Cannabidiol use is booming, and brands that can reach the “CBD curious” audience are in the best position to profit. Let’s take a closer look at how your CBD branding can appeal to new consumers.
As seen with many markets that were once of questionable legality, CBD brands must convert skeptical or ill-informed consumers in order to flourish. While many of these consumers are “CBD curious,” they often need a push to fully commit. That push comes in the form of highly persuasive CBD branding and advertising that still plays by today’s CBD marketing rules.
Let’s review some of the most crucial things to know when designing a CBD marketing campaign designed to hit all the right notes with new audiences.
Task Number One: Develop Proper Branding and Product Design
Because CBD is an emerging product in a once-illegal market, there is still a lot of misinformation circulating among the public. Some consumers mistakenly believe CBD is intoxicating; others believe it has no established medical value, and some can’t distinguish it from cannabis.
Smart CBD branding and CBD packaging can help minimize such confusion. Brands, in many cases, will want to avoid any branding or package elements that tie in too closely with the cliched “420” culture elements so often seen with cannabis branding. Instead, it’s often a better idea to opt for a more refined aesthetic. Use neutral and elevated packaging designs and position your brand not as something to be enjoyed, but rather something that helps you feel better.
Task Number Two: Position Your CBD Product as a Tool for Self-Care and Optimization
Do you know what’s even more popular than CBD products right now? The concepts of self-care and optimization. Consumers are feverishly trying to optimize their sleep, diets and workouts and using products to help relax and take better care of their bodies. It’s a multi-billion dollar business.
Fortunately, these concepts dovetail perfectly with CBD products. Smart marketers should emphasize the ways by which their CBD products can help new consumers. These include:
Optimize their sleep by reducing insomnia
Optimize performance and facilitate self-care through the reduction of anxiety
Improve their appearance by using CBD-enriched skin care products
These are merely three examples of the myriad ways CBD branding and marketing can highlight and surface the optimization and self-care properties of products within the space.
Task Three: Reassure New Consumers With Regard to Legality
Remember how we discussed the misinformation floating in the air with regard to CBD products? Many consumers still believe that CBD is illegal, and that belief persists because of a confusing patchwork of statewide regulations governing the sale of CBD products.
Most consumers won’t give a new product a chance unless they are convinced that it’s legal. While state regulations regarding commercial use may vary, CBD has been legal to manufacture on a federal level since 2018. Your marketing should help clear up any lingering confusion for new consumers.
Task Four: Convince New Consumers it isn’t an Empty Trend
When something attains the cultural status of “gluten-free” or “zero carb,” pushback is inevitable. Consumers who aren’t participating in the newest trends will often dismiss them as being driven by a herd mentality — or they will have doubts about the underlying value of the products that are generating such immense consumer interest.
CBD marketers should anticipate this and answer these doubts with the most compelling thing in their arsenal: Proven research that establishes the value of CBD in a clinical setting. While the average person may not feel many benefits from eliminating gluten, CBD products have a near-universal range of benefits and applications. By focusing on the data that attests to the efficacy of the product — and mixing in real-world anecdotal examples — CBD branding and marketing pros can overcome the natural skepticism that accompanies new products and intensely popular products.
Why Work With Bigeye?
At Bigeye, we have more expertise and experience with the CBD industry than any agency that is remotely close to our size. We’ve been at the forefront of this emerging trend, and we can use our experience to help you create CBD branding and marketing that connects with new consumers.
An apartment complex rebrand is certainly nothing to be taken lightly. If you choose to do it, make sure that you do it right by choosing a rebrand apartment marketing company that adheres to these guidelines.
The Benefits of a Well Timed and Executed Rebrand
No matter how much time and energy you put into the creation of your initial multifamily residential brand, there will inevitably come a time when it no longer delivers the desired results. As times, audiences, and marketplaces continue to evolve and change, brands must generally keep pace or place themselves at risk being left behind.
As reported on the digital publication of Entrepreneur Magazine, successful organizations generally tend to retool their brand and corporate identities once every 7 to 12 years. Although rebranding is a risky venture that requires abandoning all of the brand equity that you have previously accumulated, the value of an effective rebrand simply cannot be underestimated.
Entrepreneur highlights McDonald’s, Apple, Pepsi, Shell, and Twix, as just a few examples of brands that have benefited greatly from one or more comprehensive overhauls. But, of course, your company’s chances of a successful rebrand has everything to do with your reasons for beginning the rebranding process in the first place.
Key Occasions for a Rebrand
In addition to simply falling out of step with the times, companies may want to consider a rebrand during periods of transition or to improve their general position in the marketplace. Here are just a few situations that may require a multifamily residential business to rebrand apartments.
Capital Improvements – A remodel of your apartment complex may necessitate a similar remodel of your apartment complex brand.
New Ownership – Anyone who acquires a new apartment property will want to consider rebranding that property in order to bring it in line with your core values and image as well as any other properties that you already own.
Damage Control – If the online reviews and/or general public reputation of your apartment complex are poor, you may be able to start anew with an effective company rebrand.
Elements to Consider When Rebranding
One you have decided to rebrand, you shouldn’t shy away from dramatic change or opt for lukewarm half measures. Here are just a few tips that can separate a smooth and effective rebrand from one that ends in disaster:
Tailor Your Rebrand to Your Target Audience – Conduct in-depth research to gain accurate information about local demographics and typical rental behavior in the vicinity of your apartment complex. A rebrand can also provide an ideal opportunity to expand or shift your existing audience base.
Capitalize on the Distinct Personality of Your Apartment Complex –This tip is particularly useful to drive rebranding efforts for recently renovated properties. Because a company brand should always reflect the unique value prospects that that company presents, your apartment brand should encapsulate the ways in which your complex goes above and beyond in areas such as amenities, staff, special events, and surrounding environment.
Communicate Your Brand Change – To give your apartment rebrand every chance of achieving success, it is absolutely vital to work in partnership with company stakeholders and ensure that all service partners fully understand both the changes that you have made and the reasons that you have made them. Furthermore, you must adequately promote your new brand, driving your new image home for both existing and future customers.
Take Rapid and Full Possession of Your New Brand – Embrace your new brand and begin to build a better reputation as soon as possible. Develop a comprehensive and detailed marketing plan that includes both onsite and offsite campaigns. Immediately alter existing advertising efforts to reflect your rebranding efforts. For example, if you have a new name, logo, slogan, and/or jingle, its time to use them. Make sure that all promotional materials, from commercial spots in the digital or conventional media to business cards and company email signatures, reflect the key branding changes that you have made.
To Learn More
For more information about rebranding your apartment complex or effective multifamily residential brand management in general, contact a Bigeye representative today.
As a leading rebrand apartment marketing agency, we have the knowledge and skill that it takes to navigate every phase of the rebranding process with exceptional creativity and a dedication to innovation.
In Clear Focus this week: Bigeye’s senior strategist Dana Cassell joins host Adrian Tennant to discuss the role that strategy plays within a marketing and communications agency. Dana offers case studies highlighting how consumer insights and audience research can be applied to differentiate brands from their competition, plus practical tips and career advice for anyone seeking to enter the advertising industry.
Adrian Tennant: You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising produced by Bigeye. I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, VP of insights at Bigeye. For those of you who don’t know us, Bigeye is an audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency. We’re based in Orlando, Florida, but serve clients across the United States and beyond. Providing audience research, branding, creative, media, and analytics services. Thank you for choosing to spend time with us today. For this episode, it’s my pleasure to be joined by Dana Cassell, Bigeye’s senior strategist. Dana has been with Bigeye almost a decade and focuses on consumer behavior, interpreting the results of findings from primary and secondary research. Dana synthesizes data into actionable insights that help Bigeye’s clients build strategically differentiated brands. Welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS, Dana.
Dana Cassell: Thank you. Glad to be here.
Adrian Tennant: What does your role as senior strategist at Bigeye look like? Describe a day in the life, if you will.
Dana Cassell: I love that question, “What does a day in the life look like?” I spend a lot of time on-site with clients in a discovery meeting. So, generally at the beginning of an engagement with a client, we have an on-site day where we have the leadership team in the room and our team in the room. And the first half of that discovery is a strategic discovery and we’re working on things like a SWOT analysis, key messages, understanding of the target current state of affairs. So I’m generally leading that conversation. I like to think of myself as a client advocate, so I’m basically trying to get myself up to speed and understand where they are in the business, what they’re trying to do. So I do a lot of that and I like a lot of that. I’m also on calls with clients a lot catching up on those types of items. And then the kind of other half of what I do is staring at the computer screen, blinking cursor by myself because I do a lot of documentation. So if we have a strategic engagement, I’m going to be documenting that entire discovery process and setting forth the strategic plan to move forward. So I’m either kind of with everybody or by myself. I like both of those pieces.
Adrian Tennant: So what are some of the most common challenges you see clients facing today?
Dana Cassell: I think differentiation is a challenge. In the, in the global economy, you know, there’s just not really a new idea anymore. So a lot of our clients have a solid product, they have a great internal organization and they’ve just either lost market share or other newer competitors have come on the scene and they’re having trouble differentiating. We also see a lot of lack of understanding of the audience. So maybe an organization, a client might have known their audience 10 years ago. They did a lot of research, they had a better understanding and they’ve just grown and changed since then. So they just haven’t, not a modern understanding of their audience. So I think that’s a challenge a lot of people see. Another one I see is our clients having trouble getting to a place where they can be more strategic rather than reactive. And that’s generally in my assessment, kind of – it’s like a legacy problem. So the organization just runs a certain way and the marketing team can’t catch up and get far enough ahead that they have time to breathe and be strategic. So it’s like the weight of the organization is forcing them to be reactive. It’s not that they’re not strategic thinkers, they are, they just don’t have permission internally to push pause on being reactive and move into a more strategic place. And I think often we help in those engagements because we can come into the room with the C-suite and make the case for why reactivity is not the best marketing strategy.
Adrian Tennant: So that being said, if you’re a new challenger brand, I’m looking to gain market share in a category with an established brand leader, how can strategy help?
Dana Cassell: I think the audience understanding and insight is, is a key piece of that game. There are industries where the leading brand is taking their position for granted and they don’t really have deepened relationships with their consumers. And that’s always an area of opportunity. I think we’ll probably also talk, I’m hoping we’ll talk about direct-to-consumer today. That’s another great example of ways that challenger brands are gaining market share sort of by a really deep specific understanding of their audience and an extremely clear focus. So I think new challengers that really get the audience have a singular focus and do that thing well, have a great opportunity to gain some market share.
Adrian Tennant: Great answer. Strategy can seem a bit abstract. What do tangible deliverables from strategy planning typically look like?
Dana Cassell: That’s a great question. So target market analysis is often one that we’ll deliver and this is related to audience and audience insights. So we’ll work with a client to understand primary, secondary, tertiary audiences. We’ll develop brand personas, key messages for those targets, where we find them in media, what their consumer behaviors like. So we kind of blowout a big profile of those target markets. So that kind of analysis is a real actionable deliverable. Often key messages is a piece of that. So I really like the kind of four-by-four model where we have four things that we like to say about the brand over and over maybe four words long that everybody in the organization can get behind. These are like little memorable key nuggets about a brand that we can work into. Public relations interviews we can use in social content we might use in our email signature. I love helping a brand kind of come up with these key messages that are like part of their identity, something everybody can understand and start to be a driver for a brand. So I often like to work in key messages. We’ll also make key messages as part of that target market strategy. So what are the key messages that resonate most with each message, each segment of that target market? Sometimes a platform analysis is a good one too. So we’ll have clients that are involved in a variety of social media and this is something I love to do as a strategist. So we’ll get a client that is doing a lot of social media and none of it beautifully. And I get the opportunity to kind of go in and consume all of that data, all that content they’ve been putting out over the years and understand what’s been working and resonating. I love looking at the data behind social platforms and coming back and being able to say, “the good news is you’ve been doing too much and we have an opportunity to narrow your focus and then really do what you’re doing well.” So platform analysis as a tangible deliverable. And then content planning is another one that happens often we’ll see organizations that are they know strategically what they need to be doing, but then the tactics of how to execute that strategy. So often one of my strategic deliverables will be a plan for creating and deploying content. So strategic recommendations on what types of categories are going to work best on their different platforms. So what should their blog focus over the next year be? What should their outbound marketing focuses be? So that content planning roadmap, that happens a lot too.
Adrian Tennant: I’m really interested to know how you get up to speed on a new client industry. Have you got a particular process that you’d like to share with us?
Dana Cassell: Sure. I’m just an avid consumer of that brand. I just try to think of myself as obsessed, kind of brand obsessed, and I’ll just literally sit at my computer and absorb everything I can find about them online. And then I do that for any brand that thinks they’re a competitor or any brand that they think is a competitor. And then also aspirational brands. So this is a question I love to ask clients. What are brands that you think are similar to yours that are killing it? And it might not be in their same market and might not be in their same service, but a brand that it’s like, I really like the way they do business, so then I’ll go absorb everything I can about those brands. And if they don’t have an idea of who those are, I probably have an idea of who this might be for them. So I like doing that. And then I’m also a data nerd at heart, which I would encourage anybody who wants to be a strategist to become a data nerd at heart. I love to go look at whatever data they want to give us. So one of my favorite places to start is with good old Google Analytics to understand what’s happening on their digital platforms. Sales data. I don’t know, I just, I like to… Annual reports, gosh, I love annual reports. Am I the only one maybe?
Adrian Tennant: I think you might be, Dana.
Dana Cassell: I love a good annual report. So I just consume all of the data, you know, and then I do a lot of listening so I love to read and then I love to hear from them. That’s kinda how I get up to speed. I also like to read things like job descriptions to learn how the brand thinks about the people they want working with them. So that’s a little hacks to learn how the brand thinks about themselves.
Adrian Tennant: Some really good strategic tips there, I liked them. Thank you. Dana, what brands do you most admire – and why?
Dana Cassell: This is a great question. I love this. I feel like I can answer in lots of different ways. So I like to think of Southwest Airlines and Publix as the same brand in my head and they’re kind of big ones and obvious ones that a lot of people love. So it’s maybe a bit of a cliche answer, but the things that I love about them are, I believe them and I believe in authenticity and transparency. I just don’t think there’s a way in 2019, 2020 to live in a non-transparent way for long. So these are brands that I think have been being super transparent for a long time. They have people who are happy to work there, which I think is a real key to long-term success is internal culture. So I think they’re doing that really well. And I also think they are trying to be exactly who they are. So they’re in a growth mindset as a brand. Neither of them are giving up market share anywhere, but they’re also not trying to be something that they’re not. So I love that about them. They’re authentic, they have happy customers, they know who they are and they’re living into that identity. So I really liked that about those brands.
Adrian Tennant: I should just explain for any listeners that are not based in the Southeast of the United States, Publix Supermarkets, the leading supermarket for sure in our region, privately held, and a Fortune 100 company.
Dana Cassell: Right. And originally a Floridian brand, now found widely across the Southeast and likely in a Northern market near you soon because like I said, they have a growth mindset.
Adrian Tennant: That’s meant to be a secret, I think. Not really, worst-kept secret now.
Dana Cassell: I love the Grocery Wars. Honestly, what’s happening in the grocery stores is great. We were talking about this for banking yesterday, following the way that grocery stores are moving Northern brands to the South, Southern brands to the North, and then expansion into the Midwest is a great case study for any industry that is looking to gain market share in a volatile environment. Because grocery is about loyalty. It’s grossly about consumer behavior. And it’s just a really fascinating idea to watch how grocery stores move into markets where they’re, they’re not, they’re markets of origin. I love groceries.
Adrian Tennant: Excellent. So what do you think about the success of direct-to-consumer brands, such as Dollar Shave Club, StitchFix, Casper, Warby Parker, Barkbox… there are many, many, many to choose from. What do you think about them?
Dana Cassell: I love it. This why, I love it. So it’s not, it’s not dissimilar from the Southwest and Publix idea. These brands are singularly focused on doing one thing really well. Warby Parker is going to deliver glasses that you’ll love, that you have control over the experience. I love that Casper mattresses, it’s a focused effort. They know who they are, they know what they’re going to do well and they’re not going to do anything beyond that until they can do it well. So that’s not to say that DTC can’t expand and grow their service line. They can, but they’re doing it in a way that feels authentic to the brand. And also all of these brands that you’re mentioning are obsessed with consumer experience and I think that’s been the key to their success. So the whole idea that there’s this user-generated content library of people unboxing mattresses, this is like watching paint dry! I mean unboxing a mattress theoretically couldn’t be a more boring thing! This has taken over the Internet. I think it’s amazing, but they’ve created a user experience that is engaging people in a category I don’t think anybody would have predicted. So I love that they also have streamlined billing. I think this is really important, now in our mobile environment, in our Apple pay environment, that the billing process is smooth and simple and transparent and these brands are doing that really well. They’re also giving people choice and control. So any sort of subscription direct-to-consumer brand that cannot be customized or that you feel like you’re going to lose control of your credit card or you’re going to be billed in a month. “I didn’t know I was going to be built. Oh, you know, I’m frustrated.” It doesn’t last. You know, that will work for a few months until somebody realizes that charges recurring and then they’re not only quitting, they’re also not a brand advocate. So what I love about these brands that you mentioned, Dollar Shave Club, you’re getting an email every month that says, “Hey, your box is about to ship. Do you wanna make any changes? Do you need this box?” And if you don’t skip a month or skip three months, they’re giving control to the consumer. And I think that’s just building trust and loyalty.
Adrian Tennant: So these are all great lessons that we can learn from DTC brands.
Dana Cassell: Yeah. And simplify, you know, they’re all, that’s what I was starting with the idea of being focused, knowing who you are, knowing what you’re doing. If the business is complicated and you’re on the inside, imagine how that feels from the outside.
Adrian Tennant: That’s a great point. Well, let’s change gears. Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get to where you are today?
Dana Cassell: Hmm. Okay. So, um, I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and I don’t know when this started, but I think I always wanted to be an advertising because I really can’t remember a time that I didn’t. I have this four-H project from third grade, I’m left-handed. And it was called living in a right-handed world and it was an advocacy base about the challenges of being left-handed. Scissors can openers, it’s a right handed world. So I had this presentation that I loved and it was just this like little piece, understanding the way that it feels to be in the world and being a consumer of right-handed things as a left-handed person. And I look back and think that might’ve been my first piece of consumer research. So I think I was kind of always into it. And then I was looking for universities that had advertising as a field of study and I was not impressed with an advertising school that would send their materials in a white envelope that laid on my dining room table with all the other college envelopes. And then SMU – that’s Southern Methodist in Dallas – sent me their piece and it was what I wanted it to be. It was shiny and brilliant and well done. And it looked totally different when we threw it on the table. And my parents had drawn this radius on the map of two-hour flights and Dallas was right on the edge of the two-hour flight line. So I thought we should do it. So I went to school in Dallas at the Timberland Institute and had a wonderful time there. They have a relationship with The Richards Group, which was amazing as a student. And then graduate school in Austin studying consumer behavior where I had the opportunity to work on a team that was rebranding the university. They ask a few grad students in the ad program to help rebrand the university. And we came up with that tagline, “What starts here changes the world,” which was first recorded by Walter Cronkite, which was just an amazing experience and still can be found on football sometimes today. My dad calls when he hears it. So that was neat and I was able to document that process as my thesis. So that was a really fun experience and just kind of confirmed my love of advertising and branding. And then I always worked then, so that was 2004 when I graduated. It was kind of the boom of monetizing the dotcom. So I worked for a local newspaper as they were trying to figure out how to make money on their dotcom and got some really cool opportunities to collaborate with sales and technology and really start to understand the data that drives websites and how you can translate that data into sales and also leverage audience understanding and the use of a website to target advertising. So that was a very cool time to be in that world and it wasn’t as big then as it is now. So I was in analytics and I got a crash course in analytics, loved that and then moved into strategy after that. I think strategy and digital analytics are very closely linked. It’s a just a great place to start when you don’t know where else to start. So that’s been kind of my journey. I’ve been in analytics and consumer behavior and strategy since then.
Adrian Tennant: So as you know, we have a very active intern program at Bigeye. What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career in brand planning or strategy?
Dana Cassell: I think to have a growth mindset is really important because it’s always changing. The entire field is always changing. And to be somebody who is interested in learning every day and as much as there are common elements among our clients for strategic difficulty, everything is unique. Every client need and strategy is new. So to be able to grow and change except what you don’t know and go figure out what you need to know, I think that’s really important. So growth mindset, obsession with data. I’ve said it a few times. It’s my experience that some people, and there are even some holdovers in academics, that advertising is a creative endeavor and that means it’s an artistic endeavor and that that’s sort of like not congruent with data analysis, math. And I think that’s totally inaccurate. And I think data is creative and I think it’s really, really important to understand. And I think our creative team here would tell you that a data-driven creative approach is central to our philosophy. So obsession with data, growth mindset. Also, I think a solid business background. A lot of what I end up doing could be business consulting work. And I love that. You know, I love the Bigeye wants to get their hands in that. It’s not like, Oh, that’s not proper advertising. We’re not interested. Marketing and operations are closely linked, although I will say every day of my life, great marketing can’t fix operational challenges. We have to get the operations intact. By being able to understand that as a strategist is really important. So I think a little bit of business background is helpful and to enjoy problem solving. I’m a gameplayer. I love solving problems, doing puzzles, riddles. If somebody tell me a “knock, knock” joke and doesn’t give me time to try to figure it out, it makes me crazy. It’s like holding in a sneeze. So, you know, I think being a problem solver as another piece of that.
Adrian Tennant: So again, thinking about our interns at Bigeye, what kinds of resources would you point them towards to help them?
Dana Cassell: People. I was thinking about this. I had an amazing copywriter professor in undergrad who wrote the GI Joe “Real American Hero” jingle and also, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” So he was a really neat professor who inspired me and gave me a different way to think about advertising. And I can think about my first boss that gave me permission to understand the Internet and the way that it worked and how that impacted advertising. That was a lot, that was a lot. There was a time where being on social media at work was not a thing, you know, and so to have offices that understood that while it didn’t seem like the right thing to do at might be. And then I can also think about people in the industry who inspired me to think differently about strategy. So I really think the best resources that I’ve had have been people and that is also like a life strategy of my own to find someone who’s a step ahead of me that I really admire. Look, aspirational brand – I do it in my personal life and understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it and just seek their wisdom. So yeah – people.
Adrian Tennant: Excellent. You’re so on-brand – your own brand!
Dana Cassell: Thank you!
Adrian Tennant: So what is one common myth about working in advertising that really needs to be debunked?
Dana Cassell: Yeah, so I think this one is that it’s super cut-throat, and every man for themselves, and unbelievably competitive, and it can’t be trusted. I think there’s this idea that it’s kind of all one big kind of battlefield in a way. I have not experienced that in 18 years of working in the industry. Obviously, there are some places that feel that way, but for me the best work I’ve ever done has been highly collaborative, very team-oriented. I have a personal philosophy that it’s very hard for me to work with people if I don’t have a connection. You know, I like to have a personal connection with the people I’m making these big decisions for brands with. So I have never been in an environment in advertising and done great work and that be the case. So I find advertising very collaborative, friendly, helpful – you know, the best work happens when there’s somebody from research, planning, creative, digital, everybody at the table working together.
Adrian Tennant: That’s great. So what have you read or listened to recently that really inspired you?
Dana Cassell: I’m an avid podcast consumer, so I listen all the time and I have this wide variety of podcasts I listen to. But I think something recently that inspired me was Tal Ben-Shahar on “Armchair Expert,” which is Dax Shepherd’s podcast. So Dax is married to Kristen Bell and he, I mean in his own right, was Crosby on “Parenthood.” He’s done lots of wonderful things, but he has this really interesting background in anthropology and psychology. And so he has this podcast about a year-and-a-half old and Tal Ben-Shahar was on recently. So he is a PhD-educated, Harvard-educated lecturer and just intellectual thought-leader. And he famously held the record for having the two largest classes in the history of Harvard at one point. And they’re all on positive psychology and happiness and leadership. And I love this because it’s data-driven approach because it’s a PhD style of learning and it’s about the impact of positivity on life and on the bottom line. So I really love this about him and I just found his time with Dax really inspiring because he just talks a lot about organizational leadership. And it’s like a data-driven approach to happiness, which I think there’s so much in the zeitgeist about positive affirmation. I love all of that, but I also love that there’s like data behind this idea of the power of happiness for economic success, like corporate kind of branding success. I don’t know. I really liked him.
Dana Cassell: Okay. I can’t be held responsible for everything Dax says, okay?
Adrian Tennant: Understood.
Dana Cassell: Okay.
Adrian Tennant: So finally, Dana, what does having a CLEAR FOCUS mean to you?
Dana Cassell: Having a CLEAR FOCUS to me means knowing who you are because I don’t think it’s a given that we all know where we’re going next. I think it’s really important that if we know who we are, we can figure out where we’re headed.
Adrian Tennant: Deep…
Dana Cassell: Maybe?
Adrian Tennant: Dana, it’s been a real pleasure. Thank you to our guest, Dana Cassell, senior strategist at Bigeye. You’ve been listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising. Produced by Bigeye. If you have questions about the content of today’s show, please contact us at email@example.com. You’ll also find a transcript of today’s show on our website at bigeyeagency.com. I’m Adrian Tennant. Thank you for listening. Until next time, goodbye.
As the skincare market continues to expand, the time is right for starting your own company. You’ll never reach the level of success you desire, however, without establishing a disruptive brand that stands out from the completion.
A 2019 study by the independent market research company the NPD Group singles out the prestige beauty market as one of the fastest-growing sectors in United States retail sales with an annual growth of 6 percent. And, with an annual growth of 13 percent, the skincare category stands out as a particular achiever, comprising a full 60 percent of the prestige beauty market’s total industry gains.
“If I had to use one word to characterize the state of the U.S. beauty industry today, it would be disruption,” says NPD Group executive director and beauty industry analyst Larissa Jensen. “Whether we look at categories, brands, or retailers, there are sweeping changes taking place in the market landscape.”
Jensen proceeds with a warning to skincare entrepreneurs everywhere, stressing the fact that “brands and retailers must not only be cognizant of these transformations and act upon them, but identify new white space opportunities to captivate consumers and further differentiate themselves from the crowd.”
Leveraging Areas of Disruption in Skincare Industry
Prospective skincare company owners and chief executive officers should pay close attention to the specific growth areas within the skincare industry if they want to capitalize on areas of disruption and establish a distinct, unique, and valuable brand.
The booming popularity of natural beauty products, for example, represents a dramatic sea change in terms of the qualities and characteristics that customers have come to expect. Reflecting this change, the top contributor to the $5.6-billion skincare industry are natural skincare brands. The NPD Group reports that natural skincare products accounted for more than one-quarter of annual skincare sales, up 23 percent from the previous year.
The NPD Group report goes on to identify lip treatments, toners/clarifiers, facial sprays, and alphabet creams as the fastest-growing skincare product classifications. Customers are also increasingly purchasing skincare for the body, protective sunscreens, and self-tanning products.
Legal Requirements to Operate a Skincare Business
Before starting a skincare company, it is absolutely imperative that you understand all the licensing and regulatory issues that you will face. In general, the legal requirements that you must meet to operate a handmade cosmetics business are similar to the legal requirements that other small business must meet. However, as part of the cosmetic/beauty industry, you must ensure that your skincare product(s) pass muster with the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
Regulated by the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, all skincare products must be deemed safe for consumers for indicated conditions of use prior to their release. They also have to be labeled properly.
It isn’t against the law to make cosmetics in your home, but it is your responsibility to ensure that this is accomplished safely. In his article “How to Start Your Own Line of Skin Care,” Houston Chronicle contributor Michael Flanagan suggests accessing the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practice Guidelines/Inspection Checklist before designing your manufacturing space. This is the best way to prepare this space for its required FDA on-site inspection.
Manufacturing Your Skincare Products
The Houston Chronicle article goes on to offer a number of skincare product manufacturing tips including cutting down on overhead costs by looking for bulk suppliers to secure all necessary raw ingredients. It recommends accessing online distribution networks such as MakingCosmetics and Admix to meet both your supply and equipment needs.
If you choose to start your business with a manufacturing space on your residential property, you can often use your kitchen as your main hub of activity. The equipment that you will need depends entirely on the type(s) of skincare product(s) that you want to make. Skincare companies that plan to make clay facials, for example, can probably begin by using existing household mixing bowls and spoons. Those who want to make soap, however, must first buy soap molds and a few other essential pieces of equipment.
Skincare Company Marketing
No matter how great your skincare products happen to be, you won’t get far in the skincare sector without a comprehensive and outstanding marketing campaign. Here are just a few elements that you’ll want to include in your unified skincare company marketing efforts.
An official website – In virtually any industry, a high-quality website is absolutely essential. Your website should reflect your company’s core values and commitment to excellence. Even if you don’t plan to sell your skincare products online, customers will inevitably turn to your website for answers to important questions as well as information about your company and what it does best.
A strong social media presence – Reach your target consumer base on the social media platforms that they already frequent. Depending on your target demographic this might mean maintaining compelling, informative, and up-to-date company pages on multiple platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Social media outreach is a great idea for a wide range of reasons, but its ability to engender both consumer-to-company and consumer-to-consumer interactions is simply unparalleled.
Email newsletters – As a skincare company, you’ll want to turn each buyer into a repeat customer. Email newsletters are a great way to drive consumer loyalty. Although you don’t want to bombard customers with constant messages of little value, occasional newsletters can be a great way to make customers feel valued. Share content that will command attention, announce the release of new products, and motivate consumer action with various sales and promotions.
Non-digital marketing efforts – Don’t forget that the majority of people still buy their skincare products in brick-and-mortar stores. Consider visiting regional beauty salons, spas, and health/beauty stores to offer free samples. If these establishments express an interest in buying your products, you should provide them with attractive wholesale pricing. Other traditional sales techniques that continue to work well include the staging of at-home skincare parties.
While all of the techniques outlined above can effectively reach your target demographic of existing and prospective customers, you simply won’t get far with a bunch of disorganized and unconnected advertising efforts. In order to be truly successful, your company must unify all of its marketing activities under the banner of an overarching brand that is both captivating and exceptional.
Your branding efforts must begin with the creation of an effective company name and logo. Don’t take these steps lightly! Both your name and your logo must be carefully designed to resonate with your audience.
Keep your name simple, catchy, and easy to spell, Pay close attention both to how your name looks when read and to how your name sounds when spoken. If possible, choose a name that conveys some sort of strategic meaning.
The uniqueness of your name is also a paramount concern. To see whether or not a favored name is already in use, check online with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Your name and logo should lead the way when developing a brand that projects a distinct and desirable set of characteristics and values. These specific characteristics and values will depend entirely on your target demographic.
For example, a “macho” brand is perfect for companies in the fast-growing men’s skincare product sector. Other skincare companies have found success with socially conscious branding messages and company affiliations, offering products that are responsibly sourced and supporting a broad spectrum of charitable causes.
Best Skincare Packaging
A recent report by the leading corrugated packaging company WestRock shows that more than four in five American have tried a new product due to its packaging. And packaging is particularly important in an overcrowded skincare sector that has products desperately competing for attention on store shelves everywhere.
Like all other facets of your marketing operations, your unique product packaging must align with the characteristics and values of your brand as a whole. This is absolutely essential if you want to connect with your chosen consumer demographic.
Although no two skincare companies should wrap their products in similar packaging, there are a few universal guidelines that companies must generally keep in mind. For example, a highly important part of presenting a professional image is ensuring that all your brand-name products follow a constant design style.
Skincare Video Production
In today’s marketplace, a business that fails to use video as part of its comprehensive branding and advertising efforts is bound to fall behind. The 2020 State of Video Marketing Survey by Wyzowl reports that 85 percent of companies use video as a marketing tool and that 92 percent of marketers who use video rely upon it as “an important part of their marketing strategy.”
When you stop to consider the fact that beauty product videos are the most searched-for video type on YouTube, the tremendous potential of video marketing in the skincare sector should be immediately obvious. In addition to producing and releasing traditional video ad spots, your skincare company can benefit from motion graphics infomercial content, instructional how-tos, and recorded customer testimonials.
Get Professional Guidance
Unless you happen to be a seasoned marketing professional, you will want to secure the assistance of a professional skincare marketing agency well before establishing your company and beginning to distribute your products. At Bigeye, we know the supreme importance of founding your skincare company with an extremely powerful, unified organizational image and a highly compelling, targeted marketing message.
Let us help you launch your brand right the first time, so you don’t have to contend with the significant cost, hassle, and wasted time that go hand in hand with subsequent company rebranding efforts.
If you aren’t taking advantage of the power of brand video, then you’re ceding an important edge to your competitors. Here’s what you need to get started.
Let’s say you’ve got an exciting new product and you want to introduce it to consumers in the most impactful way possible. How would you go about it? If you’re not immediately thinking “brand videos,” then we urge you to keep reading.
Why Brand Videos Have Become an Indispensable Marketing Tool
Right now, you’re reading a blog — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Blogs are a tried-and-true medium for short, informational content. Yet the blog should be merely a single arrow in your quiver. Audiences don’t always have the time or inclination to read, yet they can almost always find time to watch a short video — provided it reaches out and wrests their attention away from the other dozen things competing for it.
That’s one reason you’ve likely been deluged lately with explainer videos and all other sorts of branded video content. Videos simply work. People engage with them at higher levels than seen with ads or written content.
There’s another factor motivating the brand video proliferation: The learning curve and production costs associated with professional video creation have declined radically in recent years. This means that brands have no reason to avoid joining the revolution.
So How Do I Tell My Brand Story Through Video?
Here’s the good news: Connecting with audiences via video is relatively simple, provided you can follow a few smart practices. When creating brand videos, here are some key things on which to focus:
Story is paramount — and so are people. Creating brand videos simply because “everyone says people prefer video” won’t accomplish much. You still need a compelling narrative that audiences will relate to. Think about a simple yet effective way you can frame your brand story around human characters. Any newspaper editor or photographer will tell you that images of static buildings or landscapes don’t reach people or move copy. As humans, we are naturally drawn to each other, and this extends to our engagement with photos and video. Forego the facts, figures, and product features (or at least consign them to secondary status) and put people front and center in your videos. By focusing on one person, brands can make larger and more complex issues more relatable.
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Forge an emotional connection. Savvy brands have long known that a true emotional connection with audiences is the gold standard in advertising and marketing. Nothing converts and builds long-term loyalty like sparking a visceral, emotional reaction. Fortunately, brand videos are a fantastic format for forging these kinds of connections. By using images, dialogue and music to full effect, a great brand video can tell an emotionally resonant story in as little as 30 seconds.
Reach for the original. Remember how we mentioned that proliferation of video? That’s why it’s essential that you take creative risks and push for something original. Audiences today are extremely savvy and cynical about brand messaging. Yet you can penetrate their defenses by delivering something that delights or inspires. Here’s one great example. It’s important, however, to understand your limitations — nobody is looking for an avant-garde HVAC brand video.
Maintain your messaging. Your brand videos are ultimately an extension of your overall brand messaging. They should speak with your voice, project your values, and be calibrated to appeal to your specific audience. While it’s important for your content to reach for creativity and originality, this must still occur within the larger context of your brand messaging.
Don’t skimp on video production. This one is easy — there’s no excuse for a cheesy (unintentionally, at least) or cheap-looking brand video. The cost and skill needed to produce respectable content has plummeted.
Most multifamily marketers know the importance of promoting the features of their communities, but fewer fully grasp the importance of apartment branding.
Multifamily marketers tend to spend a lot of time highlighting their available vacancies, touting structural and functional details that range from vaulted ceilings and granite countertops to scenic views and smart appliances. While this marketing approach is certainly valuable, trying to implement it without first establishing a solid apartment brand is like trying to put a coat of paint on a building before pouring its concrete foundation.
Real estate industry statistical research firmly supports this view of apartment branding as supremely important. The Harvard Business Review, for example, reports that 64% of people cite shared values as their principal motivation for developing a consumer relationship with a particular brand. Covering the other side of the consumer/business coin, the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report has shown that 57% of small business owners regard strong relationships with consumers as the chief force behind ongoing/repeat business.
In short, it is absolutely essential to create, institute, and cultivate an apartment branding strategy that says something powerful and unique about your multifamily community. Furthermore, it is vital that you continually monitor the overall effectiveness of your exiting brand to ensure that it is squarely connecting with your chosen audience.
Building an Effective Brand from Scratch
When it comes to establishing a brand that reflects your company priorities and values, creative and strategic apartment naming and logo design are key…but they are only the beginning. Your name and logo will serve as a launching pad for all of your subsequent marketing strategies from overall messaging style and content delivery to the development of specific promotional efforts and advertising campaigns.
Want to optimize your apartment branding process to make a tremendous impact on the marketplace? By following the three steps outlined below, you can ensure that your branding efforts get off on the right foot and continue down the path to success.
Surprisingly, this important first step in the apartment branding process is one that many multifamily marketers fail to invest in. This is, quite frankly, ridiculous. In the absence of adequate preliminary research, your branding efforts will be little more than a shot in the dark, and you will have little chance of hitting that elusive branding bullseye. Key areas of branding research include consumer demographics/psychographics, consumer behavior/lifestyle choices, and geographical/financial market analysis.
2. Brand Identity
After conducting in-depth research, you must give extensive thought to your proposed brand identity. Keep in mind that this identity must extend throughout every element of your comprehensive marketing efforts, from the color of your chosen logo to the tone of your written promotional copy to the videos and images that appear on your social media page. The two keys to brand identity are relevance to company values and consistency across all media channels.
3. Implementation Strategy
The final step in the brand-building process consists of positioning your fully developed brand within the marketplace. This necessitates a comprehensive implementation of all brand elements (signage, letterheads, promotional messaging/events, website/social media design, etc.) with a firm focus on lead generation and positive public relations. It is absolutely essential to develop a prudent implementation strategy that fits the specific characteristics of your brand. As Executive Magazine contributor Samantha Chalmers puts it, “when promoting a LEED-certified community with composting stations and community gardens, it wouldn’t make sense to place a print ad in a Range Rover catalog” or “serve coffee or water in Styrofoam cups in the leasing office.”
Brand Optimization and Rebranding
No matter how much time, effort, and care you took to develop your initial apartment brand, it is important to realize when, in the words of Multifamily Executive Magazine contributor Jamie Matusek, “your brand becomes more of a liability than an asset.”
When this occurs, it is time to optimize your brand or rebrand entirely.
A successful rebranding effort requires marketers to follow the same comprehensive steps that drive the initial branding process. But when is the right time for your apartment complex to rebrand? Events and situations that often trigger a rebrand include planned remodeling or structural capital improvements, a floundering reputation in the consumer marketplace, and a general desire or need to expand your overall audience base.
Your specific brand optimization or rebranding strategies will depend entirely on the events that necessitate them and the weaknesses in your brand as it currently stands. If your apartment complex is plagued by poor resident ratings, for example, you will want to reach out to existing tenants to precisely identify key areas of concern and then reformat your brand to address those areas specifically. In this case, your new brand should reflect a distinct break with the old brand, clearly stressing the value of a fresh start. As part of your rebranding efforts, it will be absolutely essential to communicate what, exactly, will be different about your company as you move forward. Furthermore, it will be even more important to honor those messages through conscientious action.
For more information
Bigeye is an apartment branding agency that places a supreme emphasis on creativity and forward-thinking business strategy. Whether you’re looking for a multifamily marketing agency to build your brand from the ground up or to optimize the brand that you’ve already developed, we can help. Don’t hesitate to contact Bigeye today.