How CeraVe makes it social media mark by using dermatologists as influencers

Several brands are leaning into creators who double as industry experts to support their influencer marketing strategies. As social media platforms become more and more saturated with influencers, these experts bring a level of knowledge and authority to their content that lends an inherent credibility to their content that traditional, everyday influencers may lack. 

One brilliant recent example is that of CeraVe. The majority of the doctors starring in CeraVe’s videos moonlight as social-savvy influencers, from Daniel Sugai, a Seattle-based dermatologist with 1 million TikTok followers, to Muneeb Shah, also known as @DermDoctor, who has amassed 21 million followers across TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. With hundreds of people turning to these internet-famous dermatologists each day for skin care advice and product recommendations, CeraVe has increasingly oriented its social media strategy around this burgeoning influencer niche.

“Our aim is to keep dermatologists basically at the centre of everything we do. And in our efforts to expand our reach on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, we’ve continued to put them at the heart of our strategy” said Adam Kornblum, senior VP of global digital marketing for CeraVe. 

Over the last several months, CeraVe has made dermatologist influencers the focal point of multiple social-first campaigns that teach consumers healthier, dermatologist-approved skin care habits. These educational initiatives have included #CleanseLikeADerm, #MoisturizeLikeADerm and, most recently, #FaceItLikeADerm, which CeraVe launched on March 17 at this year’s dermatology conference.

At this year’s American Academy of Dermatology conference, CeraVe invited attendees to help produce a compilation video of them applying one of the brand’s lotions, and ultimately set a (very specific) Guinness World Record: “the longest video chain of people applying body moisturiser using CeraVe Moisturizing Cream,” featuring 625 dermatologists.

“A lot of influencers have a sense of trust with their followers. But, for us, it’s also about the relationship between the brand and the dermatologist, and that’s an important thing we want to show,” Kornblum said. “We’ll work with an array of influencers, like an Avani Gregg or a Dude With Sign, but having the derm at the centre of our communications is the most important for us.”

Skincare is arguably one of TikTok’s most popular niches. However, dermatologists have increasingly wielded influence in the skin care space on platforms like TikTok. In just the past year, the hashtag #DermTok has skyrocketed from roughly 60 million views to more than 337 million, and a growing number of brands have begun tapping into the skin care doctors in this niche. It isn’t surprising seeing how expensive dermatologist consultations are and how now TikTok users can access some of this very expert information for free.

As a brand, nearly every video on Cerave’s TikTok features these expert influencers in some capacity, from those jumping on platform trends to CeraVe’s ongoing “Derm on the Street” video series, a play on the “on the street interview” format popular on TikTok. 

Both CeraVe’s move to start a TikTok account last year and its increased focus on dermatologist influencers are part of the brand’s efforts to maintain its positive connection with Gen Z consumers. In a recent survey of teens’ spending habits and brand preferences conducted by investment bank Piper Sandler, 41% of respondents cited CeraVe as their top skin care brand. The second-place skin care brand, The Ordinary, earned only 7% of the participants’ favour. 

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