It's All in the Delivery: A Case Study in Message Placement

  • For young, small brands with a unique point of view, getting the word out can be a challenge. GlamNatural found that by knowing its target market well, it could develop loyal inroads.
  • GlamNatural’s grassroots efforts focused on local tastemakers, turning its fans into brand advocates.
  • GlamNatural worked with hands-on beauty experts and influences—such as makeup artists and spa professionals—aligning the brand with and gaining buy in from professionals who helped advocate to consumers.
  • GlamNatural remains true and authentic to its values, further entrenching its loyal brand fans.

Have you ever watched a comedian on stage, engaging the audience with his best joke only to deliver a punch line to a crowd that just didn’t get it? What went wrong? Was something lost in translation?

It’s difficult to re-engage your audience once they have disengaged. While some performers are talented enough to pull the audience back in, most comedians will just fade away. Beauty brands are no different when it comes to delivering the punch line—or, as we marketers call it, the brand message.

If, in fact, you get only one shot at delivering the brand message, it’s prudent to consider what is the most effective way to tell the story of your brand. For makeup brand GlamNatural, it was imperative to select a vehicle that allowed sufficient time with its customers to educate and train them about the product while delivering its message.

The Brand Standards

GlamNatural is a green cosmetic company that produces and manufactures a healthy, high-performance alternative to chemically based makeup for women who enjoy being glamorous in a natural way. The goal of the company and its founders was to create a makeup line that holds itself to the highest possible standard for safety and performance. To do so, the company set aside standard industry formulation and instead decided to adhere to what it calls its BodySafe Promise.

To qualify as BodySafe, all products must be vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, formaldehyde- and paraben-free, phthalate-free, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and free of synthetic fragrances and dye. It also is PETA-approved and European Cosmetics Directive compliant.

Target Demographics

The eventual success of GlamNatural has been predicated upon first identifying the demographics that will be receptive to its message and then delivering that message through a platform that offers the opportunity to capture the attention and interest of the BodySafe, GlamNatural consumer—which is, ironically, more difficult than realizing the brand’s message to begin with.

Most consumers view natural cosmetics as low-performing makeup, while consumers that buy high-performance makeup often have little concern or knowledge about the ingredients on the label. It typically takes a large marketing budget to educate and change buying habits. A big sampling budget is also helpful.

However, when you don’t have either, what are your options?

Reaching Out

Grassroots marketing will most likely prevail. GlamNatural found local customers were more receptive to local companies. They are more inclined to sample products they might otherwise pass on. The company invited community opinion leaders to focus group sessions and asked for feedback on its product. GlamNatural also involved them on packaging decisions, product naming and special pricing opportunities. The company wanted these women to help mold that brand. As GlamNatural’s story began to evolve, it had a clearer direction on who is was—and, more importantly, who it wasn’t.

It was through this grassroots marketing method that the company learned how to train its customers to use its product. Take, for example, GlamNatural’s hydrating foundation. It’s concentrated, non-aqueous and only has six ingredients. Its patent-pending formula is unique from any other foundation on the market. Through website videos and personal training, GlamNatural educated its new customers on how to use it properly. This case is unique, because the application is just as unique as the formula itself: pump, rub, dab and blend.

Shortly after the success of that program, the company went on to develop broader outreach events. For example, GlamNatural’s team invited its focus group participants and their friends to a garden party held at a brand co-owner’s home, where they allowed the BodySafe educational exchange to happen organically. Local salon owners and makeup artists were also on the invite list. This social affair allowed everyone to meet the owners of the company, experience the GlamNatural brand, and to hear the buzz on that products first-hand.

GlamNatural continues this strategy today, often hosting events at local venues where it can create a social yet intimate environment that allows the opportunity to better communicate with its customers. The company also collaborates with other like-minded business owners in creating events that appeal to a collective clientele.

Spas and salons are viewed as experts in their industry for providing the best solutions for their clients. They also provide the perfect environment for that GlamNatural message to be received. This high-touch, service-oriented distribution channel was a natural path for the GlamNatural brand. The brand’s team sought out makeup artists (the experts) to identify women who were most likely to be open to the GlamNatural message, explain its philosophies, and advise customers on proper application, color and techniques.

Community Creation

From focus groups to garden parties, the core of the GlamNatural company continues to be tied to its community. As part of its cause marketing initiative, the company frequently supports and participates in local charity and benefit events, and often donates products and tours of its facility as auction items. Further, 10% of the company’s profits will be donated to causes that matter to its team members, including cancer research initiatives and building tranquil gardens at non-profit cancer support facilities for those undergoing cancer therapies.

As the brand continues to grow, GlamNatural can be found in spas and salons across the U.S. Looking ahead, the company is now focused on identifying distribution channels that bring meaningful scale yet don’t sacrifice the mission of the company. GlamNatural is currently negotiating partnerships with several larger distribution/retail channels, with home shopping channels being of particular interest. And, in fact, GlamNatural has recently received approval that it will be launching on QVC in November 2013. This avenue may provide an opportunity that allows GlamNatural to continue educating and training new customers by delivering its brand story to audiences across the world.

A Positive Experience

As the company crafts and hones its target cosmetic category—high-performance, BodySafe makeup—it is vital to the health of that brand that its innovative message is not only effectively delivered and that the audience receptive to the message, but that, as a result of proper education, women experience a positive trial.

As a company, GlamNatural’s goal is to maintain its BodySafe promise and provide outstanding service to ensure customer satisfaction. This has resulted in creating an experience that ultimately leads to the highest compliment paid to any product—brand loyalty.

Christine Vadala is the co-founder of GlamNatural, the nation’s first BodySafe brand of color cosmetics that brings health to women in a glamorous way. Established in 2011, this Akron, Ohio-based company is an independent, privately held company that manufactures and distributes its own branded products to spas, salons and online retailers across the United States, Canada, and launching in Europe in Q4 of 2013. [email protected];

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