Putting the spark back into your consumer connection

Anyone who has spent any time in the beauty industry, or fashion retail for that matter, will know that it’s full of contradictions. In the same month, we are overrun with headlines and hot takes on the rise of natural beauty and no-make-up-make-up, HD beauty products continue to fly off the shelves. New brands emerge with startling speed, either with the help of big backers or social standout – each serving up product and purpose to a different part of this loyal/fickle, HD/low maintenance, adventurous/classic set of consumers.

So, where does this leave the grandes dames of the industry? Those once-powerhouse brands that have weathered the trends and the trials of decades. In our experience, it leaves them taking a long look in the mirror and asking, “is it (once again) time for a change?”

Maintaining your place on the shelf, on the dressing table, or rolling around the bottom of every handbag, is as much to do with positioning as it is NPD. And if you’re starting to see the cracks – declining sales, drifting shelf placement in store, even disinterest from the beauty press – it’s time to start the conversation. “Where is this going?”

Take a look at our relationship advice for brands feeling the strain in their consumer relationships.

When you hear the inevitable “It’s not you, it’s me…”

For years, consumers had a handful of brands and product choices to work with, and through careful compromises and mini hacks, they made them work. That’s simply no longer the case. Whatever our beauty buyer’s heart desires, it’s out there. Not always from a brand they know or expect. But it’s somewhere. Rather than try to be all things to all people, ask yourself these three questions: 1) What does our ideal consumer want? 2) What do they expect from us? And 3) What can we deliver brilliantly?

If the three answers are very different, that’s a good place to start. What have you been doing (or not doing lately) that has made consumers lose faith in your ability to meet their needs? What do you need to do to prove to your consumers that you can add more than they expected? What will you have to do to prove that your solution is worth their time?

“We used to be so good together…”

This is a tough one. The question of brand legacy can be tricky both externally and internally. It takes courage to ruffle the feathers of your remaining brand fans and internal brand stakeholders – both of whom can be averse to change. One way Keel help brands navigate this is by taking the time to look at the core truths of the business, the values or beliefs, and key elements of the brand and really interrogate which pieces still have a place going forward. A brand repositioning or rethink doesn’t have to mean throwing out everything that came before. Oftentimes, the way forward through a brand transformation can be made clearer when you have some foundation to build from. It might be anything from the brand purpose to a key strength of the business, but creating some connection to the brand’s history can create stronger resonance and highlight the business’ openness to change.

“It feels like you’re not trying anymore…”

This one can hurt. It’s never easy facing up to the fact you’ve fallen into a rut. If your consumers are having their heads turned by shiny new options, it’s time to take stock. When was the last time you examined your brand guidelines? Has the love fallen out of your communications? Are your templates more 2002 than 2020? Are you all about the promo and the hard sell these days? Giving your brand a spruce up and adding the sparkle back into your tone of voice is a great way to give your brand a boost and remind consumers that you care. And serving up some fabulous content that adds value is a great reminder that you’re in it to win hearts, not just wallets.

Building a brilliant beauty brand experience that demonstrates to your target audience that you are a relevant and exciting choice for them isn’t rocket science, but it does take a bit of care, a bit of charm and some good old-fashioned communication. Talk to us about your beauty and retail brand and content challenges, or take advantage of our limited edition Beauty Pop-up Power Hour. The Beauty Pop-up Power Hour is a bespoke workshop session to tackle a particular brand or content issue you’re facing. Zoom or IRL, our team will work with you to get to practical steps to help you navigate your challenge.

Amanda Roberts

Office and Finance Manager

Amanda is an experienced Office and Finance Manager with a track record of keeping the content, design and marketing industry ticking.

She ensures that we deliver our projects on time and on budget, and that we’re all having a lovely time while we’re at it! 


Resident Pooch

Leya is our resident Spanish Water Dog. Friendly, loyal, with a routine you could set your watch to, she embodies so many of the values we hold dear.

But more than anything, she inspires us to be good.

That’s why if you click the doggy link below and make a donation to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, whatever you pledge, we’ll take off your eventual bill when you work with us.

Handan Erek


Handan has been in creative content production for over ten years, working with household name clients across multiple industries. 

She is a master at creating communication channels between the creative team, clients services and stakeholders. She cares deeply about understanding our clients’ needs, producing user-centred content and achieving optimal creativity and profitability in every project. 

Harps Bhopal

Senior Account Director

Harps has over 20 years of communications experience spanning across advertising and brand development.

He’s worked in many industry sectors that include automotive, healthcare, tech and financial services. He brings a sign of reassurance to clients through explaining the various stages of a project and builds their trust and confidences.

Jamie Stanley

Head of Content

Jamie is an imaginative brand storyteller with a decade of experience working with some of the world’s fastest-growing brands.

He has played a key role in generating engagement, audience and revenue growth for household names and emerging startups alike. His approach blends penetrative, eye-catching copy and content with smart, scalable process for maximum impact and sustainable success.

Jonathan Crawford

Creative Director

Jonathan has spent the last twenty years working for a variety of advertising agencies and digital marketing companies in the UK, Europe and most recently South East Asia. 

His expertise lies in brand strategy, campaign development and conceptual copywriting, proven by the several international creative awards under his belt.

Lara Caspersonn

Account Executive

Lara’s extensive background in influencer talent management and digital collaboration make her perfectly suited to building strong relationships with our clients.

A trained anthropologist, her deep understanding of human behaviour and cultural patterns are invaluable in helping the Keel team help modern brands communicate with their audiences.

Vicky Plum

Graphic Designer

Vicky has a great passion for branding in both traditional and digital media.

She has a huge amount of enthusiasm and understanding of the visual language of our audience. Her passion for film, website design and animation as well as experience in Photoshop, Indesign and Premiere make her a key team member for creative and design needs.

Chris Hart

Creative Director

Chris is a real creative all-rounder, with over 20 years of experience transforming brands all around the world.

He has a history of thinking his way around business problems, through visual and creative solutions that really bring brand experiences to life. He’s awarded at Cannes and D&AD, and adds a wealth of knowledge across all media and brand sectors.

Stephen Bass

Design Director

Stephen is a designer with 25 years of brand design and implementation experience.

He came to Keel from Interbrand NYC and worked with Keith on the Volvo global identity in 2002. He has a keen interest in helping clients understand the design process and why we’ve made the decisions we have, bringing as much objectivity to the process
as possible.

Jonathan Jewell

Creative Lead

Jonathan’s 30 year career since then has taken him all over the world, living and working in LA, Atlanta, Nairobi and London.

In that time he’s developed a wide range of skill sets beyond just design and has managed large campaigns with multiple channels where the ability to direct shoots, photography as well as implement a creative vision across multiple assets is key.

Keith Crook

CEO + Executive Creative Director

Keith is our strongest advocate for brand and communications working together.

He excels at strategic thinking, concept origination and art direction. His experience spans UK tech and finance start-ups through to global brand development for brands such as Visa and Volvo Cars – where he was the global brand creative director.