Our Brand Innovation Pulse column highlights strategies in innovation and consumer engagement. This time two recent cases demonstrate the expanding role of beauty products in the branding and retail mix.

PB Teen x Benefit Cosmetics

Cosmetics are everywhere, so it should perhaps be no surprise to find LVMH-owned Benefit Cosmetics providing the palette and context for a range of furnishings at the young-facing home retailer, PB Teen. Actually it’s a rather bizarre idea, but well executed and a magnet for wide editorial interest. In recent times PB Teen has made a name for themed collections with properties like Hello Kitty and Harry Potter, a behaviour that creates expectation and earns them permission to try out less orthodox ideas on a large scale.

Alex Woo x Smith & Cult

While we may be experiencing a new era of cosmetics, we are most certainly living through a golden age of accessories. Direct-to-consumer selling and social media have created the environment for accessories brands to make a name for themselves, build global communities and create meaning around products that were too easily overlooked in conventional retail set-ups.

A slowly growing trend is for collaborations to highlight connections between accessories categories, and give consumers new ways to create coordinated looks. In her newly released Autograph collection, the jeweller Alex Woo uses the luxe enamel finishes of Smith & Cult nail polish for a more personalised product – and a 20% upcharge. Like PB Teen, Alex Woo has traditionally relied on standard licensing names like Disney and MLB for expansion collections. Today, brands have so many more options at their disposal to tell a remarkable and memorable story.