Differentiating beauty brands is becoming an increasing challenge for consumers and markerters alike, with every beauty product being defined by glamorous models, flawless faces and age- defying secrets.

At the ASEAN Cosmetic workshop, Lawrence discussed how branding can enhance market access for the beauty industry. Using advertisements to illustrate his point, he began by questioning the credibility and uniqueness of cosmetic brandsʼ marketing efforts.

The beauty industry needs to move beyond tactics towards brand strategy. Branding in the 21st century is more than just advertising, marketing or even knowing what the customer wants. It is also about getting the employees to believe in what they do and getting the customers to believe in what the company does.

Branding is thus not simply a makeover — it must start from the inside out.

This inside-out approach to branding can be applied to cosmetic brands. It starts with defining three states that a company can use to build a strategic advantage:

  • Ability, the brandʼs greatest advantage, can entail providing solutions for consumers instead of just having an excellent product. Examples include effective service, engagement, customisation and familiarity.
  • Influence can mean bonding with the consumers though scenarios, conversations and stories.
  • Differentiation refers to developing memorable and authentic cues.

“When she accepts the flowers, when she recognises your voice and style, you have access,” Lawrence said, using courtship as a metaphor for designing memorable cues to enhance market access.

However, while cosmetic brands might not find it difficult to gain access, it does not automatically translate to consumers embracing the brands as part of their lifestyle.

The key to turning market access into consumer acceptance lies in building a relationship with consumers with positive engagement at multiple touch points.

Lawrence ended his presentation by encouraging cosmetic companies “to have the audacity to become who you are meant to be and shape the world with your brand”.