The Ordinary, celebrated for becoming TikTok's most popular skincare brand and backed by stars like Kim Kardashian and Holly Willoughby, has revolutionised beauty standards.
This article delves into the brand's commitment to simplicity, transparency, and affordability, combined with its viral success on TikTok. Let’s uncover how the Ordinary has captivated audiences globally and redefined consumer expectations!
1. What's The Ordinary all about?
Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, The Ordinary, a part of the Deciem family, has grown rapidly. The Ordinary has become a dominant player in skincare, valued at USD $2.2 billion.
Founded in 2016 by Brandon Truaxe and Nicola Kilner, Estée Lauder, a leader in prestige beauty, increased its stake in Deciem Beauty Group to over 70% in 2021.
In 2021, Deciem's net sales soared to about $460 million, with The Ordinary driving the majority of these sales. In comparison, for 2023, the skincare market's revenue stands at approximately $181.20 billion.
Skincare Hero's research, spanning from May 2020 to May 2021, revealed that The Ordinary emerged as the world's most sought-after skincare brand, leading in search popularity across 41 distinct countries.
Its product line ranges from serums to moisturizers, each with a focus on potent ingredients like hyaluronic acid and retinol, all wrapped up in minimalist packaging that lets the results speak for themselves.
But what sets The Ordinary apart, particularly on platforms like TikTok?
2. The Rise of The Ordinary: A Lesson in marketing and authenticity
The Ordinary's journey from a disruptive start-up to a global phenomenon offers valuable insights into effective marketing and business strategy.
By prioritising authenticity and simplicity, the brand has managed to resonate with consumers seeking straightforward skincare solutions.
2.1 5 Key Marketing Strategies of The Ordinary
2.1.1 Straightforward product naming
The brand's transparent approach to product naming and formulation has been a game-changer. The Ordinary's product names, like Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, mirroring entries in a chemistry book, have demystified skincare for consumers.
This clarity in naming and packaging has made the brand accessible and appealing.
2.1.2 Affordable and effective products
Emphasising value for money, The Ordinary offers high-quality skincare products at prices that defy industry standards.
Their products are priced between £4.40 and $28.90, with the majority costing less than £10.
The pricing strategy is centred on transparency and affordability, which has been a key factor in its success. By disclosing the concentration of active ingredients and focusing on the cost of raw materials, the brand has offered unmatched value to its customers.
This strategy has attracted a broad consumer base, challenging the notion that effective skincare must be expensive.
Nicola Kilner, co-founder and CEO of Deciem noted, “I think one of our biggest principles has always been that the price point doesn't define luxury. Actually, in my opinion luxury is about authenticity. For us, it was always around actually talking about the efficacy of the products and ingredients used.”
2.1.3 Gender-neutral and inclusivity
The Ordinary’s gender-neutral packaging and marketing strategy have widened its appeal, tapping into the growing demand for inclusive beauty products.
Based on the Mintel report titled 'The Next Genderation', it is reported that 56% of consumers in the UK believe that embracing diversity is now a requirement for beauty brands.
Nicola Kilner stated in an email that The Ordinary was never designed to target any specific gender identity. She explained that both the packaging and the formulations of the products are focused on being direct and educational.
Kilner also mentioned that instead of featuring models in their campaigns or on social media, The Ordinary uses its own employees. She believes this approach reflects their diverse and passionate fan base who are united by their love for skincare and being, fundamentally, just human beings.
2.1.4 Empowering consumers with knowledge
The brand’s educational approach, focusing on the science behind skincare, has empowered consumers to make informed choices, fostering trust and loyalty.
The brand offers comprehensive product descriptions, lists of ingredients, and explanations of their functions. This informative approach empowers customers to make well-informed decisions and better understand their skincare needs.
2.1.5 Tailored skincare regimens
The brand offers personalised skincare regimens through its website, where customers can specify their skin concerns and goals to receive customized product recommendations. This tailored service not only aids in product selection but also enhances customer engagement and satisfaction.
2.2 Impact on the Beauty Industry
The Ordinary's transparent and simplified approach to skincare has prompted a shift in the industry. By demystifying skincare formulations and prioritising consumer education, The Ordinary has set new standards, encouraging other brands to follow suit.
3. The Ordinary's digital presence and viral marketing campaign
3.1 Omnichannel strategy
The brand's robust social media presence across Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, combined with engaging newsletters, showcases its commitment to connecting with its audience.
As of November 2023, The Ordinary is one of the most popular skincare brands on TikTok, with over 1.3 million followers and 16.3 million likes.
The official #theordinary hashtag on TikTok has also amassed over 4 billion views.
This popularity on TikTok, especially among beauty brands, reflects a broader trend where prestige beauty brands are adopting TikTok's raw and unfiltered aesthetic to connect with shoppers in a more personal and conversational tone. Brands like CeraVe, The Ordinary, and Too Faced have reported viral views and soaring sales as a direct impact of their presence on the platform.
3.2 The TikTok virality
3.2.1 “Vampire blood”
A TikTok video by user @kaelynwhitee, showcasing the remarkable effects of The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution on her acne, unexpectedly generated over $1 million in sales for the beauty brand. Kaelyn's video, which has been viewed 3.5M times, led to a surge in demand for the serum, with over 100,000 bottles sold in just a few weeks.
Despite some online calling the product 'scary' and 'terrifying', its popularity soared, especially among Gen Z consumers. The “vampire blood” beauty trick, as it's been dubbed, has since sparked a trend on TikTok, with numerous users trying out the product.
3.2.2 The “Notox”
TikTok's latest skincare trend highlights a potent combination of two The Ordinary serums, Argireline Solution 10% and Matrixyl 10%, which users claim mimics the effects of anti-wrinkle injections. When used together daily, they reportedly deliver a “botox” effect.
This discovery, popularized under the hashtag #botoxinabottle with over 16 million views, has garnered significant attention on TikTok. Users like @sarahpalmyra, with over 810k followers, have shared impressive results, particularly in reducing frown lines, smile lines, and forehead wrinkles. Some have even reconsidered the need for anti-wrinkle injections after using these budget-friendly beauty products.
3.3 “Quality Equality” - Their biggest marketing campaign ever
The Ordinary embarked on one of its biggest campaigns ever in the summer of 2023. This out-of-home campaign, titled “Quality Equality,” included digital takeovers in New York City subway trains and stations, digital signage, and wild postings in the SoHo and Herald Square neighbourhoods.
The campaign was aimed at reinforcing The Ordinary’s product quality, science-backed ingredients, and affordable cost, with product prices typically ranging from $10 to $22.
This campaign marked a significant step for the brand in terms of scale and visibility.
3.4 Leveraging community engagement and User-Generated Content (UGC)
The brand has effectively used UGC campaign to build credibility and reach a wider audience. The Ordinary's ads and social media strategy revolve around educating customers about skincare. They focus on providing informative content that explains skincare ingredients, benefits, and usage.
This strategy has reduced marketing costs and increased consumer trust in the brand.
“The early adopters become our evangelists and many future customers then come into the brand via product recommendations,” said Brandon Truaxe, CEO & Founder.
The brand's informative content, user-generated posts, and collaborations with influencers have nurtured an active online community.
3.4.1 Deciem chatroom for community interaction
Fan-operated the Deciem Chatroom provide a space for skincare enthusiasts to exchange ideas, experiences, and seek advice. This online forum is a hub for community members to support each other and deepen their skincare knowledge.
3.4.2 Encouraging customer reviews and ratings
The Ordinary actively encourages customers to leave reviews and ratings on their website. This open forum for feedback builds a sense of trust and community, allowing users to share their experiences and guide others in their purchasing decisions with real-life insights.
4. The Ordinary: Pioneering Sustainability and Vegan Practices
The Ordinary, certified vegan by PETA, ensures all its products are animal-friendly, reflecting its commitment to sustainable growth.
- Emission reduction
- Renewable energy
- The 100% Good Program: repurposes products with minor defects.
Parent company Deciem's dedication to environmental and social impact is evident through initiatives like The Good Fund and The Community Fund.
Although not yet fully sustainable, The Ordinary is progressing towards this goal with recyclable packaging materials and an in-store recycling program for beauty products, including those in glass containers.
The Ordinary's story is a testament to the power of simplicity and transparency in marketing.
In an industry often clouded by complexity, The Ordinary brand has shown that a straightforward and honest approach can not only resonate with consumers but also drive significant change in the market.
As The Ordinary continues to grow, it serves as a reminder that authenticity, coupled with a consumer-centric approach, is a sure-proof strategy in today's competitive digital world.