Whether you’re a business or an individual, it’s obvious that branding matters – but why exactly is branding important, and how does it affect consumer behaviours in 2023? Karen Tan, Director of Integrated Marketing, Sephora SEA, analyses what modern consumers want from brands and how Sephora Asia’s branding efforts go beyond just beauty.
Creating Meaningful Experiences
Branding is more than a catchy jingle or a standout logo. Consumers want to know that the brands that they support hold values that are aligned with theirs. Equally, a growing base of consumers are increasingly vested in brands that make a meaningful impact on society and the environment. To ensure relevance and maintain the connection, organisations have to first look within to define goals and values according to Karen.
“Branding is anchored in our identity as a company, so we have to be crystal clear on what that is and how that supports our company goals and values,” states Karen.
“As a global expert in beauty, Sephora is a beauty destination where consumers find the right solutions for their needs. As a thought-leader in the industry with a strong point of view on the latest trends, it is equally important that we create an inclusive world where everyone can celebrate their beauty.”
Curated storytelling, personalised recommendations and services, loyalty rewards program and unique omni-channel experiences are examples of how the Sephora team keeps and grows its beauty community.
Needless to say, Sephora has become the go-to for diverse and inclusive product offerings – from a wide spectrum of foundation shades to carefully curated brands and exclusive labels. Sephora’s ability to seamlessly integrate its online shopping experiences with its brick-and-mortar store network through services such as “click & collect” and “chatBA” helps make products more accessible and the user experience more personalised.
Build Trust by Being Authentic
Authenticity in a brand means being honest, transparent, and accountable for their actions and values – all of which builds trust in consumers. In today’s hyperconnected world, insincerity is easily sniffed out, giving greater importance to brand transparency.
“When brands deviate from their core values, consumers are not afraid to call them out.” says Karen, speaking from over 15 years of marketing experience.
Karen highlights how inclusive and curated product offerings go beyond just bringing something new to the shelves – they can demonstrate a company’s commitment to its values. One example is Sephora’s Clean + Planet Positive product seal that helped build a community of eco-conscious consumers. “Sustainability, inclusive beauty, and diversity is important to us. I’d like to think we’re on our way to cultivating the world’s largest and most inclusive beauty community in our Beauty Pass program.”
Take a Stand
But what does driving change look like? Whether it’s leveraging their reach, resources, or people, to make an impact on the social issues they believe in, purposeful brands recognise that power and flex it.
Take vegan and cruelty-free brands, like celebrity-singer Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, for instance. Rare Beauty commits to increasing access to mental health resources through its Rare Impact Fund. Besides channelling 1% of Rare Beauty’s sales to the Fund, it also “raises additional funds with philanthropic foundations, corporate partners, and individuals within the community.” Rare Beauty has won loyal fans’ hearts for championing and taking tangible actions to a cause close to its founder’s heart.
Ultimately, when it comes to crafting a unique brand, the sky’s the limit – but some things remain evergreen. When asked for her final takeaways, Karen keeps it short and sweet – “Be meaningful, authentic, and stick at it.”