• Bex Highfield

How to Make Your Beauty Brand Stand Out


Over the past few years there have been a number of indie beauty brands that have found huge success, relatively quickly. Morphe, Charlotte Tilbury, Drunk Elephant. Each of these companies scaled at an extremely impressive rate and one that left a lot of the beauty world in absolute awe.

As well as all having brilliant products which is, of course, the primary concern when it comes to creating a brand that people love, these indie companies have one thing in common: They are clear on their vision, their target customer and their communication strategy.

From heading up beauty buying at Selfridges I have a gut reaction to know what brands will make it. I now help brands develop their strategy to ensure they have the same opportunity to stand out in the crowded retail space. Here are some tips:

Step one: Uncover your niche

One of the best ways to uncover your niche is to first consider what your brand values are. If you’re the founder, this will often be entwined with your own. For example, The Body Shop has brand values including sustainability and kindness to animals and Fenty Beauty is focused on inclusivity.

Alongside your values, it’s also absolutely crucial to assess your unique selling points (USPs). Often your values and USPs may be similar. For example, whilst Fenty Beauty has values surrounding inclusivity, their USP is their incredible shade range of makeup because of this value. Your USPs could be related to any of the following: price point, ethical values, packaging, ingredients, formulas, target demographics, location or customer service.

Your brand values, combined with your USP, come together to create your niche as a company. Never underestimate the power that this alone will have in getting you to stand out from the crowd.

Step two: Define your niche with market research

If you think you’ve found your niche, it’s time to validate your instincts with some evidence.

Begin with in-depth competitor analysis, you will better understand where your brand fits in the market and how important it is to communicate a point of difference.

Next build a customer profile so you know everything about your customer. It will help inform the decisions that you make, understanding how they want to be communicated to, what their wants and needs are and what they expect from you. Over time, this will allow you to build a business that is truly customer-centric.

Step three: Create a powerful mission statement

Ultimately, all of the research and planning that you do comes down to creating a mission statement. It feeds into everything from product range and marketing, to branding and retail strategy. So, It’s crucial to make it razor sharp. Create a mission statement that incorporates your company values and your USPs, all of which you validated through market research. Work on it. Refine it. Leave it alone for a week. And then refine it again!

Step four: Create a communication strategy that counts

At this point, you now know what your mission is as a brand and who you are trying to communicate to in order to stand out.

Consumers will need to see your marketing messages multiple times before purchasing, therefore it is important to ensure consistent communication across all customer touchpoints. So, one of the key tasks that I always recommend my clients do to create a customer-centric strategy is to create content pillars. These are the main themes that your brand discusses both online and off. For example, Charlotte Tilbury’s content pillars include: a strong visible founder story, her work and the looks she creates, makeup tutorials, overtly feminine lifestyle content and, of course, their products.

The important thing to remember is that these content pillars need to speak to your target audience’s interests (which you should have uncovered through market research) and at the same time act as a way of communicating your mission statement indirectly.

Why this is so important

Attempting to “stand out” in a sea of brands can feel like a challenge, by identifying your brands’ “why” and then standing out to your ideal customer will give you a greater opportunity. By getting clear on who you’re targeting and ensuring that they are centric to everything you create, you will be seen by the people that will want to invest in your brand.

These steps will be key to building a larger and more loyal customer base, but also being attractive to retailers that are always seeking brands with a defined vision. Ensure you are re-visiting these steps on a regular basis, as the market changes quickly and so do customer’s interests. I suggest keeping your eyes on brands like Colourpop, Dr Barbara Strum and Farsali, I am predicting to see similar levels of success from these brands.

About Wizz Selvey

Wizz is a brand and retail expert. Her consultancy business helps innovative brands position their brand in a competitive market and stand out to create customer and buyer demand. After heading up Beauty Buying at Selfridges, fifteen years in the industry have provided experience across brands at all stages of their development.

It is the cross-pollination of ideas between independent brands and large corporations that fuels her knowledge of business growth. Wizz is a regular speaker on beauty trends and how to build innovative brands.

Check out her website here, and Instagram here.


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