A Lesson in Hype, According to Glossier

May 14, 2018 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

The mere mention of the name “Glossier” tends to cause of flurry of excitement.

As a cult beauty brand, it demands attention no matter what it’s up to behind the scenes. From its quirky email marketing to iconic products like Milky Jelly Cleanser, Glossier is one of those “it” brands. It seems that with a simple click, it’s able to stir a huge amount of activity.

Last week Tuesday was no difference.

In the evening, it began putting out Instagram stories that shared the ever-relatable concern of how one can never seem to find the perfect mascara.   

“I probably go through half a dozen different tubes of mascara in the course of a year.”

“I’m a mascara hopper.”

Glossier then re-hashed these concerns in an Into The Gloss article.

The messaging all shared the emphatic cliffhanger of “TOMORROW.”

For all the fans who guessed that it was the brand’s long-awaited mascara, they were happily rewarded on May 9.

Introducing Glossier Lash Slick.

But hold up a second. * Insert record scratch sound *

It’s not so much the product that captured our minutes. It’s the marketing. Or rather, the hype that Glossier so effortlessly generates. While I, the writer, have a positive bias for the brand (because I’m obsessed) it’s worth nothing that Glossier knows how to do marketing really well.

Perhaps we should stop and learn for a minute.

This is what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s a lesson in hype, according to Glossier.

1. Plant the seed.  

Way back when in August of 2017, Glossier’s founder Emily Weiss revealed in the Fat Mascara podcast that the brand was working on four new products. So far, we’ve received three of four (Glossier You, a fragrance; Lidstar, an eyeshadow; Lash Slick, mascara).

According to this Elle article summarizing Weiss’ comments, mascara is something that the brand had been working on since its inception. But, other than this little hint, she didn’t reveal much else other than that Glossier was creating submission after submission but still hadn’t hit the mark.

Obviously, this was smart. She got people’s hopes up and let them know what was coming down the pipeline.

Not dwelling on it was what made her little hint even better. For beauty aficionados, mascara is one of those things that everyone is on a perpetual hunt for the best one. So, for Weiss to spark the anticipation but then not saying anything else after meant that the brand got people to cling to their seats waiting for their next tidbit.

This move basically guaranteed Glossier would get this reaction out of its fans once Lash Slick launched: FINALLLLLY!

2. Appeal to the masses.

Perhaps this is only something that beauty fans will know well, but a good mascara is definitely hard to find. It’s the one product that most people never really generate a loyalty to. They’ll hop from brand to brand, formula to formula but still never feel obligated to stick to a single one.

This could be because mascaras are too similar. Or perhaps because most good expensive brands can be found in a cheaper dupe.

Regardless, it’s a shared experience among many – friend or stranger. And Glossier GETS this.

When we say appeal to the masses, we mean appeal to your target in a way that digs deeper beneath the surface.

Again, might sound funny to get all emotional about mascara, but there are passionate people out there for just about anything. Understand what your customers love. What they hate. What frustrates them and what they hope for.

What happens when a customer is suddenly faced with a brand that reiterates their exact concern? An opportunity to do great work (and make that sale for your brand).  

3. Listen.

Glossier has long since been known to crowd source a lot of inspiration for its products. From conception to execution, the brand credits poring over forums, comments, tweets, etc. for guiding its formulas.

By using copy on its messaging that word-for-word matched real comments by real people, Glossier demonstrated that it understands its customer base.

And that’s what audiences want. There’s enough crappy advertising floating out there. There’s no need to bombard them with irrelevant messaging or messaging that doesn’t understand people’s needs.

There were no other fancy lines of copy. It was all just consumer input. That’s the real stuff that people can easily connect with.

4. Set the scene.

Glossier’s blitz for Lash Slick did a great job with not hitting people over the head with teasers, but still making them click faster searching for any more info.

Both Twitter and Instagram shared the same image, posted the day before.



A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on

Instagram also had its Stories, with each frame simply adding on another comment about mascara. Every comment lasted just a few seconds, before the Story finally ended with a message about checking back in tomorrow.

Not to mention, this all started popping up during the evening right before launch, meaning the brand didn’t give much time for others to direct the narrative for them. As mentioned before, most fans already guessed what the product would be (and it really wasn’t hard to do).

But by keeping everything short and sweet, Glossier kept up peoples’ interest fresh and top of mind. They didn’t have many details to go off of, but knowing that a launch was going to happen only hours later meant that the conversation was ongoing from tease right to launch.

5. Keep it simple.   

You’ll notice that of all the above explanations, nothing is particularly revolutionary. I don’t mean that in a bad way though!

In fact, it’s the simplicity that made it all stand out. It was clear and to the point. Nothing flashy. There were even very few words involved.

While some might see the above tips as common knowledge, the fact of the matter is that a lot of marketing lately is about bigger and better. What’s new. What’s edgy.

But sometimes in all that need to do something “different,” the main message is lost. So, what’s refreshing about this work is how its brevity makes it that much more interesting. It manages to deliver just enough content to get people excited, without tiring them out before the main event.

Hype doesn’t need to be extravagant. It just needs to be smart.

Remember the K.I.S.S. method, people.

Still questioning the success of Glossier’s hype-inducing marketing? Just check out all the comments from happy customers circulating just about everywhere online.

As a side note, we should note that the one hiccup this launch experience was also expertly handled. As the product was labelled as vegan, but included beeswax, the company promptly refunded people who bought and sent out an email explaining their actions – no questions asked.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

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