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.