Forget the trend forecasts.
Millennials and Generation Z consumers are discovering new concepts and turning them into trends instantly via Instagram, making reports from futurists a moot point.
At least that’s what Seed Beauty cofounders John and Laura Nelson, the brother-sister duo behind digital darlings ColourPop and Kylie Cosmetics, say. For the Nelsons, there is no time like the present to dictate what today’s trends are.
“No one knows what the trends will be three years out,” said John Nelson, who is chief executive officer of Seed. “The real question is why is it taking 12 to 24 months to develop a product?”
Seed Beauty isn’t afraid to act fast — and it’s not hard to do, as its entire product development process, from conception to launch, is vertically integrated under one roof at its lab in California.
“Action and real-time engagement is at the center of everything we do,” said Laura Nelson.
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As is listening to and acting on customer feedback.
“We’re taking in customer feedback 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said John Nelson. “This feeback is 360 degrees — that means it’s coming in on our social platforms, customer web sites and our analytics programs. It never stops and we don’t want it to stop — it allows brands like ColourPop to better know its customers.”
The brand went so far to invite millions of fans into their lab virtually as “product development specialists.” John Nelson said this process led to the creation of a new highlighter, blush and eyeshadow that consumers had direct say in.
“They were directly involved in the development process, including seeing all the iterations along the way, giving us feedback and ultimately voting on the final product and shade,” said John Nelson. “We went from concept to launch with these customers embedded in the process in the course of four days. This is the type of direct interaction with fans that blows up the old way of developing new products in which brands would use focus groups and a 12-month development cycle.”
More importantly, the Nelsons agreed, this type of personal interaction with customers “drives an authentic relationship and an almost cult-like following with the brand.”
The Nelsons also stressed authentic relationships when it comes to influencer marketing.
“Millennials and Generation Z tune out anything considered marketing,” said Laura Nelson. “Personal and authentic relationships trump big spend every time. Spending zero dollars is exponentially more impactful than spending one dollar.”