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The Beauty of Strategy—Plan to Succeed

By: Sheri L. Koetting
Posted: November 9, 2012, from the January 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.
Infographic on MSLK's eight beauty strategy components

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With clearly defined customer profiles, information such as your customers' spending preferences and shopping patterns will emerge. Keep this in mind as you establish a distribution plan.

It is important to bring your distributors into the brand development conversation early on. Presenting them with clear and compelling information on why their customers are also your customers is crucial. Remember, in today's crowded market, every inch of space a retailer dedicates to your brand is space they must take away from another product. Give them a reason to choose you.

Direct and indirect sales online, as well as sales from other media, should be considered in the equation. During this stage you will certainly want your finance team to consider your market research and verify if you have a viable revenue model.

Product Concept

One of the ways to cut through the clutter and stand out to consumers and distributors is to have a clear product concept. Whether this is a key ingredient, a series of key ingredients, a new product form, a unique delivery system or clinical trials to prove the product's efficacy, these compelling stories can help you define your product’s point of difference in the market.

Mission and Position

With your customers, distribution and product concept clearly defined, you are well on your way to having a strong mission and position. Your mission statement will help solidify and clarify your distinct place and purpose in the market for every member of your team. Your positioning (in both written and chart form) will provide an overview of where you sit in the marketplace in relation to your competitors. Use this information as a guide for every decision your company makes.

Brand Architecture

Brand architecture helps put all of these strategies into a clear hierarchy. Brand architecture establishes how your product line(s) will be organized now and, potentially, in the future. Will you have multiple levels of product lines, such as prestige and mass, to target different distributors? Will your products be organized by ingredient story, key consumer benefits or by daily regimen?

These decisions affect your business structure, marketing approach and the consumer communication on your packaging itself. A designer can then use tools like color, imagery and typography to help bring clarity to your brand architecture.

Brand Tone

For some, brand tone is the genesis of their product line, while others may find that this is the most elusive component. Brand tone is one of the most critical aspects to identify before design and creative visualization begins. Brand tone determines the overall feeling customers will receive when they experience your brand in person or online. Will your brand be seen as "a clinical professional product that speaks with a tone of authority?" Or will you be seen as "a friendly and approachable brand, as gentle as nature intended?"

Many insights for finding a brand tone come from the personality of key stakeholders and spokespersons, as well as the brand positioning charts and brand architecture. Your brand tone should be naturally congruent with the brand's DNA.