The skincare industry is here to stay. From beauty influencers showing off their 10-step skincare routines to celebrities posting photos of themselves wearing face masks, social media has propelled the industry into the spotlight.
The rapid boom of the skincare industry is driven by a number of factors including increased consumer interest in self-care, natural beauty, and anti-aging products. This is great news for product brands in the skincare sector, but it also presents a challenge: your business needs to stand out among the increasingly-fierce competition.
A strong visual brand is extremely important for skincare product brands. Some service-based businesses can rely on word-of-mouth to grow, but as skincare entrepreneurs who sell products, your packaging needs to attract your ideal customers within the first few seconds. If your labels look too DIY, too confusing, too amateur, or too cheap/expensive for your target, they will click right past your product or grab another brand’s product off the shelf instead.
The first step to creating an unstoppable brand is to develop a brand strategy that will guide your content, product packaging, imagery, fonts, and visual designs. Since every business is so different, it’s important to create a strategy that is unique to your brand and achieves results for your specific product, price point, target audience, and business goals. Cookie-cutter and formulaic approaches are not effective when it comes to branding.
Here is a guide to creating a skincare product brand that will captivate your target audience, convince them to try your products, nudge them to make a purchase, and help you grow your business.
Identify your target audience.
A business that sells sparkly pink body lotion for younger girls will have different branding, design, and marketing needs than a business that sells anti-aging eye cream at $200 per vial.
Both of these brands can be successful, but not by copying each other and using the same strategies – they will need to keep their respective targets in mind at all times when developing their brands.
Your skincare product is not for everyone. Create an image in your mind of the one exact person that you want to purchase your skincare products – you can even give that person a name! Consider the following characteristics about your one target customer:
Demographic includes their location, age, gender, income level, occupation, marital status, and education level.
Psychographic takes things deeper and explains the psychology of why your target persona buys. Think about their attitudes, beliefs, interests, pain points, daily routines, spending habits, and activities or media they follow.
In the skincare industry, it’s especially important to consider the price point that your target customer is willing to pay. If your products are on the higher end of the industry price range, but your branding looks homemade and appeals to discount shoppers who don’t want to pay those prices, you will need to fix that disconnect in order for your business to be successful. A brand strategist will be able to evaluate your branding and determine opportunities to help your business grow.
Identifying your target is the first step in this article for a reason: you need to identify the demographic and psychographic of your ideal client persona before designing your packaging, content, and visual branding. This will ensure that your overall brand attracts the exact types of customers who are likely to making a purchase.
Once you know your target, everything you create for your brand needs to appeal to that customer. It doesn’t matter what your favorite colors are or what social media platform you like using — what matters is whether your target likes those colors or if your target is using that social media platform. Your target is the focal point, and everything else is just noise you can ignore.
Conduct competitor research.
No matter how large or small your business is or how unique your products are – you have competitors. There are other skincare brands that cater to the target you just described above.
Brand positioning is the process of separating your brand from the competition so you can stand out. If you want to strategically set your business apart from the competition, you first need to know what your competition is doing!
The first step is to find your true competitors. If your natural lip balm business is just starting out, Burt’s Bees is not your true competitor! Maybe one day when your product gets into big-box retailers you can consider Burt’s Bees a competitor, but for now you need to look for similar-sized brands that are selling natural lip balm. In that scenario, you can explore who is selling homemade lip balms on platforms like Etsy or at craft and farmers markets in your area.
Once you have identified your true competitors, think about what makes your business different from them. Maybe your products are organic, or you donate a portion of every purchase to a good cause, or your products simply work more effectively than theirs. These are the elements you will want to focus on in your visual branding and content.
You will always have competitors, but by positioning your brand to look better than the rest and providing massive value to your target, you can prompt your audience to choose you over them.
Branding Example: Lancôme
Paris has long been associated with luxury, glamour, femininity, and sophistication, and the skincare and cosmetic company Lancôme seamlessly incorporates these traits into its branding.
The Lancôme website features many shades of pink as well as floral imagery and blog posts about Parisian style, fashion, and culture. Here is an example of how Lancôme uses photos of celebrities, fashion shows, and feminine colors to express its brand through Instagram:
The company’s product packaging is sleek and shiny, and some of its designs include the color gold which signifies luxury. Because the branding uses imagery, words, and price points that align with one another, Lancôme is a great example of a company that focuses on its target audience versus trying to appeal to everyone.
Are there other luxury skincare brands from France? Absolutely. Your business will never be the only one in your field, but with time and consistency your business can grow and be seen as the go-to brand within your niche.
Define your brand attributes.
Brand attributes are the essence of your company. They are the first words that pop into someone’s mind when they think about your business.
When you think of Tesla, you think of words like “innovative” or “futuristic” even if you have never purchased or ridden in a Tesla before. This is the power of brand attributes in action – they create a recognizable reputation for your brand, whether or not people have purchased from you!
Your brand attributes will be reflected primarily in the colors, fonts, images, and overall feel of your visual branding – which is why it’s important to establish these attributes before beginning the design process. A skincare business with attributes like “natural, safe, affordable, rustic” will have a significantly different visual brand than one with the attributes “funky, cutting-edge, fierce, glamorous.”
Not sure what your brand attributes are? Here is a free branding mini-workbook that walks you through a simple process to identify the unique brand attributes of your business:
Branding Example: MadHippie
The cruelty-free skincare and makeup brand MadHippie has a memorable and unique brand that instantly attracts the attention of its target:
The company name immediately associates the brand with natural ingredients and a sense of fun. The packaging showcases bright whimsical colors with doodles of hearts and birds and flowers, and the words on the label highlight the specific natural ingredients that are included in the product.
Notice that despite having these fun, creative, and colorful elements to its designs, the MadHippie branding is still professional enough for its products to be sold at stores like Ulta and Whole Foods. This is an important consideration for growing skincare brands to take note of: as you grow, you will need to ensure your designs reflect a professional caliber and showcase your company as a serious business. This will help you scale to the level of sales and growth that you desire.
Visual Branding for Skincare Products: Logo Design
The logo of your skincare business is the face of the company and the design element that ties your visual branding together. Your logo needs to be aligned with your brand attributes, attractive to your target market, and most importantly: memorable.
In the skincare world, variations of your logo will appear on your product packaging. Depending on the product, that often means your logo needs to still look good when shrunk to a small size. Simple logos that are recognizable across a variety of mediums are best-suited to help your business grow.
If your logo is attractive, memorable, and aligned with your brand attributes, customers develop an immediate sense of trust and recognition in your brand. It takes most shoppers multiple times of seeing and learning about your brand before they make their first purchase, but a well-designed logo can speed up this introduction process and build the know-like-trust factor with your target.
Branding Example: Earth’s Organics
Earth’s Organics, an organic bath and body product business, ran into a common situation: after being in business for a few years and seeing initial success, they wanted to scale and attract the types of clients who were willing to pay for their high-quality products.
The Earth’s Organics rebranding project included brand strategy, changing the name of their business, development of a new logo design and color palette to stand out, as well as updating their packaging designs to reflect the new visual brand:
While the idea of rebranding can be intimidating, the truth is that most brands naturally hit a point where they need to evolve in order to keep growing. If you suspect your business may need to rebrand, it is better to start that project sooner rather than later so you can see the impacts on your business growth more quickly.
Visual Branding for Skincare Products: Colors
Before determining the brand colors for your business, you will need to think about your target audience and what emotions you want them to feel when looking at your products.
It helps to know the basics of color psychology when selecting brand colors. In the skincare sector, many brands use white as part of their branding. White symbolizes cleanliness, peacefulness, and purity – all attributes associated with hygiene and taking care of skin!
However, not every skincare brand uses white, and some brands go out of their way to avoid using white to set themselves apart. There is a balancing act between wanting to stand out and using colors that are effective and industry-appropriate, and a brand strategist can help you find that sweet spot where your brand can accomplish both objectives.
Once you have brand colors in place, you can utilize brand boards and brand guidelines to maintain consistency and ensure your brand colors look the same across all platforms.
Visual Branding for Skincare Products: Shapes and Packaging
In addition to color psychology, shape psychology will affect the first impression that potential customers have of your business.
Different shapes influence our emotions differently. Squares, rectangles, triangles, and sharp lines symbolize trust, security, and masculinity. Most of the “serious” items in our lives are designed using these shapes such as our phones, computer screens, doorways, and furniture – all of which needs to feel stable and reliable.
Circles, curves, and rounded edges evoke emotions of harmony, softness, peacefulness, creativity, and the feminine. For these reasons, skincare brands often find that circles, soft lines, and rounded edges express their brand attributes the best.
But like everything else, the shapes you use in your designs and packaging will depend on your unique brand attributes and target. There are instances where skincare businesses will choose to incorporate rectangles and sharp edges, such as when products are targeted specifically to men or have brand attributes like “medical” or “cutting-edge.”
Branding Example: Simple
Simple Skincare sells products for sensitive skin, and their visual branding expresses their brand attributes in several ways:
Notice how the product labels utilizes several soft shades of green which symbolize the natural world. Soft green is an ideal color for their brand because their products contain no parabens or harsh chemicals. Other than the color choices, the Simple brand takes a minimalistic approach by using a lot of white space to evoke feelings of cleanliness and purity.
The packaging and logo for Simple includes a few simple curved lines which indicate softness (rather than rectangular jagged edges), and the typography is unembellished and easy-to-read. All of these components give viewers the impression that their products are in fact “simple” and not jam-packed with ingredients.
The brand name and visual designs all match which creates a sense of trust in their target: people who have sensitive skin and are seeking skincare options that will not cause a reaction.
Website Design for Skincare Businesses
Consider your website the 24/7 portal to your skincare brand. Even if your products are sold offline at stores or markets, your website is where customers can go to learn more about your brand, join your email list, and increase their loyalty to your business.
From the user perspective, shoppers should be able to browse your product selection and make purchases with a few simple clicks. The more steps you add to the buying process (such as requiring them to send an order form or make an account), the less likely they are to complete their purchase – so make it easy for people to buy from you!
Customization is crucial for your website to stand out, and we cover additional tips on how to make sure your website is functional in this blog post. If your skincare business is ready for a one-of-a-kind website that expresses your brand and attracts more customers, contact our team at Aventive Studio.
Branding Example: SkinFix
SkinFix has an attractive and unique brand identity that stands out from its competitors.
Notice how in the pop-up on the SkinFix website, the business doesn’t simply try to sell products or collect emails – it gives customers a name and tagline they can identify with: Total Skin Nerds. From the very first moment on the site, visitors feel the sensation of “Whoa, this is not a regular skincare company”:
SkinFix uses content marketing to educate customers about different skin conditions through blog posts and educational videos, positioning themselves as experts on these topics and developing trust with their audience. If you were suffering from an uncomfortable skin condition, and one brand didn’t mention it on their website, and another brand had entire blogs and videos and FAQ sections addressing the condition… which brand would you trust more?
On the visual branding side, SkinFix uses blue as a primary color rather than white. In color psychology, blue is associated with trust and dependability which aligns with their brand having a knowledgeable look and feel.
Social Media and Content Marketing
Social media and content marketing are useful tools that skincare brands can use to reach their target. Popular content formats include blog posts, videos, infographics, and case studies, all of which help you stand out from the competition and create an emotional connection with your audience.
Like any element of branding, we recommend taking a strategic approach to ensure your content creation results in tangible results like an increase in sales or audience size. You can learn more about how to create a content strategy for your business here.
Here are some ideas on what skincare brands can include in their social media and content marketing:
- Images! Beautiful imagery is the driving force that will prompt customers to remember your brand and products. Think about what types of product photography your target would like to see and what would align with your brand attributes. If you were only going to implement one item on this list, this is the one to choose.
- Written or video testimonials from your customers
- Giveaways of products or gift cards
- “Did you know?” information about your ingredients or products
- Behind the scenes stories of your staff, your workspace, or how the products are made
- Asking your audience questions and encouraging them to reshare or tag their friends
- Charitable initiatives. What social issue does your target care about, and how can your brand visibly support that cause?
Observe what types of content your competitors are creating and what seems to be working well for them, along with what opportunities they are missing. While you never want to copy your competition, you can position your brand to take advantage of any gaps or weaknesses in their content marketing and identify how your business can set yourself apart.
Marketing and Advertising for Skincare Brands
Once your brand strategy and visual designs are in place, it’s time to share your brand with the world! Marketing and advertising are two ways of getting your brand in front of your target repeatedly until they recognize your brand, make a purchase, and become loyal customers.
Sharing your stunning product photography on visual platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help you build trust and brand awareness. Even if someone doesn’t buy your product the first time they see it, they will recognize your brand over time which can prompt them to buy in the future. Paid advertising on online platforms can be an effective way for your brand to reach more people, especially if you have already seen organic success on those platforms.
Think about where your target customer hangs out – that one person you are targeting! What websites do they browse, what social media platforms do they use, what stores or gyms do they go after work? If you can picture these details, you can place your marketing where you know they will find them– either online or offline.
Somewhere in the hustle and bustle of running a business, it can help to pause and remember that building a skincare brand is an exciting labor of love. You have worked hard to refine and test your products, and a fresh visual brand can be the catalyst for reaching customers who will love and benefit from your business.
Sometimes as entrepreneurs we don’t have time to do it all on our own. If you would prefer to work directly with a branding agency to develop a brand strategy and designs for your logo, website, and packaging, contact the Aventive Studio team here to chat about your project!
Our studio creates memorable brands for health and wellness product businesses, and we would love to learn more about your skincare products and help you build an unforgettable brand that scales your business.