Both new to the market and well-established brands have to stay on top of their brand image, while also keeping a finger on the pulse of their customers. The Branded Creative Group’s Sasha Dominguez offered MODERN SALON some advice for how beauty lines can distinguish themselves in a crowded playing field.
MS: First, please give us a snapshot of your agency and its principals.
SD: Branded Creative Group is a boutique branding agency that specializes in working with professional beauty brands. We are beauty branding experts and our craft is brandmaking.
We are a partner first, agency second and we approach every business as if it were our own. BCG is a mix of business savvy and creativity. We thrive on problem solving and thinking creatively to make sure a brand leaves a lasting impression and its mark in the world. We are passionate about all things beauty and it comes through in our esthetic.
Our services cater to brands both big and start up because we enjoy working with brands at all levels on branding, consulting, design, CGI product rendering, website design and development and media planning and public relations. We help build the foundation for brands to succeed.
MS: When you review a brand and its current marketing/branding efforts, what are the things you look at, first?
SD: We start by understanding the business objectives in order to determine if the efforts are effective. We then begin a full brand assessment to better understand where the brand is currently, what’s working and what’s not. Next, we analyze the positioning. A brand’s position is what determines how it’s branded and marketed. Based on this assessment, we determine what the next steps are for the brand.
MS: How do you suggest a brand go about defining their message?
SD: The key is to make sure your message resonates and is memorable. There’s a lot more that goes into messaging than just a cool tagline. Crafting a brand message is part of the creative process and is what makes potential customers relate to your brand. Your message should first and foremost be clear, then inspire, motivate, encourage and ultimately persuade them to purchase your product. Product positioning, features, benefits, value proposition, audience, and tone are just a few points that need to be taken into consideration. Together, these touch points combine to create a full messaging outline that can guide your marketing across all assets and channels.
MS: What are a few common missteps you see emerging brands make, frequently?
SD: There are a few that I see coming up, again and again. Good branding attracts target customers to your brand, but a good product is what keeps them coming back. Make sure your product meets the need and surpasses expectations. This will assure your brand is successful.
Some young brands don’t think about what comes next. Once the brand is launched you need to follow that up with a good dynamic marketing plan and continue to invest in your brand so that it continues to grow.
Lead with your ‘why.’ The ‘why’ explains the reason your brand exists and why its purpose.
MS: And more established brands? What pitfalls do you see them stepping into?
SD: This is a great question. The way we do business today will be different than one year from now. Trends shift, technology advances, the economy changes and most importantly customers evolve. Brands need to adapt to change and evolve along with their costumer in order to stay relevant and top of mind.
MS: In a crowded marketplace, how do you help brands set themselves apart?
SD: You need to have a point of difference. There is room for everyone, brands can have similar product offerings but there has to be something that is yours and makes your brand unique. Much like a fingerprint, each brand is unique and that uniqueness needs to be highlighted through branding. It can be your ingredients, your story, the technology behind your product, packaging or just your overall look and feel.
MS: Along that same line, with so many mergers and acquisitions, how can brands retain their unique DNA?
SD: Have a purpose behind what you do and how you do it. Stay true to your brand. The beauty business is vast and of course, a business, however potential customers don’t need to feel that. They need to be able to connect with your brand.