Part 2: Reshaping Our Marketing Efforts to Prioritize Inclusion

Our second blog update on our team’s initiatives to increase representation of Black individuals and foster inclusivity in our marketing output at Curology.

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Curology Team
Feb 05, 2021 · 4 min read

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In our last update this fall, we shared the changes we’ve made to our hiring practices and internal culture to help promote diversity, equity, and belonging within the walls of our organization. In this update, we shift the lens to our Marketing organization and the ways in which we are striving to correct for Curology’s underrepresentation in our advertising and marketing. We’ve sought to address this across every aspect of our Marketing efforts: from market research, to our casting process, to the education in what equity truly means that we continue to undertake as a team. In June, we set the goal of increasing representation in our advertising and content to include 30% BIPOC and have been delivering on this goal consistently across our assets. And we’re not stopping here.

We’ll start by sharing our team’s ongoing education in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our leaders have hosted 6 training sessions in the last 6 months, all of which were led by members of the Curology community (our full-time employees, influencers, and outside experts who we hired for their expertise). Topics included colorism, how to better amplify Black voices, how to avoid tokenism and cultural appropriation in advertising, skincare for people of all backgrounds, ableism and inclusive design, and social media algorithm biases. These training sessions were well-attended by the Marketing team: close to 60% of team members attended each session.

We also focused on capturing better, more complete information from our Curology members in order to better serve their skincare needs and desires. We added an optional section to our new member onboarding, in which individuals can select as many ethnicities as they desire to self-identify. Our Influencer Marketing team has conducted an audit of their vetting process for selecting new influencers to mitigate bias in the way this is done. Concurrently, the team has partnered with 13 Black-owned agencies to source and partner with a more representative group of influencers. In the last 8 months, the Influencer Marketing team has created a program that gives influencers the opportunity to use our platforms for the diversity and inclusion initiatives they are specifically passionate about. “Skincare Facing Forward” was our first of such initiatives, launched on our Curology social channels. We found that this campaign coincided with an 11% uptick in user-generated content submissions from people who identified themselves as members of the BIPOC community, perhaps pointing to improved resonance and relevance of our content with groups we previously weren’t reaching.

The Social Media team has been steadily making progress on our goals of increasing representation and eliminating tokenism and bias from our marketing. September kicked off our “Amplify Black Voices” initiative, a social campaign surrounding diversity and inclusion within the skincare industry. The team hosted 8 influencers and 4 providers on the Curology Instagram who spoke on 4 different topics: Beauty Standards and Race, Skincare 101 for different ethnicities, Skincare for the Transgender community, and How to Age like a Pro. These conversations happened on IG Live, IGTV, IG stories, and on the Curology feed to directly address the discrimmination within the beauty and skincare industries when it comes to race, gender identity, and age. In October, the team was honored to host a member of the Black and LGBTQIA+ community for LGBTQIA+ History Month, who spoke to the topic of becoming your “most invincible self.” We’ve been meeting or surpassing our representation goals: for October, our goal was 30% BIPOC representation and we achieved 33% by the end of that month. Our activation with Ayana Therapy was incredibly powerful. LeNaya Crawford, a therapist with Ayana, sat down and chatted with our own Jenn Kolinski about ways marginalized communities can practice self-care, as well as the skin concerns patients of color may disproportionately face and how our Curology providers care for them.

On the Creative team, much of the work has centered on improving representation and eliminating bias from our casting process. First, the team conducted a retrospective audit of the demographic breakdown of our casting funnel, and established a new process to track and report back on representation of patients going forward. The refined process is now optimized for eliminating potential sources of bias (such as highly subjective qualities like “attractiveness”). We’ve democratized how talent is sourced by including mentions on social media and direct messages, which are fielded by our support team. We rolled out a long-overdue payment plan to equitably compensate patients who are featured in our Curology Journeys. Finally, our casting process now focuses on uncovering and centering how identity affects each patient’s unique skin journey to unlock deeper, more resonant stories.

Zeroing in on our video content as an area of opportunity for Curology, we began tracking the percentage of our brand’s screen time that features individuals from historically underrepresented groups. The Video Creative team now incorporates reviews from the internal Employee Resource Group to ensure we’re authentically representing our BIPOC characters. We’re excited to share that we’ve begun production on a new Curology Journeys series that features 100% BIPOC members and their personal stories.

This is just the beginning of our journey toward creating a more equitable, inclusive community for all of our Curology members and employees. We just launched our latest brand campaign, “In Support of Black Joy,” and we’re excited to know what our community thinks. The team worked to amplify authentic, emotional stories from the Black community members about how they find and create joy in their lives. Next month, look for Curology’s first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Report, in which we’ll drill down into the details of where our representation stands today and where we are committed to going.

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Curology Team

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