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Inside Neutrogena’s educational approach to TikTok to win over Gen Z

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TikTok has continued to evolve from an experimental platform to a must buy for marketers over the last three years, as it’s not only become a haven for product recommendations but, more recently, a growing search platform.

Since joining two years ago in September 2021, Neutrogena has taken an educational approach to its videos to “spread skincare information and awareness in an innovative and approachable way,” explained Natasha Haubrich, head of Neutrogena equity and strategy. 

The approach is meant to differentiate its videos from the various recommendations and potential misinformation being served to consumers, particularly Gen Z. Neutrogena hopes its educational approach, with a mix of paid and organic and using influencers, dermatologists and scientists in its content, will resonate. It helps that the brand listens to consumers, and monitors their comments, to see what questions they might have.

“What you’ll see from us in the future is continued magnifying and amplifying of our messaging of education via this type of platform,” said Haubrich, adding that the content platform has driven higher engagement and view rates for the brand. Neutrogena took a similar educational approach with a back to school event at Walmart in August addressing skincare tips to advertise its various skincare offerings. “We did want to bring the TikTok lessons to real life. When shopping for something as tactical as skincare, the in-store experience is really important.”

Neutrogena is far from alone in its educational approach to TikTok. Brands like Chosen Foods and Fender, among others, have also taken an educational approach to the platform. Doing so allows marketers to create content that not only features their brands’ products but does so in a way that isn’t solely a pitch, making it more likely for younger consumers to watch as they are less receptive to traditional advertising approaches.

It’s unclear how much Neutrogena is dedicating to its TikTok channel as Haubrich did not share specifics but did note that the brand is aiming to take a more balanced and holistic approach to its media overall rather than relying on one channel or another. From January to May 2023, Neutrogena spent $64.9 million on advertising, per data from Vivvix included paid social data from Pathmatics, which also found that throughout 2022, Neutrogena spent $121.1 million on advertising.

An “infotainment” approach — or combining entertainment with information — could help consumers in the consideration phase, said Eunice Shin, partner at Prophet, a growth strategy consulting firm

“Today’s skincare consumer is a lot more informed before making decisions,” said Shin. “That Neutrogena is doing some of that storytelling is smart. As a brand, you need to think about how you’re meeting consumers in their consideration phase and how to get them to quickly purchase. Significant change in consumer journey.”

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