Why Beauty Bay Decided To Break The Rules

Europe’s largest independent online beauty destination Beauty Bay has had a makeover, centred around a new powerful proposition of Break The Rules.

And through the process they have thrown out the cosmetic marketing rulebook to develop a creative attitude that matches their brave challenger brand position.

The brand’s striking new identity has now been rolled out across all of its consumer touchpoints – from website to social media channels – and is already proving a huge hit with its digitally empowered target audience – the core of which is 16-25 year olds.

The new brand identity and proposition has been created by digital-first design agency MERó in partnership with the Beauty Bay in-house team and its head of creative George Burton.

Andy Culbert, MERó’s founder who led the agency’s work explains how the project came about:

“The company was born in the late 1990s, the same year as many of its current core customers. But things were very different then. The entire world wasn’t digital. Originally an online business selling fragrances the brand and name reflected this. The business and the brand evolved over the years, but to truly resonate with its core audience who live their lives digitally it needed an overhaul.

“The starting point was to throw away any preconceived ideas of Beauty Bay’s audience and to create a definitive view of the actual target audience’s current online behaviours, influences and expectations – as they are today (with one eye also on what they might be in the coming years).

“This involved ‘Live the Brand Workshops’, social listening and lots of market research – not just within the cosmetics sector but in the main fast-fashion world. The insight was mixed in with Beauty Bay’s own internal culture – already defined as ‘ambitious and creative boundary pushers’. The process also heavily involved buy in from all areas of the organisation to not only manage the development of a brave new look and feel, but to engender the necessary shift to a digital-first culture.”

The research revealed a wealth of information about Beauty Bay’s actual customers and their behaviours. The customer journey was also explored in much more detail, and core influences on their purchasing decisions.

The original brief needed to shift (which meant Beauty Bay and MERó working in partnership to approach the project from a different starting point) and from this in-depth insight came the decision to throw out any preconceived ideas of what a beauty brand should be, pushing boundaries within the sector, yet with a firm focus on the consumer. A unifying yet flexible vision for the future became the new brief.

Underlying keywords running through the development process included: Beauty Bay is Fast. Pioneering. Different. Disruptive and a multitude of creative avenues were explored. Through a variety of testing processes the successful route – a brave, fearless brand identity that challenges conventions and aims to redefine the idea of what beauty is - was rolled out across Beauty Bay’s consumer touchpoints using agile methodologies. The new brand was first unveiled in Spring and now appears across the majority of forms and spaces of the business.

The brand now has the flexibility to adapt to the fluidity of the beauty sector and the digital landscape. It was achieved this by taking a completely digital-first approach, designing for how Beauty Bay customers are engaging with them – from Instagram and YouTube to Pinterest and Twitter. It offers a mix of fixed and flexible brand design to mirror today’s constantly changing world and allow them to react to seasonal trends and palettes.

“Beauty Bay needed a strong identity to stand out against the many brands it stocks. It now has a consistent look and language in every channel, and from the smallest spaces to the largest. Even the choice of typeface was selected with a digital-first approach and showed how effective even the smallest of design elements were going to be as part of enhancing the user experience.”

Andy Culbert added, “Most importantly they have a visual style and personality that truly sets them apart and that lives up to their brand essence: ‘We don’t play by the rules, we break them’.

“It has delivered a re-brand that has future-proofed the business.”

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