As two Indian cosmetics brands, Lakmé and Sugar Cosmetics, have launched distinct marketing campaigns highlighting the theme of women’s empowerment to mark International Women’s Day 2023, connecting with gender equality issues can help Indian cosmetics brands win consumer loyalty, said GlobalData.

According to the data and analytics company, campaigns linked to relevant social causes, such as women’s rights, beauty brands are connecting with young Millennial and Gen Z cohorts, who will power the future growth of the USD 16 billion Indian cosmetics and toiletries market. [1]

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL)’s Lakmé launched its #UnapologeticallyMÉ campaign to encourage women to wear fashion and beauty styles boldly without feeling guilty or justifying themselves to society.

The campaign sheds light on the social prejudice against women who wear fashionable makeup or clothing. HUL plans to extend the campaign through the Lakmé Fashion Week in March 2023, where the company will launch new products that imbue the campaign’s philosophy. With the new campaign, HUL’s is aligning the 70-year-old Lakmé brand with pertinent issues of the youth,” commented Bobby Verghese, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData.

Simultaneously, Sugar Cosmetics unveiled its #BeYourOwnMuse campaign to inspire women to overcome insecurity and be confident. The company posted an Instagram video featuring nine ambitious working women being asked what advice they would give to their younger selves. The women emphasized self-belief and confidence in chasing passions and opportunities. According to Bobby Verghese: “This ties in with the company’s 2022 campaign, #EveryWomanIsAWonderWoman, which encouraged women to embrace their virtues and flaws and love themselves completely to overcome self-consciousness in the social media age.

These marketing campaigns are stimulating conversations on the social issues that impact modern-day Indian women. Brands espousing such social causes can win consumer goodwill as revealed by GlobalData’s Q3 2022 consumer survey, wherein 34% of Indian respondents said that they actively look for ethical brands and brands that support social causes when making a purchase,” added Francis Gabriel Godad, Business Development Manager, GlobalData India. “The emotional connection forged by the brands can elevate the user experience beyond the product’s features. Consumer experiences linked to social causes, such as gender equality, can help brands in winning consumer loyalty and pockets, especially among new-generation women. This is corroborated by GlobalData’s 2022 survey finding that 45% of female Indians are willing to pay more for products or services that support gender equality causes [2]. Notably, the trend is more skewed towards the Gen Y and Gen Z consumer cohort.

International trends on gender equality and gender fluidity are influencing young Indian consumers. More cosmetics and apparel makers are pledging support for such social movements. However, companies need to align corporate actions with the ethos of their marketing campaigns. Else, consumers will perceive the branding activity as mere social washing,” concluded Verghese.