How to Create a Standout Beauty Brand
By Kimberly Brizzolara
Director Strategy & Editorial, Bartlett Brands
Been there, done that, put it on my face yesterday. We all know that the beauty landscape is crazy crowded. So how does a brand stand out on shelves stacked high with bouncy cloud cream-serums and insta-feeds throwing every shade? Find the nugget that’s unique about your brand—and turn it into the foundational rock.
When Biossance came to us, they had a stellar product on the market and Sephora on the hook. The problem? They looked and felt like any other “nature meets science” brand.
Once you looked beneath confusing product names like “The Revitalizer” and “The Nourisher,” there was an ingredient we could work with: the hero across all of Biossance’s products was squalane oil.
The squalane that Biossance makes has some incredible properties that we could connect to things we knew about today’s beauty customer.
|Obsessed with hydration—and loves a simple ingredient story||A version of the moisture skin already produces, so it’s naturally hydrating|
|Wants to keep it natural||100% plant based, non-toxic, and made sustainably using sugarcane|
|Believes that clean beauty options won’t work as well||Actually works—the clinicals are crazy|
From there, our strategy tapped into the power of simplicity: Squalane is biology’s best moisturizer. We introduced squalane oil to the millennial beauty customer in a way that she could instantly understand and relate to—no PhD required.
How We Went from Meh to Must-Have
A new tagline spoke to the idea of “nature meets science” in a unique way.
Our environment provides the materials, and our people are the architects—working innovatively with nature’s biology to do better for people and the planet.
Natural brands can come across a bit “woo woo” (think mystical meets mindful) or preachy (shame, shame). Science brands tend to go for cold and clinical vibes.
For Biossance, we crafted a voice that’s authentic to the brand:
Straightforward and meaningful, because we have the highest standards for truth. Smart and witty, because we want to be clever in ways that make our customers think. Instigative and fresh, because we’re always pushing boundaries and looking for ways to do better. Optimistic and inspiring, because we’re moving towards a positive world. Approachable and warm, because we’re human and humble.
Product names all featured squalane front and center. We were clear about what the products do and highlighted the immediate benefits, using language everyone can understand at a glance.
Green beauty can come across crunchy. And lab brands often look cold. Our packaging combined a softer, more human touch with elements of the brand’s biotech heritage. The debossed pattern represents a scientific “pinpointing” process Biossance uses in the lab.
Packaging Design … pushed even further:
We created the packaging to follow the brand’s “No Compromise” approach to the environment and the product experience. The outer cartons are tree free—made of 100% sugarcane fiber, another renewable resource.
Our launch marketing campaign “The Moisture You Were Born With” caught attention, educated customers, and gave them a reason to believe.
The #MoistureRevolution took off. Two months into their “unprecedented” launch at Sephora, they already had the #1 eye product. More doors quickly opened—and the branding picked up trophies from the BeautyID Awards, the Clios and Fast Company.
Top Takeaway for Your Brand
Want to find your brand’s foundational rock? Sometimes you need to dig deeper.
Director of Strategy and Editorial, Bartlett Brands
A thought leader focused on creative brand development and storytelling for competitive markets, Kimberly worked agency-side as West Coast Creative Director at Axiom—where her clients included Microsoft, GAP, Visa, Wyndham, Maybelline, and L’Oréal. Moving to the client side, she directed an editorial team at Sephora that created marketing for Sephora.com, email and the app—as well as cross-channel branding for the Beauty Insider rewards program, Sephora Collection, select in-store animations, and new features like Fragrance IQ and The Beauty Board.
She also created brand campaigns for Netflix, including their nationally recognized Pride 2015 campaign, before joining Bartlett Brands to focus on new brand development for clients like ipsy and Rodan+Fields. Her work has won over 70 awards—ad:tech, Marketing Sherpa, Media Post, the ADDYs, and more. Kimberly also directs branding, fundraising, marketing, and events for Big Imagination and The 747 Project—the biggest moving art installation ever attempted at Burning Man. She studied Creative Writing at Stanford and stayed on to earn an MA in Media Studies.