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.

Branding Lessons from Brands I Love #2

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 or 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.

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