Glossy Beauty x Wellness Summit 2019: Things We Learned

When the temperature begins to drop in the Northeast, the opportunity to convene with marketing and digital leaders in the beauty space is too good to pass up, which is just one of the reasons why several members of the revelation team headed to Palm Springs last week for the Glossy Beauty x Wellness Summit. Lauren McGurn (Account Lead) and Noelle Chehab (Head of Production & Social) had the opportunity to learn from and share and connect with esteemed founders, VPs and CMOs, who discussed exactly how their brands are evolving and adapting in the dynamic beauty and wellness industries. Here are some of the “best of” what they believe were the critical themes and key trends that you cannot ignore:


Christina Peng leading the Sustainability Working Group.

The first key theme of the Glossy Beauty x Wellness Summit was sustainability, especially as it relates to the beauty category. To start, let’s put the importance of this theme into context. Think about this: over 120 billion units of cosmetics packaging were globally produced, plastic packaging in the cosmetics industry is now used 120 times more than it was used in 1960, and the kicker? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 70% of this plastic (nearly 3/4 of it!) is not recycled, creating an increasingly dangerous ecological footprint.

During her discussion, Christina Peng, VP of Innovation at COOLA, established not only the importance of sustainability when it comes to brand-building, but a direction that we, as marketers, should take when strategizing. Her discussion was driven by the idea that brands are beginning to realize that “sustainability” is not, and cannot, be defined. Instead, the definition of sustainability is complex because it varies according to the different ways that we interpret and perceive the term. In addition to having varying meanings, the term “sustainability” is too-often defined by false claims. In order to overcome these complexities and establish (or introduce) your brand as a sustainable one, Peng gave the following two pieces of advice, which we should certainly be mindful of. They go like this: 

  1. Define what sustainability means for your brand.
  2. Educate your consumers on your brand’s unique meaning and interpretation of sustainability.

The theme of sustainability does, however, also go hand-in-hand with another theme that we, as marketers, should be mindful of: corporate social responsibility. During the same discussion, Peng also established the importance in brands establishing responsibility to educate consumers on critical topics, including sustainability. 

Brand Values

The next key theme includes the importance of brand values. If you haven’t read our podcast post, consider the following key takeaway from it (and read it here!): Podcasts work because they organically build a connection with a target-market through a human voice that elicits raw emotion and passion. The keyword here? Human. The importance of human emotions, connections, and values is here to stay, as Lauren noted during Cindy Deily‘s discussion on the future of the beauty industry. Deily, who is the VP of Skincare Merchandising at SEPHORA, asserted that it is more important than ever to “be connected to what people want.” Although traditional marketing 101 probably includes a lesson on getting to know (and humanizing) your target-market according to their attitudes, beliefs, and lifestyle, there is now a new and re-vamped side of the equation. According to Deily, the new side of this equation is humanizing your brand as well. 

Attendees had the opportunity to share what they thought were some of the biggest challenges both industries are facing today.

So, what is the implication for us, as marketers? Now that consumers are humanizing brands (and not just target-markets), we must strategize and make decisions according to what brand features and values connect with consumers on a more humanistic level, while keying into what characteristics of the brand will bring the most value to their lives. Brand values should align according to what matters the most to you, so while your asking yourself what the term “sustainability” means to your brand, also ask yourself this: What means the most to your brand? Is it trust, empowerment, efficiency…? The list goes on. 

And it all comes full circle! One way that Deily’s company, SEPHORA, is humanizing its brand is by keying into its values through a series of podcasts titled #LIPSTORIES. Interested in learning more about this podcast? Read what we have covered on it. 


The importance of values is here to stay and certainly applicable to our third key theme of the Glossy Beauty x Wellness Summit: the use of influencers. Katey Hassan, VP of Brand Marketing at TULA Skincare, used an interesting analogy regarding the relationship between promised brand value and using influencers to tell their version of the brand’s story. The analogy goes like this: 

Your brand’s core values are essentially a very clear commitment, or a promise, that lives through everything that goes into your brand, including every piece of content curated. In other words, the core values of your brand represent its DNA. Once the promise to comply to these values is made, you, as the primary marketer, can release your brand into the world as if it is your baby. But, where in the world is your baby going? As your brand (your baby) is released into the hands of an influencer, it is subject to slight variations of the story that your brand tells because this influencer will tell it according to his or her unique perspective, lifestyle, social profile, etc. Now, here comes the most important part. Although the influencer may make your brand’s story their own, the story will still be told according to a foundation of core values… That commitment, that promise, the DNA. The benefit for us, as marketers, comes in our ability to establish a strong foundation of value across unique people and perspectives, or our valued influencers (Hassan).

If you feel inspired by this analogy, but fear that your brand does not have a big enough audience to attract influencers, you’re in luck! During her discussion, Kristen Ess, founder of Kristen Ess haircare, said that the most magic happens with influencers who have under 10,000 followers. Perhaps, less really is more! 


Annie Lawless of Lawless Beauty keys into the importance of launching consistently high-quality products only of special value to her brand.

The final note-worthy theme of this summit includes the rise in influence of CBD, and the implications it has on us, as marketers. Let’s take a step back. When you think of the role that CBD is playing in relation to marketing, you probably that of how much society, and the corporate world, has progressed and advanced beyond what we thought would become relevant to our business practices. When we think about the topics that this summit covered, they are all rooted in how industries, the marketing mix, and competitive landscapes are advancing and progressing. Jann Parish, CMO of Green Growth Partners, however, reversed and challenged the ideas of advancement. Her discussion was rooted in some food-for-thought, or how CBD is one tool that is actually regressing, rather than advancing, the marketing mix. In doing so, she declared,”CBD makes you do marketing the old fashioned way because of all of the restrictions around it. 2020 is a lot like 2002 where brand awareness, onsite trial (experiential) and direct mail are key to marketing success.” Could this mean that we are reverting back to more traditional methodologies of marketing?

We’ll soon find out.

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