The changing face of beauty

Brands can’t sit still. They need to change – and change is good. But it’s also about recognizing the opportunity for change and not just changing for the sake of it. And it is design that can create the right kind of change and help successfully and creatively develop a brand.

There are very many influencing factors and considerations when looking to change, expand or take a brand to the next level. But I would like to focus on just two of today’s most prescient considerations: innovation and digital.

Innovation underpins brand growth and development. First off, it has to be about the big idea: not being afraid to challenge the status quo and push boundaries with genuine creative thinking. Then it’s about purpose: combining the creative and strategic perspectives to realize the innovation. But essentially, product innovation is only as good as the design communication and so the challenge lies squarely with design to push the boundaries further and create a new design language that goes beyond what we already know and use. And it is this context and expression that will give meaning – and that will create difference.

And, today, we should never start the innovation process without considering the sustainable element. But for those products already in existence, consumers are wired to look for moral, ethical choices and want brands to be interactive, open, honest and this can be dialed up through the design communication and messaging…through structure, materials and through the visual and verbal language used…Think Stila’s Solar Illuminated Refillable Compact or Unilever’s new ‘half size’ compressed format deodorants.

And if we turn our attention to the digital arena – technology continues to advance the greatest pace of change and many beauty brands are looking for optimum ways to start or enhance their social media presence.

In 2011 Oscar de la Renta chose to launch his first fragrance in ten years via Facebook, giving away samples of ‘L’Esprit d’Oscar to those who ‘liked’ it online. The campaign worked with a phenomenal number of hits translating to in-store sales but primarily it worked because the idea was rooted first and foremost in the product and its design – and most notably a beautiful and classic structure which has always been a key design cue in the fragrance arena.

The core proposition for beauty has always focused on the tactile experience of the brand in the hand but, with design as the constant, beauty brands can also successfully live in our digital world.

Digital is the changing notion of the brand itself. The most powerful brands of the future will not just create brand and packaging design with impact on-shelf, in the hand and online at 20 pixels, but will ensure a digital permeability to keep pace with technology and to inspire a complete and future-facing connection.

It always comes back to design – design intelligently clothing a powerful thought and presenting it in such a way to create irresistible, must-have desire. And consumer reaction to this kind of design translates directly to a healthy bottom line and future.

Design for change is the way to transform and realize a successful future for brands.

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