Opinion: Why luxury skincare needs to remember to dream

    The world is full of skincare brands that are doomed to fail because they lack client-centric and emotionally engaging storytelling.
    Image: FutureMe
      Published   in Beauty

    During a recent luxury beauty event, I was invited to present the opening keynote to the industry’s elite. A swag bag had been sent to my room the evening before, containing a sample of each participating brand. Out of curiosity, I decided to carefully unbox each product and read the brand stories and promises. Honestly, I felt a little depressed by what I found, though I wasn’t surprised.

    All the brands had essentially the same story — a narrative centered around the product and glorifying the founder. The stories resembled something like this: “As the founder, I could never find the right skincare product that convinced me, therefore I had to develop one myself.”

    However, when about 20 luxury brands, all participating in the same event, tell the same story, then frankly, there is no story. Yes, the jars and boxes all looked wonderfully designed. But when all other factors are directionally the same, there is no point of differentiation, no desirability, and ultimately, no value created.

    As a result, I made a very provocative statement during my keynote the next day: “You are not luxury skincare just because you feature exotic ingredients and promise scientific breakthroughs with a generic story.”

    When brands tell the same story, they’re basically narrating what I call a category story. Even the promises were the same: everyone was fighting or defying aging at an opulent price tag. These brands were convinced they epitomized luxury.

    Why was I not surprised? Because this is a recurring finding in almost all of my brand audits: more than 90% of brands tell a similar story. This deprives them of the ability to create meaningful emotional connections and, consequently, unlock their revenue and profitability potential. The world is full of brands that are doomed to fail because they lack client-centric and emotionally engaging storytelling.

    You are not luxury skincare just because you feature exotic ingredients.

    Supriya Mody: Changing the narrative of luxury skincare#

    In the skincare category specifically, the shopping experience is often underwhelming and disappointing. Most luxury skincare brands are sold in multi-brand environments without the luxurious service that matches their price points. Enter Supriya Mody to change the narrative of luxury skincare.

    Supriya Mody, founder of FutureMe, is changing the luxury skincare game. Image: FutureMe
    Supriya Mody, founder of FutureMe, is changing the luxury skincare game. Image: FutureMe

    A scion of the Indian pharmaceutical giant Unichem and, until recently, the CEO of Unichem’s International Formulation Business, Supriya is no stranger to high stakes and global markets, fueled by her insatiable passion for entrepreneurship. She told me that “in every venture, my philosophy has been simple: dream limitless. Without dreaming, we set boundaries for our aspirations.”

    Supriya shares this with an assured glow, exuding confidence that her new skincare brand, FutureMe, will one day be her legacy. FutureMe is a brand that transcends borders: the first global luxury skincare brand that was developed and formulated in India and recently launched in South Africa — a place she calls her second home and has always dreamed of living. This marks the first instance of a global brand selecting South Africa as its launch country before expanding to other regions.

    FutureMe was founded in India and has since expanded to South Africa. Image: FutureMe
    FutureMe was founded in India and has since expanded to South Africa. Image: FutureMe

    I was tasked with creating the brand story, and my inspiration was Supriya’s firm belief that everything starts with a dream. I wanted her ethos to be reflected in every aspect of the brand story and client experience because a brand story needs to be authentic.   

    The result is a brand story that gives wings to the dreams of its users, providing them with transformative inspiration towards their future selves, where possibilities are limitless. It aims to redefine every aspect of the luxury skincare experience. 

    Instead of relying on traditional retail, FutureMe offers a very personal human-to-human “by invitation only” consultation service that elevates customer engagement to an art form, influenced by the principles of Asian luxury hospitality, where each encounter has the ambition to make clients dream boldly of their future.

    Clients are community#

    Clients are more than just customers; they form a community of dreamers. Within this community, members are celebrated as goddesses and are invited to share their dreams, aspirations, and achievements.

    During recent dream events in Cape Town and Johannesburg, I was able to witness firsthand how powerful and meaningful connections are formed through the brand story.

    According to Supriya, “FutureMe is more than a skincare line. It’s a journey where the client can envision and shape their own future. From the moment our clients engage with us, we want them to feel not just seen, but understood. To us, every individual is a story waiting to be celebrated and a dream ready to unfold.”

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    In a world saturated by high-end formulations and grandiose claims, it becomes evident that shifting the paradigm in luxury skincare is possible when approached holistically. This underscores the critical role of brand storytelling and its influence on every aspect of the client experience.

    A client will never be inspired to dream if the brand is sold in a non-curated space within an uninspiring store, surrounded by hundreds of other products that all resemble each other. They will also immediately sense if a brand’s story is not authentic. This is what so many brands get wrong: they focus on product and then forget the creation of genuine emotional connections with the client.

    Brand advocacy, desirability and loyalty#

    Only through an emotional connection, executed in a brand-specific way, can brand advocacy, desirability, and loyalty be cultivated. The example above shows that luxury skincare brands — and many others in every luxury category — need to remember to dream.

    However, it’s not about any generic dream; brands today must offer an emotional connection and a promise so unique and authentic that clients fall in love with the brand. The alternative is to become just one among many, devoid of a story.

    This is an opinion piece by Daniel Langer, CEO of Équité, recognized as one of the “Global Top Five Luxury Key Opinion Leaders to Watch.” He serves as an executive professor of luxury strategy and pricing at Pepperdine University in Malibu and as a professor of luxury at NYU, New York. Daniel has authored best-selling books on luxury management in English and Chinese, and is a respected global keynote speaker.

    Daniel conducts masterclasses on various luxury topics across the world. As a luxury expert featured on Bloomberg TV, Forbes, The Economist, and others; Daniel holds an MBA and a Ph.D. in luxury management, and has received education from Harvard Business School. Sign up for his masterclasses at the Jing Academy. Follow him: LinkedIn and Instagram.

    All opinions expressed in the column are his own and do not reflect the official position of Jing Daily.

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