Spending on beauty products has exploded, which has meant a bonanza for PR firms in the category. Sure, it’s about so-called influencers, but a lot of traditional media strategy is involved in distinguishing one brand from another. Our selections follow of 2018’s notable beauty PR agencies. And while PR Power 50 stalwarts HL Group, Kaplow, and Alison Brod Marketing + Communications have spread their influence far beyond the category, it’s still a big part of their respective businesses, so we’ve included them here.
Speaking of that, definitely spend some time with the PR Power 50, our yearly effort (which takes, pretty much, the entire year to put together) honoring the 50 PR firms that we feel have made the biggest, most exciting moves over the course of 2018.
HL Group’s Lynn Tesoro proved her own thought leadership this year with the hiring of former Departures publisher Steven DeLuca as CMO, a new position for PR, not just for her firm. Tesoro’s C-suite colleague Chris Giglio grew his corporate and crisis division by 80%, consulting on Big Issues like cultural appropriation in fashion. HL Group continues its expansion as a terrific generalist firm, including categories like beauty. Read more about HL Group in this year’s PR Power 50
Kaplow’s business wins this year include impressive brands like StitchFix, wet n wild, and Perfectil. But it’s the firm’s long-term relationships that really stand out, including many years with both CVS and Target, while newer clients like Laura Mercier are also loyal to Kaplow for its unrivaled skill at amplifying brand messages across platforms for maximum bang. Read more about Kaplow in this year’s PR Power 50
“We hijack pop culture”, says founder and leader Alison Brod, and the firm’s successes this year back that up—think Country Time’s legal “clinic” for lemonade stands. But beauty—the firm’s roots—persists as a huge part of its portfolio. Read more about Alison Brod in this year’s PR Power 50
By focusing on “startups and storytelling,” Jennifer Bett Meyer’s five-year-old firm has doubled both its headcount and its client roster—think hipster home brand Branch Basics, third-wave coffee marketplace Trade, woman-run, woman-focused supplement maker Binto—and beauty’s been a growing category.
Bold is a “deliberately small” firm with decidedly big clients: Cartier, PatMcGrath Labs, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Proenza Schouler, Prada Parfums, L’Occitane en Provence, Tweezerman and more. Bonus: Founder Jodi Balkan’s a one-time magazine writer—and a former beauty editor at the late, great New Woman and Mirabella—who headed L’Oreal Paris’ PR efforts for five years.
At a moment when beauty PR firms are crossing over into “influencer management”, Julia Labaton’s shop is keeping its focus on traditional media, influencer relations, social media and events—all of which continue to move the needle for clients like Natura Brasil, BaliBody and Cricket, professional hair tools apparently favored by Lady Gaga stylist Frederic Aspiras.
“Authenticity” has become PierceMattie’s mantra; the firm brings it for CLEAN, Dr. Hauschka, ReVive, more. They also operate Media Oasis, a showroom/beauty-treatment/event space within its midtown offices—clients apparently rave about the firm’s spa-like decor as much as its work.
Along with its specialty in beauty, wellness and “founder-made brands,” Nancy Caravetta and Jessica Goldberg’s energetic firm has a conscience. It runs a foundation whose donations are determined by revenues—meaning clients like Sandoz, Philip Kingsley, L’Oreal, and Edgewell Personal Care contribute to it, while beneficiaries include families facing medical crises. Bonus: Rebel Gail’s site proudly displays its certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Along with The Fragrance Foundation and indie skincare brands like LaFlore, Ronna Reich’s 14-year-old firm also has a rosy roster of health and wellness clients like Johnson & Johnson, Rohto, Ricola and CareCredit.