Benefit Cosmetics Launches In-house Influencer Agency

3 Min Read |

Benefit Cosmetics’ has announced the setting up of a dedicated in-house influencer agency in an effort to streamline their marketing operations. Launched in February, the primary function will be to monitor the brand’s return on investment as well as seeking out new influencers and managing relationships. The agency will ensure the brand has greater control over its wide-ranging marketing efforts.

Initially starting with a core of two employees, the agency will call on people from several other departments, including social media and PR, to be involved on an ongoing basis, according to Annie Harrison, senior publicist and influencer manager, who is heading up the agency. The creation of the agency will streamline influencer marketing efforts as up to this point, influencer-related issues were divided between two different teams; digital and public relations. “As the importance of [influencer marketing] has grown, we’ve had to remain a relevant player in the conversation and create a hub that reflects that importance [to the] business.” Says Harrison.

“Influencers have become a central part of our marketing strategy, and they are such a huge focus for us in how our communication is evolving,” said Harrison. “As the importance of [influencer marketing] has grown, we’ve had to remain a relevant player in the conversation and create a hub that reflects that importance [to the] business.”

“Benefit has one of the largest and most sophisticated influencer programs we have come across within the beauty sector,” – Conor Begley,
Founder of Tribe Dynamics

Benefit U.K. has previously invested heavily in its online presence. The brand claims over 1.2 million follower on Instagram (the U.S. account has over 9 million) and it works with over 500 paid and unpaid influencers. Partners include unpaid collaborations with LeeSondra Berovides (@makeupbylee, 61,000 followers) and Gary Thompson (@theplasticboy, 224,000 followers). Although the company’s current marketing budget and YOY growth remains confidential, WWD reports that the company has spent as much as $10million on a single influencer campaign.

Their ‘Bold is Beautiful’ campaign donated 100% of the proceeds of eyebrow epilations carried out in Brow Bars across 19 countries to local charities that support women. They have collaborated with Huda Kattan, PBteen, worked with Instagram’s IGTV for a makeup tutorial in Arabic, as well as working with parent company LVMH for a storytelling initiative in the U.S.

Having a dedicated in-house U.K. agency will also be central in keeping up to date with regional regulations. Although not a motivating factor behind setting up the agency, it will ensure that any new regulations are integrated into the system and will also make it easier to monitor influencers to ensure they abide by the rules. More recently, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been strictly enforcing new legislation on influencer endorsements; recently securing formal commitments from sixteen celebrities to ensure that they will clearly state if they have been paid or received any gifts or loans of products which they endorse.

Although limited to the U.K. at present, if the agency proves to be a success there is a possibility that it will be rolled out to other markets. According to Tribe Dynamics, Benefit Cosmetics U.K. is the seventh most successful beauty brand in the U.K. at present; the last quarter of 2018 yielding over $24million in earned media value(EMV).

“Benefit has one of the largest and most sophisticated influencer programs we have come across within the beauty sector,” said Conor Begley, co-founder of Tribe Dynamics. “They do a fantastic job of approaching the influencer space authentically at scale through relationship investment and partnership with the influencer community.”

The In-house agency will further support the brand’s eyebrow products, according to Harrison, as she revealed that the company’s influencer marketing efforts for brow products, between 2017 and 2018, from Instagram to e-commerce contributed significantly to in an increase in sales conversions of 23%.

“Brows are such a huge focus for us, so it’s important for us to dominate the conversation in that area; all of our initiatives and activities will always lead up to brows in some way,” she said. “Hopefully, this new influencer strategy will help move the dial on that. That is a key motivation for us.”

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