Secrets to Fan Engagement From E.l.f. Beauty and Hartbeat

CANNES, France—On the surface, e.l.f. Beauty and Hartbeat—the entertainment company founded by comedian Kevin Hart—may appear to have little in common. But the two brands share an adeptness at building passionate communities of fans. 

“We create an orbit that people want to be part of. We transcend the products we sell,” said e.l.f. Beauty chief marketing officer Kory Marchisotto. “We listen to what [our community] tell us, and then feed it back to them through content that resonates emotionally.” 

Marchisotto was in conversation with Hartbeat chief executive officer Thai Randolph, and Adweek’s marketing and agencies editor Jameson Fleming at the Cannes Lions festival on Wednesday, sharing their secrets to building a strong brand and engaging fans. 

Prioritize diverse leadership

While many businesses are facing slowdowns amid rising inflation and economic turmoil, e.l.f. is seeing growth and momentum—reporting a 48% year-on-year increase in net sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023.

Marchisotto partly attributed that success to having women and people from diverse backgrounds in senior leadership roles. E.l.f. is one of only four public companies in the U.S. with a board of directors comprised of at least two-thirds women and one-third minority groups.

“When you put women and diversity in the highest seats of decision-making power, you make magic happen,” she said. “This is how we deliver results time and time again.” 

Hartbeat also ensures that the audiences it speaks to are similarly “represented at the highest levels” of the business, with more than 70% of employees being people of color and more than 50% women, according to Randolph. 

“That composition future proofs us,” she added.

Listen to the community

At e.l.f., community is not just a marketing buzzword—its fans actually help steer business decisions. 

Marchisotto doesn’t just rely on market research or reports to guide the brand, but rather open conversations with consumers who buy e.l.f. products. 

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