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The Hit List

By: Alisa Marie Beyer
Posted: May 4, 2011, from the May 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Getting a handle on this vast pool of information may seem daunting or even impossible, but by starting with a clear and focused idea, you will be able to target exactly what intelligence will be most beneficial to your new beauty business and tailor all research efforts in support of this goal.

Step #3: Point Out the Difference

Having a point of difference is important from a product standpoint, but what about from a business standpoint? How will your beauty business be different from the Estées, Almays and Cover Girls of the world? When it comes to points of difference, how and where you decide to stake your claim will have a direct impact on every aspect of your business: profits, innovation, development, growth, creativity and even success. Think both creatively and strategically about how you will both craft this difference and how you will share it with your consumer—for which you have more options than ever: packaging copy, editorials and most notably, your online presence. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are great vehicles to help carve out this difference and maintain it with an incredibly diverse and ever-expanding audience. Without a clearly defined point of difference, your new beauty business will never make the splash it needs to capture market share and to keep it.

Step #4: De-code Your DNA

To know your business’s point of difference is to capture the very essence and DNA of your company. If you stand for technologically advanced beauty, then own that category and own it like no other brand taking up shelf space at Sephora or Ulta. Tailor all messaging, product development and packaging to reflect this aesthetic so that when consumers see anything connected to your brand, they instantly know it is you. Importantly, once you establish your point of difference and enter the market, you must maintain it.

Establish and leverage your point of difference to foster a positive association with this difference and your brand. A great example is Bare Escentuals’ “Swirl, Tap, Buff” point of difference. It could not be co-opted because it is so well established that consumers will think of Bare Escentuals regardless of another company using a similar point of difference.

Also, there exists the very real potential that you will lose consumers if you are not true and continually change what you stand for in-market. The target consumers for your technologically advanced beauty brand, for example, will likely not find or connect to your brand if you don’t fully establish or veer from a technology point of difference and, instead, tout 100% green, sustainable, vegan beauty. If you stray into messaging that doesn’t support why you are different in the marketplace, and why they should both believe in and be loyal to your brand, they won’t be.

Step #5: Innovate and Innovate Some More