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Case Study: Rebranding a Cosmetics Line

By: Aniko Hill
Posted: July 31, 2009, from the August 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

Although there are no rules on how often to update a brand or a perfect moment in a company’s growth for launching a rebrand, there are often signs that it’s time for a change. “Originally we looked for help when we started running into problems with parts of the brand identity and creating a cohesive description of the product line,” says Tate Holland, CEO, Makeup Designory (MUD). “We ultimately decided the best approach would be a cohesive study of the entire brand.”

Since branding is simply the public’s perception of a product or service, it is natural for a brand to change in time as the market or company evolves—or if the overall culture transforms. The decision-makers at MUD understood this concept before any work began. “A company is like a person—it has an infancy, a childhood,” says Holland. “As the entity grows and develops, there are natural things that are happening. One needs to be aware and incorporate the changes to grow at a steady pace.”

An Ownable Niche

MUD already had a solid business as a well-known makeup school and trusted cosmetics line within the professional makeup market when work on its rebrand first began. However, its presence in the general cosmetics marketplace had yet to be established. And the beauty marketplace was already flooded with brands—notably MAC, Smashbox, Lorac and Laura Mercier—that took an “expert” positioning. Because MUD was using similar messaging, it was time to take a different approach for the brand to stand out in the crowded marketplace.

The first step to rebranding was to analyze competitive messaging and trends in order to find areas of opportunity within the marketplace. It was found that, although many competitors took a professional approach to their brand positioning, none owned education. With MUD’s reputation as a prestigious makeup school, it was a natural area of opportunity.