Combined, the beauty and skincare industry is estimated to be a $532 billion dollar global industry, of which America makes up 20% of that market share (Forbes), and the skincare market making up a whopping 40%* of the overall beauty industry. With such a huge market, competition is fierce. There are hundreds of beauty and skincare brands available but only a handful of top brands lead the market.
The Importance of Branding in the Beauty Industry
While it is no easy feat to tap into this industry, for the few that do make it, there are a number of key elements that help them stand out from the crowd. Innovation, or keeping up with trends and the dynamic nature of the industry, is one of them. But many agree that the single most important element that differentiates beauty and skincare products is their branding. So, what does that mean?
It means that Consumer Packaged Goods, like items within the beauty and skincare industry, have a unique opportunity to capture their target audience both online and on the shelf. With increased opportunity in distribution chains, and high competition on all fronts, your brand strategy and messaging has to be well-defined, on target, and consistent. To help you get started with solid branding for your new beauty or skincare product line, we’ve combed through some of the best brand strategies for the beauty industry and compiled the key elements below.
Brand Strategy for the Beauty and Skincare Industry
Core elements of any brand strategy includes the who, what, where, and how of your brand messaging.
Creating Customer Avatars for the Beauty Industry: Who is your target audience?
Understanding the target audience for beauty or skincare products is essential to the foundation of your brand strategy. Without a thorough understanding of your audience, it will be difficult to properly position your brand or determine which avenues to market through. Start building your brand strategy by creating an audience persona, or customer avatar, that details who it is you’re trying to sell to. What is their name? What do they look like? What kind of job do they have? How much money do they make? What are their buying habits? Be as detailed as possible in this stage of strategy development.
Brand Messaging: What will resonate with them?
Brand Messaging is one of the most important elements of any brand. Your brand messaging encompasses your brand story and brand promise, telling your target audience who you are and why they should choose you over your competitors. The top beauty and skin care brands have a clear positioning and do not lose focus on what they are about, no matter how extensive their product line or reach is. Everything comes back to the same overarching goal. For example, the UK brand, Simple, has built their brand positioning on exactly what the brand name entails, simplicity. They stay clear of perfumes, colors and other additives, placing themselves as the go to brand for sensitive skin. Focused on their positioning and core target audience, they have remained committed to their proposition, even through great innovation, for over four decades.
Distribution Channels for the Beauty Industry: Where will you reach them?
Once you understand who your target audience is and what messaging will resonate with them, it’s time to move onto where you will reach them. Going back to your customer avatars, if you know that your target buyer is a college aged female that spends hours a day on Instagram, it’s likely that social media and online e-commerce will be a part of your distribution strategy. If you know that your target buyer is a new mom that shops at Target, it’s likely that you will try to get your product in Target on an endcap near the baby aisle.
Distribution strategies, like everything in the beauty arena, change and adapt to the needs of consumers, so not only is it important to consider the brand’s current strategy but the growing needs of the consumer and your ability to adapt. Think of Avon – their strategy was based on a direct selling approach.You’ve probably heard of the Avon lady at least once in your life! These individuals are Avon sales reps that sell to their friends and acquaintances. This direct selling, multi-level marketing strategy worked for them for over a century, but in true cosmetic industry form, the company has innovated its distribution strategy and recently decided to start selling products in major department stores as of 2021.
Visual Elements of Beauty and Skincare Brands: How will you get their attention?
The How of your brand strategy really ties the other three elements together. After understanding who your audience is, where they shop, and the messaging that resonates with them, it’s time to move to the next step which is figuring out how you grab their attention in a sea full of competition.
Beauty and cosmetics, more so than many other industries, are highly dependent on the visual aspect of the brand and products. Since it is likely the consumer will see your product before they read anything on it, creating visual elements that resonate with your audience is just as important, if not more important, than the messaging behind it all.
It is essential that your logo, typography, color palette, and imagery all match, and further, your brand’s messaging. If you want to be known as a brand that college students wear to party, it’s likely that your brand’s visual elements will be vibrant and young. If you want to be known as a brand that is associated with professionals, the visuals are likely to be more muted and mature.
As a beauty or skincare brand, you have multiple opportunities to showcase the elements of your brand. Depending on your distribution strategy you may have the need for product packaging, signage, flyers, social media posts and ads, a website, business cards, the list goes on. Remaining consistent and focused on your brand strategy will increase brand recognition and customer loyalty.
Have questions about branding your skincare or beauty line? Reach out to Summit Collaborations for a free consultation.
Written by: Ashlee Campbell, Founder of Summit Collaborations, and Sarah Henneman, Project Marketing Manager at Summit Collaborations
*Cosmetics Industry Statistics and Facts published by M.Shahbandeh, Jan 22 2020