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The Power of Visuals: How Beauty Brands Use Imagery to Connect with Consumers

The Power of strong Beauty Imagery: how beauty brands use imagery to connect with consumers

Strategic tips for captivating brand imagery that engages customers on all channels 

Note: This article was originally published on LinkedIn. We have reposted it here to share its valuable insights with our audience. We respect copyright laws and have obtained permission to republish this content.

Lately, the high-growth, but increasingly crowded beauty industry has been top of mind for us. We’ve seen some interesting shifts over the last few years in this space, and wanted to share our own version of “Beauty Tips and Tricks”… but for ecommerce brands. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of brand imagery and provide valuable tips on how to create visuals that will make your brand stand out and drive growth.

The Shifting Beauty Landscape

In today’s digital age, the beauty industry is a competitive space, and beauty brands are facing several challenges in acquiring new customers. The rising cost of paid advertising, the influx of social media influencers, the growing demand for personalization, the need for sustainability, and the increasing popularity of clean beauty are all making it increasingly difficult for beauty brands to stand out from the competition. Additionally, while wholesale partnerships can be a great way to grow your brand, they’re not without their own set of issues. More on this later.

The Outset’s clean and simple approach reflects its brand values, while fully differentiating from its imagery on Sephora.com

One way to overcome these challenges is to invest in your brand imagery. Take, for example, The Outset‘s clean and simple approach, which not only reflects its brand values but also sets it apart from its imagery on SEPHORA.com. Having strong visuals that tell a unique brand story and educate consumers in-store will maximize your ROI from wholesale partnerships. For some consumers, this may be their first point of contact with your brand, and could, with the right visuals, be a starting point for a long (and loyal) relationship with you. The right brand imagery can help to inform new customers about your points of difference, build brand awareness, increase sales, and create a community of fans.

Read More: Are These Brands Showing Us The Future Of Product Detail Pages?

The Benefits of Wholesale

Let’s talk shop. Wholesale, once the sole gatekeeper of brands, is now being used as a formidable marketing channel. In this captivating arena where “try before you buy” reigns supreme, wholesale has become an important meeting point for customers and brands. Point of sale and in-store displays can really boost a brand’s presence.  Picture it: a chance encounter in the beauty aisle; the excitement of discovering a line they didn’t know existed; the ability to touch, feel, and try on a multitude of products.

By offering a tangible experience, you create a sense of trust and credibility that encourages potential customers to take the plunge.

The Limitations of Wholesale

Wholesale can be a powerful marketing channel for your brand, but let’s not overlook the limitations. When wholesale takes center stage, we give up a bit of control over the brand narrative, and the direct relationship with our customers is in danger of slipping away.  While wholesale partnerships can bring exposure and reach, they might not fully convey the essence of your brand or provide the opportunity for personalized interactions.

To leverage the benefits of wholesale while maintaining control over your brand, it’s crucial to capitalize on the initial meeting with customers. Spark a dialogue that extends beyond the wholesale encounter by encouraging them to explore your brand further. By directing customers to your online platforms, you can deepen the connection and continue the conversation in a space where you have more control over the brand narrative.

Building Upon Your Foundation: Strong Online Imagery

A brand’s website, therefore, becomes more than just a virtual storefront— it’s an immersive experience that ignites emotion and fosters genuine connections with consumers. How do we achieve this? Through captivating beauty photography,  mesmerizing videos, and a carefully curated brand narrative that threads through all of the above. Each visual element should contribute to the story you want to tell, evoking emotions and resonating with your audience.

Merit’s imagery is luxe and fashion-forward in lighting, styling, and casting- speaking directly to their trend-forward audience

For instance, take a look at MERIT‘s website—a prime example of utilizing enchanting beauty photography, compelling videos, and a thoughtfully designed brand narrative to create an immersive experience for its customers. The website feels more like a destination than a storefront, and it allows customers to connect with the brand on a deeper level.

Inviting customers to dive deeper into your brand’s universe is key to enhancing the overall customer journey. Use visually stunning galleries to showcase your products in various contexts, allowing customers to envision themselves using them. We love how Jones Road Beauty has shots of fingers pressing into their signature Miracle Balm – it not only gives an incredible sense of texture but also informs the customer that they have to ‘break the seal’ before applying the product. Behind-the-scenes beauty videos also provide a glimpse into the authenticity and craftsmanship behind your brand, creating a sense of transparency and trust. Interactive experiences, such as quizzes or virtual try-ons, engage customers and make them active participants in your brand story.

Jones Road Beauty does a lot of educating on how to apply their products to achieve their signature ‘no make-up make-up look

To create a tailored and intimate experience for your customers, leverage personalization. Curate content that aligns with their specific interests and preferences. By providing recommendations based on their previous interactions or offering exclusive content, you strengthen the emotional connection and make them feel seen and valued.

Read more: Hi-Production vs. Lo-Production Content and Why  Brands Need Both

Finding The Perfect Blend

So, here’s the secret recipe for sustainable growth: finding that perfect balance between wholesale exposure and our own digital storefront. While wholesale serves as a powerful channel for brand discovery and expansion, it must be thoughtfully balanced with brand-owned initiatives to create a seamless and harmonious experience for our customers.

Striking this equilibrium allows brands to leverage the benefits of wholesale while maintaining control over the brand narrative and cultivating direct relationships with customers. Brands can use wholesale partnerships as an opportunity to amplify their brand presence, enticing customers to explore their unique digital realms. This can include exclusive discounts, limited edition products, or access to insider content. By providing incentives for customers to visit the brand’s website or engage on social media, brands can extend the customer journey and deepen the connection beyond the initial wholesale encounter.

@glossier offers exclusive deals on their digital storefront that aren’t offered through their wholesale partners

Glossier, Inc. is a beauty brand that has been very successful in leveraging wholesale while maintaining control over its brand. Glossier products are sold in select retail stores, but the brand also has a strong online presence. On its website, Glossier offers a variety of content that encourages customers to explore the brand further, such as blog posts, product tutorials, and behind-the-scenes videos. Glossier also has a strong social media presence, where it engages with customers and shares exclusive content.

Maintaining consistency in storytelling across all marketing channels is vital. Your brand should convey a unified message that aligns with your core values, regardless of the channel. If you’re creating educational content on Instagram, ensure that it continues on your website to provide a seamless experience for your customers. Consistency helps reinforce your brand’s identity and strengthens the bond with your audience.

Strategic Tips for Investing in Brand Imagery

We promised tips. Here are a few strategic ways to invest in your brand imagery:

  1. Start with the Strategy: A beautiful image can only go so far if your brand lacks a consistent narrative. It’s like having a purposeful relationship between each image that ties back to your core brand values. You want to tell a story that’s captivating, compelling, and uniquely you.
  2. Shift Campaign Dollars Into Your Product Detail Pages: This is often overlooked, but the PDP is like your virtual fitting room. Use imagery that’s not only informative but also creates an emotional connection that makes customers go, “I must have it!”. (I.E. basic white product shots alone might not have the lift you’re looking for)
  3. Tell a Consistent Story Across All Marketing Channels: Remember, we want all facets of our brand to march to the same beat. Whether it’s Instagram, your website, or even carrier pigeons delivering messages (just kidding!), consistency is key. Educate your customers, entertain them, and make sure they understand how to use your products across all channels.
  4. Focus on Creating a Special Experience For Repeat Customers: Repeat customers are the ones who keep coming back for more, let’s give them the VIP treatment they deserve. Establish a dialogue, create a special community, and use creative assets that make them feel like they’re part of something extraordinary. In fact, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. This means that if you can focus on keeping your existing customers happy, you’ll be much more likely to see long-term success

There is no denying that this is an exciting time for beauty brands. If you can find that perfect blend of wholesale and your digital storefront, while captivating your audience through strategic storytelling, you won’t just build a customer base, but create a community of brand loyalists.

Editorialized product imagery performs well because it tells a story and evokes emotions

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