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What if I told you a bunch of beauty bloggers reflects a great, new and culture-altering phenomenon?

A report was just published that proves what we, in the tech business, have known for quite a long time: beauty bloggers, particularly beauty vloggers, are proving more influential than “celebrity” make-up artists.  You can’t troll YouTube without coming across dozens of popular, no, beloved, YouTube beauty experts.  I’ve been friendly with Michelle Phan over the years and seen her meteoritic rise into a mega star and powerhouse first hand.

What’s interesting about this information isn’t so much that there is a shift towards beauty bloggers, but rather why there’s the shift.  As the report points out, and viewers recognize immediately, these beauty mavens are very personable and, more importantly, real.  They usually use make-up to transform themselves.  They are not applying cosmetics and their tips and tricks to gorgeous models with smooth skin, high cheekbones and tiny pores.  Instead they are starting with a canvas that most people can relate to: a normal one.

Why should you care?  I guess if you’re searching for the best Oscar look to match your complexion, I can see why switching to beauty bloggers can help.  I’ve actually met a few of them over the years and they are pretty talented wonderful people.  But let’s be honest, for many of you readers, you probably couldn’t give a rat’s ass about them.

Ah, but you should care.

This shift from aloof beauty experts partnering with perfect models to more realistic, more relatable beauty-how-to stars reflects the larger shift that the digital space has offered, even demanded, of us all.  Whether we are promoting our businesses or our personal brands, the digital space expects us to be real, human and, well, splotchy sometimes.  To present our companies or ourselves as shiny, perfect, aloof and inhuman beings will only get us so far.

I actually spoke about this very point — albeit, in slightly different ways, at Social Media Week a few days ago.  I had the privilege of sharing the stage with my friend, and founder and president of TheSocialArchitects, Donnetta Campbell, where we talked about how peer to peer social can transform corporate brands (see pic below).  Social media and the digital space in general has changed how we communicate as brands and human beings.  While I observe this first hand, I learned this through extensive anthropological research we conducted a year ago.  What stands out to me is how vulnerable, real and raw we are all allowed to be.  Thanks to the real-time and highly visual nature of it all, this space is unfiltered, and highly emotive.  Remember how Carrie Fisher responded to nasty comments about her weight on Twitter  after the new Star Wars?  She struck back in a real and honest way.

Not only can we feel free to be imperfect in the social space, we should be!  Brand executives often tell me they are nervous about entering the social space because they could “lose control of their brands.”  Or they may screw up and “say” the wrong thing.  My response? People want to see the humanity behind the brands.  And that includes their screw ups — as long as brands come clean about them.

What’s so great about these new forms of communication is that they are beginning to pervade all aspects of our lives — online and off.  I truly believe we are going to see brands — all of us for that matter — feel freer to lose our veneers and be more open, honest and real.  Of course some of us could be a bit too real (ah, Kanye, ahem).  But I would take a bit of rawness over phony any day :).


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