Can you imagine stepping on the accelerator to scale your ad spend to amplify a brand message that was "not quite there yet" in the first place?

As outsiders looking in through our work as a beauty brand marketing consultancy, we've observed that most beauty brands with a messaging problem don't realize it until well past the point when they should have done something about it. We define a messaging problem as when a brand's overarching message and 'reason for being', wasn't crafted using best-practice industry frameworks – or was never defined at all. Without the right strategic approach to a brand's message, it's like constructing a house without the proper foundations, cracks eventually begin to appear.

These brands are still growing, but their maximum potential is hindered by what some call a "messaging debt." Messaging debt refers to the opportunity cost brands face when this "debt" acts as a barrier, preventing them from reaching their maximum growth and impact.

Here's how we've seen messaging debt unfold:

Signs You Have a Messaging Problem

Lack of Internal Clarity
Messaging problems often begin by manifesting internally. When teams, agencies, and partners repeatedly misunderstand the brand's essence, it’s often a clear indication that the brand message might not be crystal clear enough for everyone to be on the same page. It's the opportunity cost of lost time and resources from reshoots, reworks, and strategic pivots that slows the brand's progress over time.

Non-existent or Inconsistent Brand Tone of Voice
Brand consistency is essential for trust and engagement, and a distinctive brand tone of voice across written content helps each brand encounter become a familiar and memorable experience. Without a consistent tone of voice, brands struggle to create a cohesive identity, and an overall brand experience that feels differentiated in a crowded marketplace.

Difficulty Articulating What Sets You Apart
When founders can't succinctly articulate what sets their brand apart without defaulting to the quality or functionality of their products, it's a telling sign of a messaging gap. The flow-on effect is that their social content reflects this same sentiment too. Strong brand messaging transcends product quality and embodies the unique identity and values of the brand itself. This give leeway to tell broader brand stories online.

Below Average Social Engagement Rates
We get the opportunity to look behind the curtains of scores of beauty brands' social accounts. Without the means to articulate storytelling or values-driven content marketing, brands with a messaging problem tend to have engagement rates that sit well below beauty industry benchmarks. They miss out on meaningful customer connections and higher levels of loyalty that come with an engaged community.

It's Not All Bad News! Here's How to Fix a Messaging Problem

Consider the following steps to address messaging debt in your beauty business.

1. Know Your Customers and Competitors
Utilize social media insights and consumer behavior analysis to gain a comprehensive understanding of your target audience. This step is about more than just knowing your customers; it's about empathizing with their needs, desires, and the larger cultural context in which they engage with beauty brands. Let these insights inform the way you approach your overarching brand message.

2. Clarify Your Product and Brand Value Proposition 

Distinguish between the benefits of your products and the overarching value of your brand. Your product benefits should address specific customer needs, while your brand value proposition should speak to the emotional and aspirational aspects of the customer experience.

3. Create Value-Driven Messaging – Let Your Brand Shine!
Leverage storytelling to infuse your messaging with emotion and value. Storytelling is a powerful tool to illustrate your brand's mission, vision, and the unique value you offer to your customers, encouraging them to become part of your brand journey.

If you need help with articulating your brand’s value to your customers, employees, or prospective investors you're welcome to reach out and connect at anytime.

Author: Effie Asafu-Adjaye
Effie Asafu-Adjaye is the Founder of Beautiful Sparks. Beautiful Sparks helps beauty and fashion businesses get more fanatics in love with their brands, by refining their brand strategy, messaging, branding, content storytelling, and community-building strategy. Read more about Effie here. Linkedin.