How important is a brand's backstory to you?

The more the brand pushes their products because of the backstory, the more I will care. For example, if a brand is talking about sustainability constantly, then it should, at least, feel authentic and align with their general values and why they were founded. I’m more concerned about quality products than the marketing of the why, but I will pay some attention to it.

— Christine
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Lauren Avatar

The backstory is why I probably won’t ever splurge on Chantecaille unless they up their game. For all their marketing, I don’t think they actually contribute enough to endangered wildlife causes to justify the image they’re trying to foster. At this point it seems a bit like profiteering, unless they’ve improved upon their donations recently. If you just want the products, that’s cool! You embrace that bougie life lol. But it’s good to be clear-eyed about it. Sometimes I see a person heaping praise on Chantecaille in a way that seems undeserved.

Sarah Avatar

This might sound crazy, but it’s not. Not anymore. I’m too tired for backstory. Is the product worth the money or not? If it is, I’ll consider it. If it’s not, I won’t.

Of course, there are brands I do avoid for personal reasons, but a brand’s story is all marketing anyway. I doubt any of it is sincere. I’d rather brands just sell a product and let the product do the talking.

Kira Avatar

I think it’s more likely that a strong brand backstory will deter me from being interested because of something I disagree with, than make me more interested. I am perfectly happy with a lovely product that looks nice and works great 👍 The story is not as important to me as what a company actually does as a brand. Like if a brand says that it uses a portion of the profits for some philanthropic purpose, I would ask more questions about where that money go and how is it used to see if I agree with the messaging and efficacy. Separately, I personally am curious about sustainable practices regardless of how a brand markets itself.

Ana Maria Avatar

Philanthropy is such an iffy subject. Because even when the brand has also good intentions in mind, it’s still done for publicity in the end. True philanthropy is done without telling anyone you did it… as one says “don’t let your left hand know what your right is doing”.
But even done for wrong reasons, philanthropy still helps causes / people.

Ana Maria Avatar

In general I prefer to let products speak from themselves, I’m not interested in the backstory, especially personal information about owners.
The only thing that interests me nowadays in the backstory is environmental sustainability (not just in packaging, but overall business and manufacturing practices), care about the quality and equity of ingredients, fair treatment of employees.

Arena Avatar

I prefer if the brand is manufactured a country which has a *more likely* chance of paying its employees a fair wage. I am more conscious about purchasing from independent brands. I prefer purchasing something to solve a problem I have, or answer a question. If the backstory is part of the problem/question, cool; if not also cool.

Alison Avatar

I agree with what other folks have said here about the back story. On the one hand, anyone making it all about them strikes me as vain and narcissistic. On the other hand, too much information makes it possible for me to learn about something I dislike such as a brand director, parading around in an at risk community when there’s a local lockdown. I realize that unfortunately that some are more concerned about how public health measures affect themselves, but as a health and environmental reporter, I care more about the health of the overall population.

Genevieve Avatar

Generally I am not too fussed about a brand’s backstory as long as they deliver excellent products. As a consumer, that is what I am most concerned about.
However I do care about whether their company is run well – and it does show in their products if they are not and whether the spin they give on their website is just all show and no substance. I would want their staff to be paid fairly and work in decent conditions too.
There are some brands that I just don’t buy from (Nars for example) because of their continual use of sexually named products, which I personally object to.

Alicia Avatar

The more a backstory I hear, the more turned off I am. I don’t want any meaning attached to my makeup. I only want it to be about product performance and quality. Maybe perhaps I care about not having lead paint mixed in the formula, but I don’t wanna hear about it in a preachy way. Actually when I hear a backstory it makes me feel like the quality and performance must be inferior because why do you need to convince me through sentimental reasons to purchase your product through a pity party? Ya know? Then again, I know Pat McGrath is a fabulous makeup artist, and I like to think about that when I use her products. Soley because it makes me trust that the product will be great.

Latika Avatar

I am not as concerned with “back story” as I am with quality of product and where it is made. I was caught up on the youtube impulse new release got to have it products and amassed a few.. and I began to realize that the majority of the products that I was “de cluttering” were made in China.. sorry. My favorites seem to be those made in italy… I looked up the brands that I seemed to declutter the most and yep.. same story. I rather have less products but better quality. In terms of back story.. I do avoid some products if I find objections to me however most brands seem to favor animals over people.. I prefer to support people first. Not against animals however it is not going to motivate me to buy make up because they supposedly give .00001% to an animal charity.

Judi Avatar

I am interested in backstory in the sense that it verifies a company is legitimate, especially if it’s a new/small brand. I want to know that this is an actual company, with an address and contact information and real customer service, that is adhering to the proper safety and business regulations. If there is a value claim, like sustainability, I don’t want vague chitchat about oceans and blue skies and “we love the planet!”; I just want a short, clear statement how they are backing up the claim. I agree that most origin stories are more likely to turn you away and feel like a waste of time because they don’t provide any information.

The internet has made it too easy for anyone anywhere to sell anything. I used to subscribe to a lot of beauty boxes, and the shenanigans that went down were exhausting but eye-opening.

C.Blossom Avatar

Very little caring. If they’ve done something horrible, then I’ll stop buying. Otherwise, I’ve spent too much time working around marketing departments doing branding and “backstory”. I know how they make that particular sausage.

I want sanely priced quality products that suit my skin type and compliment my undertone. Bonus points for imaginative concepts and great packaging. But some faux-ernest chatter designed to make a profit-minded corporation mimic personhood? No. No, thank you.

Z Avatar

If their backstory is sustainability for the sake of real sustainability instead of solely grabbing profit while waving around their fake concern for the environment – sure, I’ll care. But I smell hypocrisy from a mile away and when I see PET glitter, selling in China, and “fast fashion” levels of product releases, you’ll be deserving of harsh criticism and scrutiny. I’m also not blinded by the “Clean Beauty” fear-mongering marketing and if your backstory involves paragraphs of unsubstantiated claims and bs I’m out too. Lastly, sort of adjacent to the question – if your owner/spokesperson is garbage or distasteful in anyway, I’m out. So……I guess I do care about a backstory more than I thought.

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