Brand Success for a health and beauty CPG, in the absence of huge resources, is predicated upon a powerful brand story.
The only way a brand could grow organically, profitably and sustain brand success over the long-term is by developing the highest level of emotional bonding with their consumer that delivers higher profits for assets managed, and a powerful brand story enables exactly that!
Every founder or head of marketing of a health and beauty CPG, I have met, says, “ I don’t mind investing money in marketing as long as it delivers results”, and, yet, goes back to work the next day investing money in the next shiny object, be it social media or influencer marketing, only to find that results have not changed by much, for brand success, beyond the initial excitement of seeing a few likes, shares and engagement on social media pages and at best a bit of sales.
To Jump Further, You Need To Step Back
Either waste time and precious money on improving the ROI of each individual marketing activity or step back to work on 1 thing that, when done right, would increase the ROI of every marketing activity including digital or otherwise.
No single marketing activity/social media campaign would deliver enough results for the brand success that you truly deserve and need.
Brand Story is the ultimate LEVER to increase the ROI for each marketing activity delivering the ultimate brand success, and the best part is a powerful brand story does not even need marketing or storytelling.
A powerful brand story could deliver huge brand success without marketing or storytelling but no marketing or storytelling activity can deliver disproportionate and sustainable profits without a powerful brand story.
Examples of a few brands in health and beauty that are killing it with brand story: Bite Beauty, RX Bar, TOMS shoes etc. and a personal favorite, an up and coming brand: Nom Noms Food World.
Let’s First Define Brand Success
A brand is truly successful when it has a strong base of an ardent tribe, which ritualises brand’s consumption, as a part and parcel of their life, finds meaning in association and is instrumental in advocating for consumer acquisition for the brand at a price premium, delivering above average profit margins in the industry.
7 Benefits Of Brand Story For Brand Success
1. Lowest cost of consumer acquisition and a disproportionately high marketing ROI for Brand Success
A powerful Brand Story appeals to a prospect on an emotional level and thereby instead of rationalizing her way out of trying the brand, the consumer is biased towards giving it a shot. Also, a powerful Brand story is more likely to be recommended by a trusted friend, peer or a non-paid influencer.
People need an excuse, emotional is better, to buy or support an idea and, it is the obligation of brands to provide their consumers enough meaning to reduce the dissonance or noise in their heads while they think of trying out the brand.
No matter what kind of marketing activity you undertake: digital, demo, PR etc., the cost of consumer acquisition and thus marketing will be lower with a powerful brand story, increasing the ROI of all marketing, and ultimately making brand success a lot more affordable for you.
Lower cost of consumer acquisition is the ultimate leverage for any business leave alone a premium priced, health and beauty consumer packaged brand.
2. Higher loyalty for higher Brand Success
It costs 5 times more to replace a consumer than to keep a consumer. A loyal consumer is many times more profitable to the brand. No rocket science there. A loyal consumer is more likely to try more products, have a bigger shopping cart size and more willing to pay a premium. Loyalty delivers brand success and keeps you in business.
Usual threat to loyalty is a competitor stealing your consumer but they could only steal if they could show some comparison of sorts. Since, with a brand story, you are not putting product quality and price front and center, the competition has nothing to compare to.
Could you compare Romeo and Juliet to Julius Caesar? Or Romeo and Juliet to Rocky 4? Different stories, right? Even better, could you compare Romeo and Juliet to a Protein Bar? Different planes of thought, right?
That’s how a powerful brand story puts your brand on an uncontested plane thereby making comparisons impossible, and preventing churn of loyal consumers.
3. Higher consumer lifetime value for financial Brand Success
Average Consumer life=1/(1-N), where N is the retention rate.
For example, if you retain 50% of your consumers, average consumer life = 2 years. Now, if your retention rate increases to 75%, average consumer life becomes 4 years. So a 50% increase in retention rate doubles ( 100% increase) the average consumer life
Consumer Lifetime Value is exponentially related to Loyalty. A loyal consumer buys more and refers new consumers over time and therefore the $ value she brings goes up with brand loyalty.
For example, lets’ say a consumer provides( buys + refers):
$100 in 1styear
$200 in 2ndyear
$300 in 3rdyear
and $500 in 4thyear
If the retention rate is 50%, average consumer life =2 years, Consumer Lifetime Value is equal to $100 +$200=$300.
If the retention rate increases to 75%, average consumer life becomes 4 years, Consumer Lifetime Value is equal to $100+$200+$300+$500=$1,100.
Therefore, a 50% increase in retention increases the Consumer Lifetime Value by 266% (not taking present value into account for simplicity).
4. Brand Success with tribes
Either indulge in continuous marketing which includes expensive advertising or storytelling activities or step back and create leverage with a strategic initiative that does all the marketing and storytelling for you and does not cost as much! Welcome to Brand Tribes.
Every tribe needs a story to come together, engage, and spread their cult. The more meaningful the brand story, and the more refuge it offers from the daily grind the more successful is the tribe.
A brand tribe drastically lowers the cost of consumer acquisition and increases consumer lifetime value even further than a brand story would do on its own. Not just that, a Brand Tribe reduces the cost of consumer research and new product development.
Brand Tribes are loyal, vocal and responsive fans snowballing into a bigger than parts, giant ball of Brand Story, a free of cost marketing and loyalty program.
5. Premium pricing for higher margins
More often than not, a health and beauty CPG brand charges a premium, but makes the mistake of sticking to communicating functional benefits, thereby, hindering trials from consumers who need emotion of the story to be swayed by and pay a premium, especially with competition from other conscious brands.
Margins are a big determinant of investing back in the brand and business, ultimately, leading to higher profitability and growth.
6. Easier listing for Brand Success with retailers
The buyer is a human being, and story led brands have traditionally done well in sales pitches to the buyers of leading retailers let alone the niche health food and beauty channel.
A big question asked by every buyer is “how will you market your brand”, both inside and outside the store to generate enough push and pull, so the brand sells out fast and does not catch dust on the shelf. Your marketing plan is most likely to convince them of sell out if the brand is story-led and they could see some proof of story driving sales.
7. Direct to consumer is a bigger hit and offers higher margin
With the typical distributor and retailer network, you end up losing up to 50% margins, and, then too, you need to dole out more money for free listings, free fills, promotions and charge backs etc.
Eventually, once you have exhausted the niche and specialty channels, you would need as big a distribution as possible, but before you venture out to increase your business via distribution, direct to consumer is an excellent way to directly sell to consumer with very high profit margins and maintain control of business while building a hardcore tribe of fans to spread the brand story.
Direct to consumer will not only help you sell profitably but also aid in organizing more effective referrals. With the world going digital and changing ever so rapidly with technology, especially with voice searches now growing in popularity, brands with powerful stories, as always, will get more recommendations.
A powerful brand story is a magic wand for the brand success of a health and beauty CPG business. You already have a higher quality product albeit at a higher price and bare minimum resources to market and generate awareness, trials, sales and repeat sales.
A brand story enables lowest cost of consumer acquisition, highest loyalty and consumer lifetime value, lets loyalty snowball into a self-fueling, giant ball of brand story to further increase marketing ROI. It increases your bargaining power with the channel and builds high margin, direct to consumer channel!
Brand Story, just like a magic wand delivers holistic brand success for a health and beauty CPG.
You could use the lever of Brand Story to disproportionately increase the ROI of every and any marketing activity delivering true brand success! Choice is yours!
Audit to uncover the type and power of your current brand story!
Comment with your thoughts, and feel free to share if you think it added value!
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ROHIT BANOTA, FOUNDER of STORYSAVES, has created, transformed and grown dozens of health food and beauty CPG companies brands across North America using proprietary Brand Story and Brand Diffussion processes.
He has over 15 years of marketing and business experience growing consumer packaged brands including startups and MNCs like P&G and AB InBev.