Brand Stories and Why your’s might benefit from one.
This working week has been fun with lots of interesting customers and projects flying in and out. But the one that has really got me scratching my noggin and reaching out for help has been with regards to brand positioning.
Now you may wonder what a chemist is doing delving into the marketing arena and I can understand that but can also assure you that this is how we do it at RBHQ. Every product tells a story (whether you know it or not) and our job is to bring the threads of that story together first through chemistry (so that we have an actual product to talk about) and then through the words that we use to describe that creation – on the label, website, social media, sales pitches, whatever.
Here is why that is so important to you, me and them.
Remember back to the day when you went to the store to buy a bar of soap and came back with a bar of soap?
The day when your choice of soap stretched maybe to three brands if you were lucky?
It wasn’t that only three companies in the world made soap, more that your average retailer couldn’t justify stocking more than three varieties as that was enough choice for anyone.
You could replicate that across many a consumer product either for the same reasons above or because other options didn’t exist (for the average person):
Ford cars – have any colour as long as it is black.
Mortgages – Hello friendly local bank manager
Milk – Bottled or milk-your-own.
But things have changed.
Now you can find whole retail outlets selling just cosmetics, cosmetics that come in from all over the world, in all shapes, sizes, smells and textures and that has been a game changer.
This gluttony of choice has not put people off launching new brands and neither should it, there is always a gap in the market for something truly worthy and of course all of you who put your money where your mouth is have that something.
Todays market is full of products that have exotic feature ingredients, are ‘free from this, that or the other’, are 100% natural, are organic, are fair trade, are sustainable, contain ‘actives at levels that really work’, are hand-made, good for dry, greasy or damaged skin, are very cheap/ expensive/ affordable, celebrity endorsed, high performance, multi-functional, fashion conscious, edible, are specially formulated for men/ women/ children/ babies/ your baby.
So what do you do?
You dig a bit deeper, think a bit harder, imagine a bit more imaginatively and you get creative.
Ask yourself the usual suspects of questions. For example I want to create a range of organic hand creams. What next?
- What does the term ‘organic’ mean to me/ my audience?
- Why does organic matter to me or my audience in relation to a hand cream?
- When will I / my audience need an organic hand cream?
- How should it feel/ smell/ look?
- Where will I / my audience look to purchase this type of product?
- Where will I / my audience keep this organic hand cream once I’ve bought it?
- How will I / my audience use it – all around the house or garden or should it be for special occasions or night only?
- How will I connect with my audience to sell this product?
- Why will they choose this over the competition?
In reality these questions haven’t changed since the days when the very first tub of hand cream was created for mass retail. The difference lies in the depth and multi-dimensional approach that is required behind the story to get it to ‘stick’ and resonate plus the potential reach that todays cosmetic brand can have.
That depth is where your story comes in. To answer the question as to why that story has to be so deep and complex and multi-dimensional, we have to look to the internet!
Most of us are leading double lives – the online you and me and the offline you and me. This means that for at least part of each day I live in a world that I have created, surrounded by people (who can be from all over the world), images and words that validate who I am, what I like and where I want to go. This didn’t happen 20 years ago let alone 50 or so and this is powerful.
This virtual life has been the real catalyst for change in terms of how we think about brand marketing and how that translates in terms of creating a successful brand. It is this online life that has helped to break the cosmetics into a thousand different niches, to give those niches identities and to furnish them with information that validates their position.
Think of how much more fractionated and less personally impacting the ‘free from’ market would be if we couldn’t sit at home and google ‘nasty chemicals’ all night?
Time spent online sees us immersed into a world of our creation where we can be who we want to be and feed ourselves on a diet of our choosing. We pull media, advertising and marketing towards us by creating our own virtual energetic whirlpool if you like. We set the direction and information is attracted to it.
This is called something like ‘pull vs push’ marketing but these days the people doing the pulling are the customers!
In order to make sure your target audience pulls you in you need to know them. REALLY know them.
You have to know where they go to research, to have fun, to share information and opinions, to kill time. You need to know what they value, what they aspire to become, what they are planning.
Why again? Because while the world does seem awfully small these days I can assure you that when it comes to people and target audiences, thanks to the internet we are no longer all living on the same planet all of the time.
Knowing your target markets life map gives you the opportunity to get sucked into their planetary orbit and that is exactly what you want.
Putting all of this together for your brand isn’t easy and it is a rare brand owner that can do it alone.
So what do we do?
At Realize Beauty we help brands that want to feature their chemistry as part of that brand story because that is what we know best. Chemical literacy and using that to positively engage an audience and develop a story is a powerful tool and one which allows you to get your point across without falling into traps of greenwashing, false promises, negative marketing, assumption or poor performance. Of course chemical story telling isn’t everything and we show you where the chemistry fits in the ‘grand scheme of things’, how to ensure that the ingredients that you have selected work for you not against you and what to focus on when it comes to that all important sales pitch.
And what should you do?
The most important thing that you can do is to step back from your brand (potential or actual) and get really honest with yourself. Go through the questions above and really think about where you stand. Being honest about what you can and can’t do, what you know and don’t know and what you want and don’t want for your brand is the best place to start. From there we can get to work.
So, let’s get to work. I can’t wait to hear your story.