The COPYGOLD blog

Here you'll find the things and events that inspire and shape the work of New York-based advertising copywriter Katja Bartholmess. A trend spotter, fashion friend, globetrotter and party host, she promises to entertain and delight. -- Tends to be opinionated, so read at your own peril.

Katja
Sep 8th, 2011

The September issue of GCI, the leading industry magazine for the global beauty industry, just published an expert article I co-wrote with Ron Robinson of BeautyStat.

Titled Learning Social Media's Lessons it deals with the following topics:

  • Where we were in 2010 and where we are in 2011
  • What's working for Beauty Brands, with practical tips broken down by category:
  • Anti-Aging & Anti-Acne
  • Color Cosmetics & Nails
  • Hair
  • Fragrance

This is how GCI describes itself:

GCI magazine is the business information resource for marketers, brand managers, manufacturers and executives in the global beauty industry. Industry professionals look to GCI for the strategies, trends, analyses and market data that translate into brand impact.

I feel honored to be featured in this industry magazine that I am an avid reader of myself and hope this article helps beauty brands everywhere to channel the powers of social media to build their brands, touch their audiences, and boost their sales.

Katja
Apr 13th, 2011

For this monthly interview series, I have been talking to beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands that have a firm place in my heart and a firm grasp on how to put their products and services front and center of their audiences.

Today's brand: YES TO, Inc

Ido Leffler, co-founder and -- as it is written on his business card -- Chief Carrot Lover of Yes To Carrots, takes "living your brand" to the next level. When I met him first at beauty conference COSMOPROF in Las Vegas, the carrot theme in his attire was subtle but hard to miss. From shirt to tie to smartphone cover, everything boasted the friendly, orange color of the carrot. I love their shampoos and conditioners and I really love that they have a social consciousness -- as someone who's never forgotten her days as a passionate school gardener, I'm particularly fond of their school garden partnerships. Let's hear what Ido has to say about their approach to branding:

COPYGOLD: What do you do to keep your brand current and  relevant to your customers?

Ido Leffler:
The most important thing we do is to bring the customer into the equation form the beginning. Our customer IS part of the family and they know that they can help shape what we do as a company. 

As the brand has grown from 16 stores to 28,000 we have always kept the customer in the loop every step of the way. I still chat with our VICs, our Very Important Carrots every day! -- A Very Important Carrot is someone we choose based on how they communicate with us and how much love they show the brand. There is no scientific way to choose a VIC, however, we and they see and feel it like love at first sight. Customers help us with product suggestions, improving our formulas, and even giving us ideas for copy on our packaging!

COPYGOLD: What are your favorite ways to communicate with your customers and what do you plan on trying out in the future? 

Ido Leffler: I love Facebook, personally and professionally, and I tend to spend my weekends checking out all of the comments on the Yes To Carrots Fan page. I'll reach out directly to people that make comments I love, or to directly address any concerns if they come up. However, face-to-face interaction is always better! In the future, I see us holding national summits for our most loyal fans, Carrot Lovers and VICs. Who knows maybe on a cruise ship??

COPYGOLD: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about building a brand? 

Ido Leffler: Always stay true to who you are as brand. Yes To's voice, energy and culture are the basis of who and what we are. I think we will be truly successful if we are able to keep that fun, vibrant spirit as we continue to grow and evolve.


P.S. If you want to talk to me about building your brand -- branding strategy, social media, and copywriting -- you can write to me at katja@copygold.com or call me at (917) 365 6106. I look forward to hearing from you!

Katja
Mar 28th, 2011

For this monthly interview series, I have been talking to beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands that have a firm place in my heart and a firm grasp on how to put their products and services front and center of their audiences.

Today, I'm thrilled to share with you the interview I did with Carrie Gross, president and CEO of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare. Their convenient and powerful Alpha Beta Peel pads have been a staple on my bathroom shelf for a couple of years now and besides the results that speak for themselves (or wouldn't you agree?) there's just that little something about the brand that makes me trust them. Let's hear what Carrie has to say about their approach to branding:

COPYGOLD: What do you do to keep your brand current and relevant to your customer?

Carrie Gross: We listen to our consumers’ needs and seek to add a distinct point of difference to our products through utilizing new ingredients and/or providing an innovative delivery system. We don’t jump on every trend and we keep in line with our brand philosophy, which is to provide anti-aging skincare with serious clinical benefits. There has to be a compelling reason for us to enter a new product category. We seek to solve problems, and find faster, more effective treatments for our clients.

We have a loyal following because Dr. Gross stands behind each and every product, as he personally selects all ingredients and formulates all of the treatments in our line. We follow current events and stay in tune with hot topics revolving around health and beauty so we can keep our finger on the pulse of what is going on in the industry and where the voids are.

 
C: What are your favorite ways to communicate with your customers and what do you plan on trying out in the future?

CG: We continue to be excited about social media. But more specifically, we are excited about the consumer interaction it enables.

Customers like to consult reviews and hear what others have to say about a particular treatment product or line. We encourage our customers to send in their testimonials, as our brand has been mostly spread through word of mouth. We also encourage reviews on our partner sites such as Sephora.com or QVC.com and we read them every day! It’s exciting to see the passion our users have for our products. It motivates us to keep inventing novel treatments and breakthrough beauty products.

In the coming year we’re starting a beauty blog to provide beauty tips, helpful hints and suggestions and further familiarize our consumers with Dr. Gross’ philosophy on health and beauty.

 
C: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about building a brand?


CG: There’s a quote that’s like a mantra to me, which I read in the Brand Gap. It states, “A Brand Is Not What We Say It Is, It is What You Say It Is.”

We need to know exactly what our consumers are thinking and feeling. I dedicate a lot of time to fully understanding what they are looking for. I’m in the store speaking with them, I’m sitting next to them when they’re with an aesthetician, and I’m definitely shopping where they shop.

We have to appeal to what our customer wants and not to what we think our customers want. It’s an ongoing learning process that’s crucial to building a brand.


C: Thank you so much for talking to me, Carrie!  

If you want to find out more about beauty & social media, you may find my blogpost "Beauty goes social media -- but how?" of interest to you.

And if you want to receive your Branding Lessons in your inbox, just subscribe here.

 

Katja
Jan 25th, 2011

Whenever someone mentions the possibilities of digital and social media for the beauty industry, faces light up. But soon enough, smiles give way to furrowed brows and questions: How to get a handle on it? How to monetize it smartly? How to do it right?

 

If only this (relatively) new yet all-encompassing area came with a manual, right?

 

Well, while the Digital Beauty panel, organized by Cosmetic Executive Women, didn’t exactly promise a manual, it did invite the leading ladies behind the social and digital marketing efforts of beauty giants like Estée Lauder, Maybelline New York-Garnier, and mark. to share their insights on how to navigate the world of digital beauty and social marketing.

 

Let me share some of them back to you.

 

Marisa Thalberg (Estée Lauder) says it’s not a good idea to apply the copy&paste mindset: “Consumers expect a varied experience across the wealth of media they deal with. Cater to that expectation.“

 

Kristen Yraola (Maybelline New York – Garnier) highlights each brand’s new responsibility: “From here on out, you have to both educate and entertain your consumer.“

 

Annemarie Frank (mark.) found my favorite comparison: “Digital and social is like a new, foreign language. You have to learn how to say Thank you, Please, and Where can I find the bathroom?“

 

They all agree that we’re experiencing a “true paradigm shift,“ “a sea change“ and that digital and social media marketing is here to stay.

 

Thalberg, who also tweets as @executivemoms, said that beauty is prone to being successful in the realms of social media as women are really passionate about their beauty products and beauty and skincare in general. Opinions are strong and cosnumers are open to if not downright eager to share. Case in point: In the two years since they opened the Estée Lauder websites for reviews, more than 200,000 consumers shared their thoughts and opinions about certain products.

 

Frank was one of the first to monetize Facebook and turn it into a sales tool for their sales representative. mark. caters to generation Y, the web smart “digital natives“ and meets them exactly where they are. On Facebook, chatting with their friends. “I have one question I always ask.“ says Frank, “How can we provide support to our representatives?“

 

mark.’s sales reps (who are in the same age group as their customers) can set up shop directly within Facebook. And there are fun tools like inviting friends to chip in on a birthday present for a friend or selling directly through a link in a status update. Frank says “We think it’s a successful concept and what’s really important: Our sales reps just love it!“

 

Thalberg mentions JetBlue, Starbucks, Best Buy, and Charming (yes, the toilet paper!) as best practice examples for intriguing social media activities. “They seem to be doing a great job of leveraging traffic and bringing people to the stores.“

 

Yraola focusses on a smooth experience. “When technology becomes invisible and intuitive, that’s when you know you’ve done it right.“

 

My personal favorite was Thalberg’s assessment that you need to have a passion for understanding the consumer’s everyday behavior and that you have to be a kind of cultural anthropologist to get social media right. (Of course that’s my favorite quote, my Masters is in socio-cultural anthropology and I always thought it served me well.)

 

She also urges beauty brands to understand the „inherent service proposition“ that social media has. “Creating great experiences is key.“

 

Well, let’s go out and create fantastic experiences for our consumers while making sure the bottom line is taken care of.

 

And if you are interested in finding exciting ways to reach out to your consumers, I’d love to hear from you. When it comes to social media campaign for the beauty industry, I work with BeautyStat, a social media interface between beauty brands and consumers through their community of over 31,000 beauty addicts. Talk to me about it at katja@copygold.com

 

Thank you to the Digital Beauty panel: Annemarie Frank, director of e-commerce, digital media and strategic alliances for mark., Marisa Thalberg, vice president of global digital marketing for The Estée Lauder Companies and Kristen Yraola, assistant vice president of digital media and Internet for Maybelline New York-Garnier.

Katja
Jan 19th, 2011

Today, I'm excited to share the first edition of "Branding Lessons From the Brands I Love" with you.

For this monthly interview series, I have been talking to beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands that have a firm place in my heart and a firm grasp on how to put their products and services front and center of their audiences.

In the hope that my curiosity yields findings that may inspire you and your work, I'm sharing the answers with you.

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RENT THE RUNWAY

Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss, co-founders of Rent The Runway, a rapidly growing service that allows its customers to comfortably rent rather than buy dresses -- and who are the reason why you never see me wearing the same thing twice -- answered my questions.

COPYGOLD: What do you do to keep your brand current and relevant to customers?
Jenn & Jenny: The most important thing we do to stay relevant is listen to our customers. Some of our best ideas have come from our members and those are the people that we want to make happy. That’s why from the start we’ve built an amazing team of stylists whose entire job is focused on talking to customers through calls, email, and chat, and learning about who they are and want they want.
 
C: What are your favorite ways to communicate with your customers and what do you plan on trying out in the future?
J & J: Our 10 stylists are definitely great points of contact for our customers, but there’s also a variety of touch points. A lot of the social networking tools are great because they provide live feedback on how you’re doing. We particularly love facebook where we can see how great all the women look in our dresses, but twitter is also nice for quick reactions. And of course our blog is a great way for us to share some of our favorite trends and style advice and hear more from our customers. As far as the future we’re excited about providing even more content and value for our customers through the blog and on our site.
 
C: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about building a brand?
J & J: Stay true to who you are and don’t try to be all things to all people. From the start, we’ve been a service focused business where our goal is to make the customer happy. We don’t need to have the most fashionable, most high-tech cutting-edge products; we need to have the products that our customer wants.

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Thanks for reading! I'd warmly welcome your suggestions -- or for requests to collaborate with your brand. Write to me at katja@copygold.com