Competitor + Brand Audits
Consumer + Market Research
Brand Value Proposition
Production + Vendor Management
UI + UX Design
Social Media Campaigns
Catalogs + Brochures
Educational Video Content
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A beauty brand’s essence is the overall feeling a customer experiences when encountering a business and product offering. Beauty Branding is what your company does to mold and shape consumers’ perceptions. When our beauty branding agency researches with consumers, they talk about the colors, shapes, symbols, and words a brand uses. At MSLK, we believe that these assets are the fundamental tools of a beauty branding agency. These tools influence consumer consciousness and build a cohesive story in the hearts and minds of your audience. The type of colors, shapes, symbols, and words used for beauty branding are as important as how you use them. Consistent beauty branding and a strong identity help to build trust and loyalty among your customers.
When beauty branding, how does a marketer determine what story to build around themselves?
The answer starts with brand positioning and ends with objectively evaluating the brand values and stories communicated visually versus verbally. Visuals can do a lot of heavy lifting, conveying properties faster than words. For example, if you must use words to convey that you are offering a “luxury” product, you are going about this process all wrong. The visuals in beauty branding can and should speak volumes. When it comes time to activate the words we use, our beauty branding agency relies on them to tell aspects of the brand that visuals alone cannot convey.
Beauty branding is born by determining what unique positioning and offering you have in the market. A unique brand positioning, or Brand Value Proposition, emerges from the distillation of a brand audit, competitive audit, and consumer research.
BRAND AUDIT— During a brand audit a beauty branding agency looks at what you do better than anyone else. What is unique in your Beauty Branding DNA that drives you to create products? How can we refine that story to capture market white space as well as the hearts and minds of consumers?
COMPETITIVE AUDIT— When it comes to competition, our beauty branding agency studies the beauty branding market to learn the alternatives that consumers are using currently and where is there is whitespace or a gap between consumers’ desires and the current market offerings. We also consider what has become the industry standard that we need to offer in order to be at parity among the competition.
ORGANIC SEO AUDIT — Because of the recent growth in beauty branding online, we take a digital first approach by evaluating the unbranded words consumers use when searching for products and services like yours. These words in consumers’ own natural language give us insights into their desires, terminology, and behaviors online. These “words to use and words to lose” truly shape a brand’s positioning strategy.
TARGET AUDIENCE PROFILES — When considering the audience you will be targeting with your beauty branding agency, it is important to document the core values, behaviors, and benefits your products will bring into your audience’s lives. Consumer values should be used to identify the visual and verbal storytelling, product offering, social and sales channels used in beauty branding. Consumers look to beauty brands to connect them with a community of like-minded peers. An effective beauty branding agency can unite diverse audiences around these shared values.
STORYTELLING — Great beauty branding begins with stories. Consumers believe in people and shared values; storytelling that builds a narrative around those two components can create something that makes your brand stand for something special and worth supporting. The key to a great story is make sure that it captures your unique Brand Value Proposition, uses the language and vocabulary of your customers, and is ‘sticky’ — aka easy to remember and pass on by word-of-mouth. This last point is crucial as adoption of your beauty branding requires that your sales teams, retailers, stylists, artists, and consumers can recall your brand story and pass it on again and again. Without that traction, the words you use in your storytelling will never become the essence of your brand. Our beauty branding agency is renowned for crafting salient and sticky beauty branding stories that express exactly what your brand does, who you serve, and the value you bring.
BRAND ARCHITECTURE — The product assortment and organization of the products you offer should reflect your beauty branding objectives in a way that is appealing to your target audience. What are the gateway products that new users try when learning about your brand for the first time? Make sure that the positioning and solutions these products offer appeal to your audiences’ unmet needs. Then develop products creating regimens around that. Consider trends in ingredients, delivery methods, price points, and packaging during the beauty branding process. Brand architecture is a crucial step in ensuring that your line is easy for consumers and retail buyers to shop while also ensuring you have no weak products in the line-up or have left out any potential line extensions.
DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS — Where your products are available for purchase is as important as the product assortment itself. Today’s beauty branding consumer is shopping across all channels and a savvy beauty brand agency knows how to develop product and consumer demand to support all channels. Certain products do better than others in different channels due to the mindset and values of the target audience shopping there. For example, the product offering, positioning, and pricing bundles for products prepared for a shopper at Whole Foods might look different from the assortment at Ulta Beauty. This does not mean big changes to your beauty branding, but small moves that still uphold your brand architecture could make a big difference.
NAMING AND BRAND VOICE — What’s in a name? All beauty branding user journeys online begin with words. Every Google search, Facebook group, Instagram feed, etc. is powered by words. On e-commerce shop landing pages, some brand and product names do a better job than others at compelling users to click and discover more. The beauty branding name and product name are critical and can be the difference between getting a click-through or not.
Brand Voice is often overlooked when it comes to the beauty branding process. However, the voice is the language behind your beauty brand which you use to communicate to consumers, even in the slightest of ways. Language across packaging and design can and should be so subtle that it goes mostly unnoticed but has the potential to make the strongest impression. The voice used in beauty branding is essential to establishing your identity, point of difference, value, and proposition.
LOGOS AND WORDMARKS — When it comes to logo design, a logo, symbol, or icon should be a visual representation of your brand – elaborating on the essence of your beauty branding and what it cannot convey with words alone. Though not all brands are required to have a logo or icon, these are best utilized as a shortcut representation of your brand that transcends words or language. These icons accrue meaning with every application until they can stand alone without words as the essence of your beauty brand.
Building up equity in a logo takes time and repetition before it has meaning on its own. Until then dragging around a logo and a wordmark in marketing collateral takes up valuable real estate, especially on small beauty branding packages. Our beauty branding agency’s modern approach to beauty branding is to use a wordmark. Also called logotype, a wordmark is a distinctive typographic treatment associated with a brand. When selecting a typeface, your creative team should consider the feeling and voice you wish to invoke – whether that is formal, cheerful, timeless, etc.
Think for a moment about the unique differences in beauty branding between shopping online and shopping at retail. At retail, consumers’ eyes scan the shelves in milliseconds. Colors and shapes are used to draw consumers in from across the aisle. Up close, the imagery and symbolism on the front of the package, such as a curl icon or a water droplet, help consumers select what is right for them. You never get a second chance to make a first impression with consumers, and for this reason, it is critical to select the right beauty branding agency to help your brand stand apart from the crowd while conveying some of our core brand values.
Words don’t become meaningful until a consumer touches the package, likely picking up to read the product name or key benefits. QR codes on the labeling of the packaging can help consumers dig further into the beauty branding story and receive the information that may not fit on the packaging.
Online browsing is slightly different. As we mentioned earlier, all beauty branding journeys online begin with words. However, the same colors, shapes and symbols that aid beauty branding at retail come into play helping a consumer quickly identify if they have interacted with this brand before. Online, our packages are reduced in size and scale. Therefore, the visual beauty branding tools we use must be bold and pronounced even when reduced to a small size, such as the thumbnail image on a product landing page.
Online, the colors, shapes, symbols, and words that were not able to be conveyed in your product assortment, logo, or packaging alone, all join to create a digital extension of your beauty branding. Consumers today are looking for more reassurance, romance, and storytelling online; they yearn for sensorial experiences. Cue an award-winning beauty branding agency.
WEBSITE E-COMMERCE — Online users are clicking less and scrolling more. 100% of all your customers online will interact with your product pages; therefore we ensure that all beauty branding elements are on those key pages. “Standard” product pages featuring a product image, basic copy, and buy box are simply not robust enough to provide the beauty branding content and features new audiences need to inspire purchase. Online, consumers yearn for content that provides education, trust, and intrigue. Ensuring that your beauty branding touches upon all three of these areas not only removes barriers to purchase, but it can also build white space for your beauty branding among the competition.
DIGITAL MARKETING — Beauty branding on the appropriate digital channels helps brands connect with current and prospective customers. It is imperative to take the margins previously allocated to retail markups and invest that in beauty branding online to form digital pathways drawing your unaware target audience and lapsed users to purchase. A team that understands each platform as well as your audience and their behavior online is critical. Behaviors and audiences do vary from platform to platform. For example, the needs of users browsing on social differs from those on Google actively searching and shopping. Browsing users require trust in beauty branding plus a discount to inspire them to make an initial purchase.
In conclusion, the essence of beauty branding is a living, ever evolving set of tools. Too often, the creative process is subjective. Each media a brand enters requires a new set of objective evaluation criteria to guide creativity. A beauty branding agency with knowledge of your Brand Value Proposition and target audiences, as well as the specific needs and environment within each media, is an invaluable partner. MSLK strives to be the beauty branding agency and partners our brands seek. Beauty branding is both an art and a science. We use style + substance to brand beauty with brains.