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4 Influencer Marketing Learnings from Hailey Bieber's Viral Trends

Sep 13, 2023

Glazed Donut Nails, Latte Makeup, Strawberry Girl, Cinnamon Cookie Butter Hair… Hailey Bieber and her team have caused some buzz in the influencer marketing industry for their ability to impact social media trends. What’s impressive is that they don’t just inspire trends, they know how to take advantage! A prime example of this: Hailey Bieber’s Krispy Kreme collaboration, which came off the back of the viral Strawberry Girl makeup trend.

So what makes Hailey and her team so good at this? And more importantly, what learnings can those in the influencer marketing industry pick up and apply to their own influencer programs? 

4 Influencer Marketing Learnings from Hailey Bieber’s Viral Trends

Influencer Marketing Learning 1: Anything can be “new” with the right creativity and timing

First, let’s look a little bit closer at the data on two of the most recent viral trends that Hailey Bieber and her team are considered responsible for:

  • Latte Makeup. Hailey first mentioned “latte makeup” on July 16th, posting a short video on TikTok and image carousel post on Instagram. Mentions of the “latte makeup” trend spiked with a 31% increase in active influencers and 33% increase in mentions in the 3 days following her post vs the 3 days prior. 
  • Strawberry Girl. For the Strawberry Girl trend, our data suggests that Hailey’s post was the spark that kicked off the trend. In all of July, there were only 6 “”strawberry girl” mentions. Then, following Hailey’s IG carousel post on August 2 captioned “Strawberry Girl Summer” mentions skyrocketed with 503 influencer mentions this month through Aug 23.

Ok, so is it just that Hailey Bieber has a special something that isn’t available to the average influencer marketing program? Is the secret equation just good aesthetics + large following = virality?

In all likelihood, the answer is… no. While having a celebrity at your helm can certainly help boost a trend, it doesn’t guarantee that a brand will suddenly become a trend setting machine (just look at other celeb brands like Kylie Cosmetics).

Instead, we think that one of the key elements to Hailey and her team’s success is their ability to pick up TikTok microtrends and then repackage them into something “new”. Latte makeup? A reimagination of nude, smokey eye looks that have been around for ages. Strawberry Girl? An ultra blushed, natural makeup look that has been on the rise for a while, but now repackaged with a fun summer fruit name. Other examples that are not Hailey Bieber-inspired include “glass skin” (dewy skin texture), “cloud skin” (matte skin texture), and many, many more. 

For those looking to score some viral trends for their influencer marketing programs, the key learnings here are: implement good social listening tools so you can pick up on micro trends early on, think creatively about how to put a fun spin on rising trends in a way that is well positioned for your brand, and get in on the trend at the right time (e.g. Strawberry Girl makeup felt right because the name, a summer fruit, matched the timing). 

Pro tip: If you’re itching to learn more on this specific topic. Check out this article where we dive deeper into how trendsetting/chasing and content planning plays a big role in building a sophisticated influencer marketing program. 

Influencer Marketing Learning 2: Align your trends to what matters to your target audience

Ok, this learning sounds obvious (and it is). But, it’s critical when you apply it to how you pick and invest in trends for your influencer marketing program.

In Hailey Bieber’s case, it seems that not only do her and her team have a good understanding of what their target audience is interested in, they have a good sense of how that audience’s opinions on beauty/fashion are shifting over time. This helps them focus on specific trends, while also anticipating/planning ahead. 

Let’s follow this train of thought a bit deeper down the rabbit hole. If we assume that Hailey Bieber’s target audience is Gen Z and Gen Alpha consumers (which would make sense, given some of the influencers she invited to her Krispy Kreme collaboration launch), her are two audience insights that align with their viral trends:

  • Skill inclusivity. The powerful thing about the Strawberry Girl and Latte Makeup looks? They don’t require MUA (makeup artist) level skill - they are both something the average person can do with average tools and products. It’s possible that Gen Zers and Gen Alpha’s are either in the beginning stages of playing with makeup, or don’t have enough time to pour a bunch of time or money into every viral look they want to try.
  • Price accessibility. Not only are the Hailey Bieber-led trends accessible to all skill levels, they don’t require expensive products or tools to achieve. While Gen Zers and Gen Alpha’s certainly consume beauty products, they are still coming into their spending power. 

While they can’t take the full credit for these trends' virality, these two elements reduce the friction that Gen Zers and Gen Alpha’s often experience when getting in on a new trend. They were able to look good and feel good without trying to learn too many skills or attain things that are out of their price point.

Pro tip: Many top brands have found success by going straight to the source, asking consumers and influencers in certain demographics to weigh in on product research, brand positioning, and more. For example, Walmart and P&G surveyed a panel of Gen Zers when developing a new hair care line and the results surprised them enough to pivot their products. Learn more about how Walmart, P&G, and other brands use influencer marketing in surprising ways.

Influencer Marketing Learning 3: Finding a niche can help keep things fresh 

If you hadn’t noticed, the recent viral trends associated with Hailey are all food focused. Having a common theme is a powerful way to keep a brand’s image feeling consistent while incorporating a variety of trends. And, giving your team a niche to work within can help open up creativity. This is especially true when thinking through repackaging known things into new and fun trends. 

So why food for Hailey Bieber, specifically? Hard to tell. But, food is visual and relatable to all people. It’s also seasonal, and allows for creative play with color and texture. For example, we could see a play on texture being something like turning hard gelled hair looks into “crème brulée hair”. Or a play on color? Bright red nails being “candy apple nails”. 

This type of creativity takes the pressure off of coming up with completely new trends! It also makes a trend less about buying the latest high end product, and more about joining in on a new and fun experience. 

Influencer Marketing Learning 4: Audit performance so you can boost successes

One of the things that made Hailey Bieber’s latest trends so notable to the influencer marketing community, was how quickly her brand, Rhode Beauty, was able to turn them into a product collaboration with Krispy Kreme. 

On August 21st, Hailey announced Rhode Beauty’s collab with Krispy Kreme for their new Strawberry Glaze peptide lip treatment, which played off of both the Strawberry Girl and Glazed Donut trends. 

Did the team already have this in mind when Hailey first posted about the Strawberry Girl trend? We’ll never know. What we do know is that this unique and timely collab, combined with the fun, colorful product packaging made it a product launch that was widely shared across social media. It also successfully sparked excitement across the beauty community, and amongst influencers and consumers who wouldn’t normally think much of another beauty product launch.       

For folks thinking about how to achieve this kind of flawless timing and alignment in their own influencer marketing programs, the best piece of advice we can give here is to audit your content performance in real time. 

If you are trying out a new trend, new messaging, or playing with new product types the single most important thing you can do is track how well your content is performing. If you are testing things out through your creator partners, influencer marketing platforms like Traackr can help make this type of performance auditing much easier. 

By tracking performance in real time, you will be able to:

  • Tell whether something is working - and if it isn’t, you’ll know to stop investing your time and budget!
  • Identify whether something has potential for virality - if so, you probably want to invest further with content boosting or by bringing on more influencer partners! 
  • Determine whether something should be turned into a bigger campaign. For example, if you identify a trend that is performing well, you may consider incorporating it into your next product launch!

As with most things in influencer marketing, knowledge is power! The more information you have on how your strategies and experiments are performing, the more likely you are to be able to spend your money, time, and resources more effectively!