simplicity, coupled with straightforward packaging and an absence of complex beauty jargon, struck a chord with consumers seeking essential and effective skincare without the burden of choice overload. The brand's minimalist ethos reflects a deep understanding of modern consumers' desire for simplicity in their beauty routines.

Word-of-mouth Marketing: One of the standout features of Drunk Elephant's marketing strategy is its reliance on word of mouth. Drunk Elephant chose a different path in an era where sponsored content and influencer endorsements were the norm by encouraging its community to share experiences and advice on social media, particularly Instagram. Customer reviews became a cornerstone of the brand's communication, creating an authentic narrative that resonated with prospective buyers. This word-of-mouth approach not only built trust but also contributed to the brand's organic growth.

Adaptation to Customer Feedback: A distinguishing factor in Drunk Elephant's success is its agility in responding to customer feedback. With a minimal product lineup, the brand can swiftly adapt and make changes to its formulations based on consumer input. This responsiveness not only demonstrates that Drunk Elephant values customer opinions but also allows for rapid improvements, maintaining a positive reputation in an industry where customer satisfaction is paramount.

Media Coverage and Influencer Engagement: Drunk Elephant adopted a dual strategy, combining media coverage with influencer engagement. While media mentions in reputable publications initially propelled the brand to success, it later embraced the value of influencers. Working with mega and mid-tier influencers, such as Ling KT and The Anna Edit, Drunk Elephant strategically utilized influencers to amplify its message and reach a broader audience. This balanced approach highlights the brand's adaptability to evolving marketing landscapes.

Trust Building: Trust is a fundamental element in the skincare industry, where consumers entrust their facial health to a brand's products. Drunk Elephant's transparent communication, genuine customer stories, and commitment to creating products based on consumer needs contribute to trust-building—a key factor in the brand's rapid growth. 

Drunk Elephant's Social Media Strategy

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Consistent Posting Schedule: Drunk Elephant's social media success is rooted in its commitment to a consistent posting schedule, particularly on Instagram. The brand recognizes the impact of maintaining regularity in content delivery, understanding that it plays a pivotal role in audience engagement. By strategically timing their posts to align with the online activity of their target audience, Drunk Elephant ensures maximum visibility and interaction. This deliberate scheduling creates a sense of anticipation among followers, contributing to the brand's ability to stay top-of-mind in the competitive beauty space.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Body Positivity: A key aspect of Drunk Elephant's social media strategy is its emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and body positivity. The brand's commitment to representing a wide range of skin types and tones not only fosters a positive brand image but also aligns seamlessly with contemporary trends in influencer marketing. By showcasing real people with diverse backgrounds using their products, Drunk Elephant not only reflects the reality of its consumer base but also sends a powerful message of acceptance and inclusivity. This approach resonates strongly with consumers who seek authenticity and relatability in the brands they support.

Playing with Content Types: Drunk Elephant leverages a variety of content types to keep its Instagram feed dynamic and engaging. A notable focus is on the use of Reels, Instagram's short-form video feature. By incorporating entertaining and informative reels into their content strategy, Drunk Elephant ensures a balance that caters to different audience preferences. This versatility in content types not only captures attention but also reflects the brand's adaptability in embracing the latest features offered by social media platforms.

Influencer Marketing and FAQ Fridays: While Drunk Elephant initially relied on word-of-mouth marketing, the brand has strategically incorporated influencer marketing into its social media strategy without compromising authenticity. Collaborating with influencers allows Drunk Elephant to expand its reach and tap into new audiences while maintaining a genuine connection with its core consumer base. Additionally, the introduction of "FAQ Fridays" is a brilliant move for community interaction. This weekly engagement not only addresses common queries but also strengthens the brand's relationship with its audience, positioning Drunk Elephant as an approachable and knowledgeable skincare ally.

Smart Use of Hashtags and Narrative in Marketing: Drunk Elephant employs a smart use of hashtags to foster community building. Branded hashtags create a sense of unity among users sharing their Drunk Elephant experiences. This approach not only aids in tracking user-generated content but also reinforces a collective identity among the brand's followers. Beyond hashtags, Drunk Elephant integrates storytelling into its marketing strategy. By weaving a narrative around its products, ingredients, and brand ethos, the content on their social media platforms contributes to a cohesive brand image, enhancing the overall consumer experience.

Utilizing User-Generated Content: User-generated content (UGC) takes centre stage in Drunk Elephant's social media strategy. By showcasing real people's experiences with their products, the brand builds social proof and authenticity. UGC serves as a powerful tool for encouraging community participation and establishing a genuine connection between the brand and its consumers. Furthermore, Drunk Elephant strategically focuses on its compact product line in its social media marketing efforts. This allows for in-depth education about each product, creating a comprehensive understanding among consumers and facilitating informed purchasing decisions.

Distinctive Packaging and Branding: The visual appeal of Drunk Elephant's distinctive packaging plays a crucial role in the brand's Instagram success. The unique and colourful design of their products adds vibrancy to their feed, creating visually appealing content that stands out in a crowded beauty landscape. Consistency in branding is another strength of Drunk Elephant's social media strategy. The brand's recognizable visual identity contributes to a cohesive and memorable presence across platforms, reinforcing its position as a leader in the skincare industry.

Drunk Elephant's Areas for Improvement

Drunk Elephant boasts a remarkable follower count of 1.9 million on Instagram, signifying its substantial influence in the skincare and beauty community. This impressive following is indicative of the brand's widespread appeal and the success of its social media strategy. The positive brand perception among followers is reflected in the engagement metrics, including likes, comments, and shares. Comparisons with competitors, such as Glow Recipe and Mario Badescu Beauty, highlight Drunk Elephant's standing as a key player in the industry, enjoying both numerical superiority and favourable sentiment.

Effective Profile Optimization and Consistent Aesthetic Theme: The optimization of Drunk Elephant's Instagram profile contributes significantly to user engagement. The brand has strategically utilized key profile elements, including a concise and compelling bio, a recognizable logo as the profile picture, and a link to the brand's website. This optimized profile enhances the user experience and facilitates easy navigation. Additionally, Drunk Elephant's commitment to a consistent aesthetic theme is a notable success. The cohesive visual identity across posts creates a visually appealing feed, reinforcing brand recognition and strengthening the overall brand image.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Effective Use of Instagram Stories: Drunk Elephant demonstrates a keen understanding of Instagram Stories' potential for engaging and informing its audience. The brand utilizes this feature to share behind-the-scenes content, product demonstrations, and user testimonials. However, there is room for improvement in the maintenance of Highlights. While Instagram Stories are ephemeral, Highlights provide an opportunity to curate and showcase content with lasting relevance. Drunk Elephant can enhance this aspect by organizing highlights more systematically to serve as a comprehensive resource for followers.

Quality of Profile Picture and Inconsistency in Content: One notable area for improvement is the quality of Drunk Elephant's profile picture. While the elephant logo aligns with the brand's identity, the distorted and pixelated appearance diminishes its impact. Maintaining high-quality and consistent visuals is crucial on a platform focused on visual content. Addressing this issue will contribute to a more professional and polished presentation, aligning with the brand's commitment to excellence. Additionally, a slight inconsistency in content is observed regarding the emphasis on Drunk Elephant's unique selling proposition (USP). Ensuring a more coherent narrative that consistently communicates the brand's distinctive features can strengthen its messaging.

Unexplained Dog Imagery and Poorly Maintained Highlights: The presence of unexplained dog imagery on Drunk Elephant's Instagram raises questions about its relevance to the brand's identity. Without context, such content may create confusion among followers. Providing clarity or integrating these elements into a broader storytelling strategy can enhance the overall brand narrative. Furthermore, the maintenance of Highlights needs strategic improvement. Effectively organizing content into well-defined categories within Highlights can transform the profile into a resourceful hub for followers, facilitating easy access to essential information and content archives.

In Recent News:


GRW Haven using only Drunk Elephant

♬ original sound - Garza Crew

In the midst of Drunk Elephant's unexpected surge in popularity among younger teenagers and preteens, a recent controversy has emerged, prompting concerns from parents about the safety of the brand's skincare products for children. This unforeseen shift in the brand's demographic, previously recognized for its adult skincare offerings, has sparked a debate around intentional marketing to children and the potential risks associated with certain ingredients. Tiffany Masterson, the founder of Drunk Elephant, initially maintained a measured silence on the brand's social media platforms, leading to speculation and unanswered questions. However, in a revealing interview with Ad Age, Masterson offers valuable insights into the unfolding controversy, addressing key issues surrounding the brand's unintentional appeal to younger audiences.

As the controversy unfolds, Tiffany Masterson takes the opportunity to clarify the safety aspects of Drunk Elephant's products for kids and tweens. Emphasizing a commitment to responsible skincare, she provides detailed information on which products are considered safe, advising against the use of potent formulations with acids and retinols for pre-pubescent skin. Additionally, Masterson explores the role of social media platforms, particularly TikTok, in amplifying the brand's popularity among the younger demographic. In navigating the challenges of influencer marketing, she reflects on the evolution of Drunk Elephant's influencer program, shedding light on the brand's approach to gifting and contractual engagements, especially concerning younger influencers. Amidst the controversy, Masterson addresses incidents of disrespectful behaviour by younger consumers in stores, underscoring the shared responsibility of parents and the brand in managing such situations. Personal involvement in store maintenance and a commitment to guiding customers exemplify Masterson's dedication to Drunk Elephant's image and values. In essence, the controversy becomes a pivotal moment for Drunk Elephant, prompting a reevaluation of its marketing strategies and a renewed commitment to education and responsible skincare choices.

Drunk Elephant's transformative journey on Instagram, marked by its evolution from a niche brand to an industry leader with 1 million followers, showcases the prowess of its strategic approach. The brand's commitment to clean, non-toxic formulations, coupled with a minimalist philosophy and transparent communication, has resonated strongly with consumers. While the brand's success is evident, strategic refinements, such as addressing the profile picture quality and maintaining a consistent content narrative, could further enhance its visual identity. Drunk Elephant's story serves as a compelling call to action for skincare brands, encouraging them to prioritize authenticity, community building, and adaptability in the ever-dynamic landscape of social media. As the brand continues to refine its Instagram strategy, the broader skincare industry is urged to draw insights from its triumphs and challenges, fostering a customer-centric approach and a genuine connection with the audience in the digital era.

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