Have you ever wondered how to launch a brand? Do you have a fantastic idea for a beauty brand or are you just weeks from launch? As a new brand owner or entrepreneur, you may find the ever-changing beauty and aesthetic industry a tad overwhelming and feel unsure about where and how to launch your brand. The truth is that every brand starts small and there is no “express route” to global domination, even in these days of exciting and innovative brand launches on Instagram!
In this article, we’re sharing our beauty industry knowledge and expertise, along with plenty of practical tips to help you understand product launch best practice for this critical early stage in your business.
The UK Beauty & Aesthetic Industry
The UK is a powerful player in the beauty, aesthetics, cosmetics and wellness industry – leading the way for launches in key trending sectors, like microbiome skincare and clean colour cosmetics. As one of the leading three cosmetic consumers in Western Europe, the UK beauty market value alone currently stands at around £9.35BN. According to the CEW, there are well over 1,800 beauty brands operating in the UK, each with a portfolio of products vying for consumer and press attention – so “how can you make your beauty brand launch stand out and earn its place?“
Brand launch vs brand reputation
Your focus should be on building a leading brand reputation which stands up against competitors and resonates with target customers, not just getting short-term exposure of a new product or latest line extension. A successful brand launch requires preparation, excellence in execution and longevity. Longevity means consistent and frequent press features, social media exposure, organic word-of-mouth recommendations, customer advocacy and the most critical metric of all – repeat sales from loyal customers.
As experts in product launch strategy, we know that a strong multi-channel plan which includes PR, marketing, advertising, social media, and grassroots customer nurturing is critical to a launch success. It’s safe to say that many beauty launches are flashes in the pan – only those with a solid strategy, consistent messaging and continuing investment make the grade as permanent residents on our industry’s “shelfie”. Like rolling a rock uphill, don’t lost that momentum, or you’ll never get it going again! Picking up and dropping will just burn through your capital and make it that much harder when you want to re-start your PR or customer outreach for your next campaign or line extension.
The benefits of a great brand launch plan
Press and consumers thrive on NEWNESS and you only get to launch a brand once – so make it count. A brand launch is your chance to establish who you are, what your brand stands for, engage with your target customers and create a strong first impression with both press, influencers and customers. Sales are obviously a critical element, but much of a launch is laying your foundation for the future – building customer loyalty with regular touchpoints, helping educate all audiences on who you are and why you’re different. This is your brand and you can define why customers should choose you!
Brand launch budget
When devising how to launch a brand, it’s critical to set aside decent marketing spend to support not only your short-term launch activity, but a long-term maintenance plan too. Spread your launch budget wisely to engage your target audiences and don’t put all your hard-saved pennies in the one basket, or form of PR activity. Your brand launch budget doesn’t have to be big bucks – grassroots brand launches which build momentum through creating a strong ‘tribe’ of advocates, and smart waitlist marketing are becoming more the norm thanks to social media and influencer marketing.
5 brand launch strategy tips
Understanding how to launch a brand in the beauty industry is key to ensuring long-term success for your business through increased sales, loyal customer base and a growing product portfolio. A successful brand launch strategy is complex and requires expertise to identify and engage your key target audiences, however, our brand strategists have compiled their top 5 brand launch tips to help get you started:
1.Preparation is KEY
“Who are you, and why are you different?”
If you don’t have robust answers to these most basic questions, now is not the time to be launch your brand. The first step in a strong launch is to create compelling brand messaging – defining who you are, what makes you different to competitors, what need you fulfil, why should people buy from you? Only once this messaging is honed to perfection should you begin building it consistently across all touchpoints of your brand – packaging, product claims, website, social, press releases etc. We’ve helped a plethora of clients with our strategic brand messaging expertise, and have a fantastic marketing toolkit designed to help you create your own brand messages!
2. Create your brand assets
Once you have created your brand’s USPs and messaging, you need to create clear, accessible brand assets to tell your story and educate audiences. This could include a clear website (make sure it’s mobile-optimised, as most beauty browsing is now on our phones), your press releases, social media channels and so on. Imagery is a critical element for building your brand identity, so invest in creating your own high-quality imagery which can populate your website and social. Videos are also a highly engaging and effective conversion tool which you can use across all channels to educate and engage people with your brand offering.
3. Build anticipation with your target audience
Use your growing social media channels and website to build a “tribe” of helpful early adopters and gather market research insights. Building up your brand following in advance of formal launches helps build anticipation and in today’s highly engaged social brand landscape, interacting with your ideal customers ahead of time will reap benefits – asking them what they’d like to see, responding to their feedback etc. This can be done via social polls, posts and email campaigns – by growing your ‘list’ early on, you not only tap into valuable market insights, but you also build anticipation and brand engagement which can then convert into sales come launch time.
4. Launch with conviction
The whole launch process can be as long as a whole year, so get planning well in advance to ensure that everything hits at the right time. There’s nothing worse than hitting “go”, only to be faced with packaging and supply issues, or a glitchy website and trying to get people to come back later. A useful brand launch timeline is:
- 3-6 months prior to launch: make the final tweaks to your product/brand, begin development of brand assets (website, social channels, imagery / videos etc), start building audience “tribe” and researching possible influencers to partner with and plan specific events (e.g. giveaways or live demos).
- 1-2 months prior to launch: generate press engagement with exclusives, (for long-lead press engagement to allow 3-4 months lead time for glossy magazines), offer early trialling with key press and influencers.
- 1 month prior to launch: share social media / website / marketing list teaser campaigns, ‘first glimpse’ reviews and unboxing by press and influencers.
- Launch: unveiling videos go live, special offers are launched for new and existing customers, press embargo is lifted etc.
- Post-launch: ongoing follow up with customers and press, seeking and sharing testimonials and reviews, running additional visibility campaigns etc.
5. Keep Following Up
Your existing customers and fans are your easiest sources of revenue – make sure the post-purchase pathway is nurturing and engaging, inviting reviews, feedback, sharing and comments. Keep up momentum by sharing testimonials, running competitions and giveaways, and nourishing your existing sales with more offers and tailored opportunities just for them. When it comes to press, keep them engaged in the conversation – launch is just the start of your conversation – ask what they’re writing about next, whether there’s anything you can contribute to, invite them ahead of time to see the next launch or innovation. Keep up that momentum and keep your brand on their radar!
Benefits of sourcing expert support
The success of any new product launch hinges on differentiation and a proven robust approach to market entry led by an experienced, passionate team. Our bespoke product and brand launch strategy service is designed especially for premium brands who want to find their place of value in the aesthetics, beauty, and wellness industries.
At Kendrick PR, our accomplished brand strategists understand how to get your new brand or product into the market and ahead of the competition – we have proven expertise in B2B launches for the aesthetic market, as well as a breadth of experience in B2C beauty and wellness brand launches. An effective launch strategy is critical for future business success, so if you’d like to work with us on a high-impact launch for your new product or brand, please do get in touch!