Senior Marketer in Multicultural Beauty • New York
Lamar Dawson is an experienced storyteller in journalism, public relations and advertising. He’s helped some of the world's most iconic brands tell their stories through digital channels, including L’Oréal, Pepsi, Oreo and Nike, and is currently focussing on multicultural beauty.
We asked Lamar about the biggest disruption he’s seeing in the beauty and fashion industry today, and how brands can respond to this disruption to ensure authenticity and efficiency in their content creation.
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I’m Lamar Dawson, I am a senior marketer with a background in public relations and entertainment journalism.
Some of the brands I’ve worked on include Viacom, MTV, VH1, L’Oréal, Oreo, Nike, Frigidaire. I would say no matter what room I’m in, there’s something I’ve worked on in that space.
The biggest disruption I'm seeing across the beauty and fashion industry is not new, but it's around social media. Because as more and more content creators, and everyones a creator if they have a phone in their pocket, they can turn that camera on and turn it around and talk about a product they really enjoy and love. And they can demonstrate that product and they can review that product and they can tell you if they like it or don't. And it's such an authentic and human way that they are doing it, and consumers are trusting that more than they are from the brands.
So brands are struggling to maintain their own narrative and their own story, or brands are struggling to manufacture authenticity, and they can’t. You can't fake authenticity, it's either real or it's not. And real consumers who are telling their own story, and telling the brands story, is a big disruption that a lot of brands are having to solve for.
One of the first things brands can do is work with these content creators, people are already telling your story in meaningful and authentic ways, building an audience doing so, and creating really cool videos being shared and engaging with, that showcases your product already. Bring them on, let them lead you and guide you with your plans and strategies if you want, and harness their creativity, harness their community as well, for you to build your brand and tell your story in that way too.
So what’s changed my approach and marketing and advertising and social media by how the content looks and feels on the platform or in your phones and hands. Content should look native to the platform, it shouldn't look overly polished, too slick, too much like an ad, otherwise consumers won’t engage with it. So taking cues from content creators, influencers if you will, who are creating content on their phones, is letting that be your inspiration for how your content should look too. And what's cool about that is that you can create more content at scale, because it doesn't cost as much as creating a big TV commercial that you’re going to use the whole year. You can create bite size pieces of content just a GIF, or a six second, 15 second video etc that way you have more storytelling opportunities and you can make your content last longer and make your budget stretch further. And on top of that, you can stay timely because let's say a moment of time happens on television and you were working in beauty, maybe you want to capitalise on a cool trend or hairstyle that you saw on the red carpet the night before, you can tap your content creator, have a really cool video shoot the same night and have it up on Instagram the next morning.
I'd say diversity and inclusion is important in all brands and all companies regardless of their audience and who they’re trying to reach and who they’re trying to sell products to. Your ideas are going to be so much stronger when you have diverse perspectives around the table and it comes from people's lived experiences.
A lot of people who work in advertising and marketing and PR, you're thinking B2B and B2C, it’s human to human communication. You are talking to human beings, and people who have experience with diversity human beings are going to bring all that stuff to the ideas and all that stuff to the marketing, all that stuff to the product creation, and that’s what you need to thrive in 2020 and beyond.
In terms of in house structure agencies etc working together I find that the flatter you are, the faster you can move. You need to be as nimble as possible to stay ahead of any social conversations that involve your brand, positive or negative.
I find the optimum structure is working with different partners on different parts of your business. On the one hand you might work with a partner who can help you with your big strategic thinking, and on the other hand you take those ideas and work with a cool creative agency who can bring those content pieces to life, for all your needs for your business.