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Social Media and UGC

How Glossier Hacked its Way to a Billion Dollar Valuation

A billion dollar valuation with only 40 products is, without understating it, Apple Computer territory. For a cosmetics brand, 40 products is a literal blip on the radar while the competition in Sephora and Ulta Beauty carry thousands of products.

What makes Glossier a Silicon Valley investment darling with breakthrough brick and mortar stores in LA and NY, instead of Just Another Shelf at a drugstore? Glossier has built their entire model on succeeding through community-driven product development.

As detailed in the Glossier Playbook, Glossier kept a laser focus on their community at their core for growth. For many retailers, it takes millions of dollars and years testing, tweaking, and focus-grouping before coming to market.  But with community-driven marketing, brands can hack this process and save an untold amount of time and money with three key steps.

Community Building

“Our customer is on Instagram, and it’s how and where she’s crafting her online persona, so we had to be there” – Emily Weiss, Glossier Founder.

Wall Street measures Glossier’s success by their ARR and valuation, but Glossier’s most precious commodity is their 1.6+ million Instagram followers (which is just one facet of their engaged community). From a brand building perspective, Instagram acts as a hub for market research, an advertising platform, a source for new advertising content, and a medium to personally connect with customers and fans simultaneously.  

By strategizing their core focus on their community, Glossier doesn’t just “do social media”. Without their community, there is no Glossier, and no billion dollar valuation. Taking the steps to build your community pays incredible dividends for retailers on the hunt for word of mouth marketing, authentic product feedback, and positive user-generated content.

Focus on Content

Content is the best way to build an engaged community around a brand. Glossier might be the best modern case study in content marketing as their brand began as a blog offering makeup information. Glossier used content by recognizing what their customers considered an authentic message: images that best reflected the audience. Glossier helped prove that content can dominate your marketing strategy when used as a tool for brand agility. Allowing content to transcend community and all distribution channels is both scalable and helps build an authentic and consistent brand.  

Customer Advocacy

Product development ends with your greatest advocates – why shouldn’t it start there, too? Identifying and publishing UGC are the first few of many steps to engaging your community – but your community can be your secret weapon to staying ahead of the competition. Glossier embraces “co-creation” of their product line, and in extension, their brand, with their community. As sales roll in from new products released with the help of this instant and connected social feedback, they found the last key to their wild success – Customers are responding to viral brand product development. Looking to add these steps to your marketing strategy and enhance your product development with real customer feedback? Download our Guide to the Glossier Playbook and find how community-driven marketing can enhance and influence your sales.

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