The ‘Two Faces’ of Beauty/Fashion Branding

You are welcome to share your thoughts on this article written by Renée Whitworth, Strategic Partner at Flood Creative, New York

Back in the day, beauty used to be about defined American archetypes such as Farrah Fawcett or Cindy Crawford. We either fit the archetype or we endlessly sought products to alter our appearance in an attempt to match the archetype.

Now beauty—to some extent— is in the eye of the beholder. Admittedly there are still famous faces, art, fashion and automobiles that appeal aesthetically and emotionally to a diverse, global audience as beautiful. Because for beauty to be a scalable and sustainable industry, obviously there needs to be a universal thread of some sort.

But if indeed we are now part of a beauty melting pot, is there a divide within the pot? I believe the real divide is attitudinal. Not culture/sexuality/race.

On the one hand of the divide we have ‘the curious’ still creating who they are and experimenting with beauty, fashion, sexuality etc. as they seek to define…
or maybe even defy…themselves.

In this case it is still an outward pursuit tied to social statements. As such the visual cues for them are often quite bold, playful and dramatic.

This is all about constant transformation and reinvention. This visual language demands to be noticed. In some cases it is more temporary and/or superficial.

Takeaways for those brands who seek to be considered by this group are to evoke: Playful • Bold • Casual • Imperfect • Colorful • Eclectic • Experimental

Whereas on the other side we have ‘the decided’ who are embracing the satisfaction that comes from self-awareness and self-actualization. See attached collage of examples of brands and products that appeal to the mindset which we refer to as “Perfection/Style.”

Here the visual cues are more refined, sophisticated and meticulous. It’s more about pleasure than play; more about experience than expression; more tactile than superficial.

Takeaways for those brands who seek to be identified with this group is to show: Focus • Sophistication • Power • Simplicity • Precision • Determination

The aspect that both attitudes have in common is the confidence to be single minded. One might assume that Boomers would be in the “Perfection” camp. But even though aging is a word that they are practically trying to eliminate from their vocabulary, don’t assume as much. Bold and old do co-exist. These are not trends and they co-exist side by side on shelves, magazines, commercials, etc. In the end, every initiative should absolutely start with understanding where your audience’s mindset lies.

About the Author

Renée Whitworth is a strategic partner at Flood Creative in New York. Over the last 15 years she has developed a reputation for providing unique insights that help every facet of design come together with a singular, shared focus.