What Beauty Brands Can Learn From Morphe
Anyone even tangentially familiar with the beauty and makeup industry has heard of Morphe before. The brand was founded back in 2008, by siblings Linda and Chris Tawil, as a brand that was created for the creators, and quickly became a well-known brand with consumers all over the globe. In the beginning, the company was mostly known for its amazing makeup brushes that came with very affordable prices for the consumers, however, the brand developed into a full-on makeup brand creating eyeshadow palettes and other beauty and makeup products for consumers in just a few short years. Morphe achieved all of that by utilizing the right marketing choices, with one of the most important ones being partnering with social media influencers and relevant YouTubers on marketing campaigns that helped reach the company’s target audience. Today, however, Morphe is a subject of controversy after suddenly closing all of its brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. without adequately warning its employees.
Back when Morphe was first established, the beauty and makeup industry wasn’t as big as it is today. In fact, according to research, the industry was worth nearly $600 billion in 2019 alone, and dozens of new makeup and beauty brands are emerging each day. However, Morphe’s operational strategy is largely responsible for the industry’s rapid growth.One of the biggest reasons for the brand’s massive success was its understanding of the power that social media and influencers have on the public’s purchasing decisions; even though the strategy wasn’t as popular at the time, Morphe had the foresight to invest in influencer marketing.That was a time when most people didn’t know that social media platforms had so much power, and were even less aware that they could effectively commercialize that power in a way that generates positive results.
New Move and Backlash
Morphe managed to quickly realize the power that influencers and social media platforms have over purchasing decisions with many different consumers, which is how the company managed to grow to be worth over $2 billion. The way that Morphe managed to set itself apart from its competitors, and reach so many consumers, is by investing in partnerships and collaborations with beauty influencers, YouTubers, and bloggers. However, the popular makeup brand confirmed earlier this year that it would be shutting down all of the stores it has across the US, and did so through a tweet. This new move from the brand ended up shocking both customers and employees. Back in December, some of the employees took to TikTok and began speculating about this as they noted a lack of new inventory being delivered to stores. The decision was faced with backlash after the brand had been facing public criticism for a longer period of time, as consumers all over the world started reassessing some of its strategies and top collaborators.
Controversy and Lessons Learned
Beginning in late December, Morphe began quietly closing its retail doors after suspiciously high discounts were offered to customers. By January 5th, Morphe officially announced its decision to close all U.S. locations on Twitter – a statement that was met with the popular hashtag, #justiceformorpheretailemployees, after several Morphe employees reported having as little as one day of notice prior to termination. Morphe’s fall from grace has been a shock to the industry and is a striking example of how a crisis should not be handled. If a brand can learn anything from Morphe, it would be to embrace transparency. Being transparent with both your audience and your staff will protect your brand’s integrity, and will help avoid potential backlash. Furthermore, aside from its initial statement confirming the closures, Morphe has been silent on the swirling employment controversy; by not acknowledging the problem at hand, Morphe further aggravates the public outrage and adds additional damage to its image and integrity. When a problem does arise, brands need to take responsibility for their missteps and make it right.