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You Get The Audience You Fish For

February 28, 2014

OK so during one of my meetings this week we discussed brand communications.  The question was raised over whether this particular brand should make more of a story out of their ingredients than they are currently and my answer was a resounding no.

In my line of work and with my personal interest it can become tempting to believe that everyone scrutinises cosmetic labels and will jump all over products that contain anything remotely ‘chemical’ but that isn’t true.  If we go outside and observe what is going into the trolleys, baskets and handbags of shoppers we see that the big brands are still doing what they have been doing for years (albeit a little smarter) and the average man or woman on the street is primarily concerned about  ‘what is in it for me’  (with a serve side of social conscience).  While it is true that the minority group of label reading public is growing and that their concerns and motivators are permeating through and influencing the masses it remains s a huge leap to say that these days EVERYONE reads labels.

In the world of cosmetic marketing you get what you give, you hold the bait.  I imagine that this is the case for any market really but my experience is purely cosmetic.

Owning and working this fact is key to brand success.  You as the brand owner have to understand who you are and what you are fishing for so that you can pick the right spot and real them in.

Too many fishing analogies……

Anyway, the long and the short of it is this, you only need one story to sell a brand – one angle, one focal point.  Have more than one and you lose focus.   Here are some examples:

  • Always home-made/ Hand made.
  • Ingredient focused (say Jojoba Oil, Argan OIl, Cranberry, Carrot etc).
  • Attitude – Rebellion/ fun/ results.
  • Authority – Doctor/ dermatologist/ model/ Healthcare advocate.
  • Issue Driven – Fair trade/ charity etc.
  • Lifestyle – Luxury/ Natural/ Beach / Sports.

I am sure you can think of more.

When  you sit down and devise your brand make sure that you identify your thing – your quintessence / x-factor / focal point / mission. Then go out and do that thing to the very best of your ability. Put all of your focus there – FOCUS being the key word.

But people still come to me and say ‘so if I am a brand focused on beach culture and fun can I really just use any old chemicals?  What about the fact that the doctor said that this is great and that you can buy my products at the dermatologists?  I want to say ALL OF THE ABOVE?’

and to a point you can.

There has to be some depth and honesty behind the X Factor to keep you interested and your brand authentic and well supported.  In short you have to go with what you believe and if that is al of the above that is fine BUT remember this, most of your clients are going to want you for your X-Factor and that is all.  It isn’t that they don’t care about the rest, it is more a case that they are busy and are not looking for it.  Don’t crowed out or over-complicate your x factor by bringing up all these other issues. Also remember that there are only so many hours in a day and so much energy in your tank, that is why we need a target to aim for, somewhere to focus.

I love a bit of archery and I can tell you that while the key to hitting the centre of the target is focusing on it, blanking out the rest of the world would be very dangerous – our periferal vision is very helpful, it keeps us safe, grounded, connected and real but shouldn’t detract from the goal.


So, the fact that not everyone reads labels or cares about chemicals is important.  If you suspect that is your audience be careful about over-investing in expensive ‘story teller’ ingredients.  BUT if you believe that the world is better when it is green then use green ingredients anyway.  When some of your customers turn the pack and realise it is all beautiful and lovely they will be pleasantly surprised and may fall in love with you just that little bit more.

My customer has done really well at creating an inspiring and exciting brand without focusing too much attention on what the products are made of. That said the formulations are all naturally focused and free from the google hit list of ‘nasties’ which means they can tick that box and put their focus and cash into being awesome elsewhere.

My question to you is what are you fishing for?

If you are not sure it might be time for a chat….

Amanda x

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