May 7, 2023

How to master video content like top beauty and fashion brands

The rise of video marketing has led to an ever-growing demand for video content, with Tiktok, Instagram Reels and YouTube now becoming the go-to channels for engaging with beauty and fashion brands. As a result, brands are now caught in a never-ending cycle of content creation to keep up with this increasing demand. More time, budget, and resources are being allocated to create standout video content, making a well-defined strategy crucial to avoid potential brand dilution overtime.

Recently, we were featured in a Shopify article and spoke of the significance of storytelling in producing impactful content. Video is the ultimate medium for brand storytelling and when done right, can evoke emotion that builds connection and set a brand apart from its competitors.

Strategies for Effective Video-First Brand Storytelling

Brand Centric Narratives
Leading beauty brands adopt a best-practice approach, where video content is derived from strategic content pillars, which stem from a robust brand positioning strategy and brand story. This method infuses content with their brand's essence and effectively showcases their values and unique identity in all creative. These stories can revolve around the brand’s unique-selling proposition (USP), the ‘reason-to-believe’ or the proof that backs up a brand's USP claims. Beyond product features and benefits, stories about the deeper impact of a brand on the lives of their customers can also be incredibly powerful.

Behind-the-scenes content has traditionally driven high engagement, and currently taking off online is the ‘building in public’ approach whereby startup founders share the behind-the-scenes journey of building a brand. This includes both the highs and lows, the successes and failures, which help create a sense of openness, transparency, as their community comes along for the ride. Brand’s can’t afford for this to be their only content strategy, as it's essential to balance this with other engaging and relevant content that showcases the brand's values, offerings, and personality to keep the audience captivated and connected.

Consumer Centric Narratives
In this video-focused era, product-review style user-generated content (UGC) can be a valuable asset for short-term conversion, but maintaining a brand's unique identity amid a sea of similar ‘UGC product review’ style content is essential. By focusing on consumer-centric narratives, brands can create stories that show empathy toward their audience's aspirations, challenges, and desires. This approach puts customers at the centre of the content, strengthening their connection with the brand. 

Collaborating with influencers and content creators who embody a brand's values and aesthetic can further enhance the co-creation of these types of brand narratives. Choosing influencers who can seamlessly blend their stories with a brand's values will result in content that deeply resonates with the target audience.

Case Study: Estrid
The power of storytelling to differentiate is exemplified by the Swedish personal care brand Estrid, known for their razors and their value proposition 'a razor not like the others'. They’ve managed to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary through a unique brand narrative, amplified by brand ambassadors who personify their brand’s values.

Execution is Everything

Well produced content doesn't necessarily mean ‘high-budget’, but brand-consistent. Consistency in video content is crucial for maintaining a strong brand identity. Considering your brand positioning when it comes to making the right choice for video copy, music selection, color grading, and transitions ensures a cohesive brand experience across all your brand experiences. When working with creators, it's important to strike a balance between giving them creative freedom and adhering to the brand's positioning to avoid any unexpected discrepancies.

In conclusion, video content offers an invaluable opportunity for brands to forge connections and engage with their audience through captivating storytelling. By developing a well-defined strategy, leveraging influencers more strategically, maintaining consistency in content execution, and focusing on the right balance of brand vs. customer-centric narratives, brands can deliver compelling video narratives that resonate with their audience and elevate their brand to new heights. 


Discover new ways to elevate your brand's video content with a complimentary social video audit. Our team will identify key areas where you can optimize your content to better engage with your audience and showcase your brand's unique story. Simply submit your details, and within three business days, we'll provide you with personalized insights tailored to your brand's needs.

April 1, 2023

Beat the Copycats: How Indie Beauty Brands Fight Back in 2023

Imitation might be a form of flattery, but when it comes to copycats ripping off product ideas, visual identity, packaging, and brand campaign shoots, flattery takes a backseat. So, how are brands fighting back in 2023?

1. Strengthen B2C & B2B Community Bonds

The most successful brands focus not just on building strong B2C customer relationships but on building strong relationships with their entire ecosystem of stakeholders to solidify their market position. By nurturing a rich network of relationships, brands accumulate trust indicators over time that encourage well-informed customers to choose them over copycat competitors.

Some beauty brands address copycat issues head-on, on social media, by sharing their story boldly in a way that rallies their community. This approach can actually build further trust and cohesion amongst their customer base. For brands taking this avenue, it's essential to be cautious and avoid exposing oneself to liabilities such as slander or libel. This direct approach works incredibly well for brands with a brand DNA or tone of voice that is bold, daring, and fearless. However, for other brands with a vastly different brand DNA and tone, the same approach would fall flat, doing more harm to your brand than good.

Brands like Youthforia, a Gen Z color cosmetics brand, have successfully employed this strategy with content calling out a copycat being among their highest engagement posts.

@youthforia Replying to @sacheu sending 💗💗 to all small business owners who’ve experienced this #beautydupes #makeupfounder #beautyfounder ♬ Blade Runner 2049 - Synthwave Goose

2. Tell a Unique Story

Customers naturally crave brands that exude authenticity, inspire trust, and align with their personal values. To meet the mark, brands must ensure their content goes beyond merely speaking about product features, benefits, and trending memes, and incorporate strategic brand storytelling to build real affinity with their audiences by going beyond surface-level themes. Successful brands are those that master the art of using their brand DNA and voice as filters to determine which trending content best complements their digital marketing strategy. Brands with unique identities and values woven into their content strategies engage more effectively with their online audiences across multiple social channels.

3. Reinvest in Innovation
In an ongoing series by Beauty Independent, beauty brand founders and executives shared their experiences dealing with copycats or counterfeits. In this article, it was revealed that when some founders observed smaller and larger brands mimicking their packaging, visuals, and graphic approach, which has prompted their companies to continuously innovate.

It's also been revealed that some D2C brands now intentionally look for opportunities to streamline operations with automation, to reallocate resources into innovation, and outperform the competition. By allocating incremental resources to R&D, brand-building content campaigns, and CRM strategy, indie beauty brands can stay one step ahead. It's this constant drive for innovation in product and brand communications that makes it harder for copycats to keep up.

4. Call in the Reinforcements

Some businesses are taking extra measures, such as creating distinct packaging and labeling, or adding security layers to distinguish genuine products from fake ones when needed.

When copycats overstep legal boundaries, it's essential to bring in professional assistance. Intellectual property lawyers clarify that if a "substantial similarity" exists between the original and a copycat in terms of copyright, pursuing a legal case is a viable option.

Legal action can become crucial in protecting a brand and its loyal following, as customers with issues regarding poor-quality counterfeits often contact the original company with complaints, tarnishing their reputation. While counterfeits can be flattering, they can also pose serious health risks to consumers.

In conclusion, indie beauty brands can effectively combat copycats by fostering robust communities, sharing unique brand stories, investing in innovation, and seeking appropriate legal support when necessary. This multifaceted approach empowers brands to protect their reputation and ensure the safety and satisfaction of their customers.

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March 16, 2023

How to Get Your Beauty Brand into Sephora

Sephora is the ultimate destination for beauty brands looking to reach the next level and attract new customers. To help make that dream a reality, this article will explore essential considerations such as understanding market trends and consumer demand, fostering an irresistible brand image, and developing a strong network in the beauty industry that can help you get closer to this goal.


Ensure You Align with Market Trends & Consumer Demand

A retail buyer knows the market inside out. They have a solid understanding of what's hot right now and the next big things in beauty. Before considering approaching a retail buyer, you must be confident that your products align with market demands and capitalize on consumer interest.

Retailers only want to stock products that people can't get enough of. The best way to show your product is a fit for the market is to already have a thriving community of brand fanatics and a selection of standout best-sellers that your community loves. This is the social proof you'll need to show retailers that your product is fit for the market and in demand.

It's also important to show traction, visibility, and existing buzz around your brand. Influencer collaborations and press coverage can help demonstrate your brand's growth and potential.

Establish a Crystal Clear Target Customer Profile

One common mistake beauty founders make is claiming that their brand is for everyone. Although retailers have a diverse customer base, it's critical to identify your brand's precise target demographic. This information will help a retailer understand how your products fit within their existing portfolio and cater to their different customer segments. Get to know your existing customer community inside out, so you can get crystal clear on articulating who your products are crafted for.

Nail Your USP, Brand Story & Bring Your Branding A-Game

To pique a retailer's interest, you'll need to highlight what sets your brand apart from competitors on two levels. Firstly, consider your unique selling proposition (USP), or how your product range and formulations differ from competitors. Secondly, beyond talking about your product offering, what is the brand story that you've woven through your digital marketing that has made customers fall in love with you? What does your brand stand for, what are your brand values, brand personality, and tone of your brand? And how is this different from your competitors? This is your secret sauce for standing out from the competition and attracting even more brand fanatics. This is what retailers look for in the most compelling pitches, to be confident that you can truly bring something new to their lineup.

An impressive brand presence can significantly boost your brand's credibility. Is your brand dressed for the occasion? A consistent brand image and visual identity across your packaging and digital brand channels will show your commitment to excellence. That means getting consistent and cohesive.

Side note: Pretty packaging is great, but let's not forget that demonstrating the operational capacity to fulfill and replenish orders, as well as meet supply chain requirements, is absolutely crucial.


Build Connections, Get Retailer Eyes on Your Brand & Ask for Meetings

Networking is vital for gaining access to retail decision-makers. Attend in-person industry events, trade shows, and connect with fellow founders, industry insiders, and influencers from trade press editors to trade show organizers to expand your network. Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to identify and connect with relevant retail buyers and representatives. Don't hesitate to leverage personal or industry connections for introductions or referrals to the right buyers, to submit an introductory pitch deck, or to arrange a meeting.

Some retailers do allow you to submit an expression of interest directly via their corporate websites in some special cases. The traditional approach of sending professionally curated samples and information directly to the specific buyers at their corporate headquarters, followed by LinkedIn or email communication, remains a viable option. And depending on where you’re based, leveraging online platforms such as RangeMe or IBMG's Adit that are popular in the US can effectively draw retail buyers' attention to your brand. Additionally applying for retailer Accelerator programs can also bring you one step closer to this goal.

Persistence is Key
From the brands we’ve worked with and contacts in our industry network, we know that getting into the retailer of your dreams doesn’t happen overnight; it can take a year, two or three, and doesn't usually happen just after the first meeting. The name of the game is being persistent, consistent, and open to refining your pitch based on feedback from retailers or industry experts along the way, to perfect your approach.

Nothing can stop someone whose mind is set on an outcome. Whilst you wait, continue to build and nurture your community, get more growth and traction, level up your branding, expand and nurture your industry network and keep creating even more amazing products people can’t get enough.

In conclusion, pitching your beauty brand to Sephora or any other retail requires a combination of market research, an existing brand tribe, an airtight brand positioning strategy, professional branding, strategic networking, and persistence. By following these guidelines, you can increase your chances of securing a coveted spot on Sephora's shelves and propel your brand to new heights.

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March 2, 2023

How Indie Beauty Brands Can Use Authentic Stories to Grow Their Tribe

Brands that craft content around authentic stories that showcase their unique brand values, missions, and Founder journey have the upper hand when it comes to cutting through and connecting with customers on a deeper level.

Here we discuss what we can learn from 3 disruptor brands who are making a name for themselves when it comes to stories that connect with and build community. These brands have successfully defined and amplified the soul of their brand, have an authentic story, and create unique brand-aligned social content that doesn't look and sound like everyone else.


Selfmade describes itself as the first emotionally intelligent personal care brand. They create face and body essentials that can be paired with online resources and a well-being app to create rituals that nurture physical and emotional well-being.

From the ins and outs of buffing and smoothing skin to how to shift into a more secure mindset with relationships, and the Founder's story of going from being bullied as a child to now a BIPOC Founder kicking goals, their content has substance. True to form, their strategy to engage their community is also stellar. From a book club that delves into emotional well-being titles to a Junior Advisory Board that comes together to share ideas and co-create with the founding team, building community has been key to the brand from Day 1.


Ruka is a black hair care brand changing the game. They prioritize healthy hair, reject harmful beauty standards, and aim to build a community that celebrates the cultural significance and versatility of Black hair.

Brands serious about building community do more than just speak about their products in their social content. Alongside core product content, Ruka sprinkles stories about hair freedom and hair liberation, how doing one's hair is an act of self-love, and they also put a spotlight on the stories of members of their "Co-creator" community. Their Co-creators road-test new products, share feedback and access perks, have launched a crowd-funding initiative, and host live hair and retail events.

Axiology Beauty

Axiology is a zero-waste makeup brand. Their brand creates plastic-free, vegan, and cruelty-free multi-use crayons and sticks for eyes, lips, and cheeks.

With the mission to end plastic waste in beauty, the brand galvanizes its community through content around brand-aligned social and environmental issues and the support of like-minded sustainable businesses. Refreshingly authentic, the content also offers a glimpse into the Founders' journey and behind the scenes with the team.

What can up-and-coming beauty brands learn from these leading examples?

  • Identify what makes your brand unique and what values it stands for. Consider how you can authentically weave these into your content and customer interactions.
  • Share the story of how your brand came to be, including the Founder's journey, mission, and values. Be honest and open in your storytelling.
  • Develop social media content that showcases your brand's unique personality and values. Consider how you can incorporate your community's feedback and input into your content.
  • Think about how you can nurture your community and build engagement. Consider hosting events, developing co-creator programs, and providing resources that are relevant and useful to your customers.

By taking these actions, beauty brands can deepen their connections with customers and establish a loyal community that is invested in their mission and values.

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November 22, 2021

What Emerging Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle eCommerce Brands Need to Know about Digital Brand Marketing

In addition to paid channels, organic channels still can punch above their weight when it comes to driving sales growth through customer acquisition and retention. Although key social channels will evolve as new players join the scene, a solid strategy will never go out of style.

The most powerful content comes from a solid definition of a brand’s strategy. All-round effective strategy boosts the flow-on effect of organic traffic, captured as incremental sales on site. This is why organic strategy is the go-to for lean brands in their early phases of growth. So what are the keys to maximizing the opportunity?

Know your audience and your competitors

In short, the perfect content strategy brings to life compelling narratives that take into account who your customers are and how you meet their needs and understand their world, as well as what you do and how you do it, that’s unique to you.

Use social content analysis tools to find what your audience already resonates with the most across your channels and your competitors' channels. Then put a twist on these themes with new brand stories tied directly back to your brand DNA. The key is to always be optimizing for what’s driving engagement, but always putting a fresh spin on new content that builds your brand narrative over time.

Creativity is King

At the end of the day, red lipstick is red lipstick, right? But putting price and relative formulation aside, what makes us choose one over the other? We would say it’s the creative brand and product narrative surrounding the item you’ve chosen. Creativity can be your competitive advantage. And creative ideas that build on your brand and product story and brand DNA (whilst staying relevant to the needs and lifestyle of your audience) over time drive preference and loyalty.

Put a Solid Brand Strategy in Place

The biggest mistake new brands can make is not having a clearly defined brand strategy, before scaling their ad spend. Clients we’ve worked with invest in perfecting their brand strategy and immediately find once their strategy is on point, they have stronger differentiation and clearer messaging.

This results in:

* Boosted content to engagement

* Less reliance on sales promos to drive growth

* Stronger paid campaign performance

This is why getting the foundations right matters. We’ve been working with eCommerce brands to help define their brand. Statistics show that having and documenting a strategy gives you a 5x greater chance of being successful in brand your efforts. Presenting a coherent brand strategy across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%, driven by differentiation, perception of quality, consumer preference, trust, engagement.

The case for an effective brand strategy that underpins creativity and content are clear and one avenue to support lasting growth. If you’ve been thinking about nailing your brand strategy, story, and creative content campaigns, now is the perfect time to get started. We’ve helped countless eCommerce brands develop effective brand marketing strategies and welcome new inquiries. We’d encourage you to book a strategy session to see how we could help you.

November 22, 2021

Top Sustainable Fashion Brand Trends for 2022 and Beyond

The brands leading the pack with regards to sustainability and marketing lead with creative brand marketing strategies and tactics to highlight their sustainable practices in their apparel, and their broader business practices.

If not yet already, sustainability will be everything to everybody and is no longer just a buzzword or a niche lifestyle choice. The world has largely embraced the notion that the old way of doing things in the fashion world must come to an end and consumers are voting with their dollars.

Brands that got in early on this notion continue to find innovative ways to capture socially conscious consumers by weaving sustainability messages together with the brand’s DNA for a unique expression around sustainability. 

Vivienne Westwood

This season, the label stepped this up a notch turning to fabrics such as recycled denim, upcycled deadstock, viscose, and organic silks. The collection was made entirely of 90% reduced impact materials. Across the brand’s social channels, we’ve seen messages of sustainability supporting the work of climate activists and more. 


To highlight the latest sustainable collection, the brand’s social content balances stories of the collection with interesting content to inspire and inform around the planet’s natural ecosystem. And in a recent runway show, we saw the design house use seaweed and eggs to create prints for a selection of fabrics. The organic color palette also used non-chemical dying processes and archival motifs applied to recycled fabrics such as cashmere and merino wool.

Stella McCartney 

The brand's ethos for sustainability is brought to life online, through a content strategy that incorporates Stella’s advocacy at climate conferences and partnerships with artists that create pieces with messages aligned to the brand’s values. Crafted with almost 80% sustainable materials Stella McCartney’s newest collections were sourced from farms with only the highest animal welfare standards and regenerative farming practices as well as regenerated nylon, environmentally-friendly viscose, and the trending fabric made from plastic and synthetic waste - Econyl.


Everlane’s launch campaign for their warming jackets made from recycled plastic draws attention to issues surrounding plastic, whilst showcasing their product as a solution to help make a change. The first run of the collection was made from 3 million recycled bottles. The experience for the consumer across their digital channels at the time of launch also delivered high-impact education, with executions such as an online ticker that tells shoppers how many plastic bottles had been manufactured over the duration of time they’ve spent on the site. Additionally, every SKU is associated not just with a retail price, but with how many bottles have been renewed with the production of that one item. A pop-up concept space with a series of events and panel discussions over the campaign period also helped to drive the message home.

Photography via

At Beautiful Sparks, we’ve worked with a wide array of beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands with sustainability at their core. Working with brand founders’, we craft compelling brand stories, strategies, and marketing plans that help relay a unique sustainability message infused crafted for each brand. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please book a strategy session.

April 3, 2021

The 3 Biggest Fashion and Beauty Trends of 2021

The fashion and beauty industry globally is rapidly evolving in a post-pandemic world. With a shift in consumer behavior and consumption patterns as we head into 2022. Leading data trends analysis software has scanned the digital landscape to capture the trending patterns that have emerged. By scanning and consolidating digital content across social and digital channels, the findings were as follows.

The Next-Gen of Fashion & Beauty Creators Have Arrived

Get in Early on the Next Big Content Creators

The downtime of 2020 and beyond gave rise to a new cohort of creators stepping in front of the lense for the first time. Analytics has shown that user-generated content is at an all-time high, and much of this has been driven by long-time fashion and beauty enthusiasts who tried their hand at their tutorials and content for the first time to break up the monotony of lockdowns and restrictions. Many of these newcomers managed to garner small, but rapidly growing and engaged followings, setting them up as influential nano and micro-influencers and the next in line power players in the space.

Mask Fashion & Athleisure

A New Way of Living, That’s Here to Stay

The world looks different today - we’re now accustomed to dressing for comfort. And when we have to step out in a mask, we may as well make sure it matches our outfit. Sentiment remains positive around fashion fit for wearing to work from home, but still step out for a coffee in style. Athleisure brands striking the balance between comfort and style will continue to trend.

Masks remain a requirement in some settings globally, and this may continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. Consumers are getting creative with colorful, embellished DIY face wear. Brands selling masks to match some of their best-sellers are meeting the mark when it comes to what consumers are looking for right now.

Augmented Reality

AR Technology Enhances Experiences

Virtual fitting rooms to try before you buy online are just the beginning. The closure of physical retail propelled brands into even more creative ways to engage with consumers to facilitate conversion. The trending sentiment around this space is that consumers have openly embraced a technology-led approach, and when shifting back to life post-pandemic will continue to expect this. But AR is not just for the big end of town, players making AR more accessible to emerging brands are platforms such as Called Creators AR that operates as a marketplace similar to Etsy.

Social Media Engagement Reigns

Still is Everything

Although new horses have emerged in the field, such as TikTok the channels will change, but the formula for success will remain the same. There is still an undeniable connection between social media engagement and brand sales. There is a cohort of brands leading the race when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of digitally-savvy consumers via Social. Delivering record levels of engagement across digital channels in 2021, brands such as Colour Pop, KKW Beauty, Glossier, and Fenty Beauty in Beauty have set the bar high. Whilst in fashion, Nike, Victoria’s Secret, Footlocker, and Urban Outfitters are leading the race for an extraordinary level of engagement online.

The key to strong social engagement remains a solid brand strategy, a compelling content strategy that leverages this, and optimizing for the content your audience engages with the most.

If you’d like to learn more about how we help beauty and fashion brands take their online engagement to the next level and can do the same for you, with brand strategic planning, book a free strategy session.


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