In the early days of your beauty brand, as you begin to grow, the reliance on external support becomes inevitable. With a lean in-house team,  you’ll need to look outside, to bridge the gap with specialized skills that your current team doesn’t bring to the table. But when it comes to working with agencies or freelancers – often many come in, and few stick around.

You’ll need to look outside to bridge the gap with specialized skills that your current team doesn’t bring to the table. But when it comes to working with agencies or freelancers, many come in, and few stick around. Trusting in the success of new external partnerships can be a gamble for a brand operating on a lean budget. Get it right, and you accelerate growth; get it wrong, and it’s a lesson learned the hard way. Many founders get burned when things go pear-shaped, leading to a more cautious approach in future engagements.

Often, there’s a mismatch in understanding the brand and its vision that gets in the way of external teams delivering work that truly resonates. Agencies and freelancers might be good at what they do, but without a solid grasp of all the layers of meaning behind your brand, their work can fall flat.

As brand strategy experts, we’d love to tell you that great brand strategy foundations and detailed guidelines will solve all your collaboration issues. But it’s not that simple. While these elements are absolutely crucial, they aren’t a magic bullet. Think of them more as your base camp, not your summit flag.

Great brand strategy foundations and detailed guidelines set the stage—they give your partners the tools they need to understand the complete depth of your brand. These frameworks serve as a vital litmus test, assessing partners' ability to align with and actively enhance your brand’s core values and strategic objectives. With the right people on board, this clarity enables them to hit the ground running, where the real magic begins to unfold.

The Relationship Essentials

Just like personal relationships, successful business partnerships thrive on mutual understanding and shared values. Here’s how relationship wisdom can help in selecting the right agency or freelancer for your beauty brand:

  • Shared Values: It's crucial that your brand partner’s values align with your own. Having shared values lays the foundation for smoother collaborations and makes it easier to get on the same page.
  • We Vibe (The Chemistry Test): Good chemistry is essential. During your interactions, evaluate the depth and engagement of the conversation. Assess whether the agency or freelancer actively contributes ideas that resonate with your brand's ethos and show a genuine understanding of your vision. This level of engagement is a strong indicator of a promising partnership.
  • Common Friends (The Social Proof): Having mutual business connections can serve as significant reassurance. An agency recommended by a trusted peer can feel as secure as a friend who comes well-vouched for, providing a layer of trust and credibility.

When your collaborators not only have the necessary skills but are genuinely invested in your success, they transform from skilled professionals into passionate advocates who drive your brand's growth and innovation. If you’re looking for ways to get your external teams on the same page, and looking for help to refresh or document your brand vision, you're welcome to connect with us.

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.