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The BoF Podcast | Why Brand Marketing Still Matters

What do Poolside FM and Isamaya Beauty have in common? Their founders have created brands with unique yet relatable identities.
Isamaya Ffrench and Marty Bell attend the Business of Beauty Global Forum.
Isamaya Ffrench and Marty Bell attend the Business of Beauty Global Forum. (Rowben Lantion/BFA.com for The Business of Fashion)
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Background:

Isamaya Ffrench, makeup artist and founder of Isamaya Beauty, and Marty Bell, co-founder of sunscreen brand Vacation (and Poolside FM), both took unconventional routes to turn their products into veritable brands. Vacation began as a spinoff of the internet radio station inspired by summer tunes of the 1980s, Meanwhile, Ffrench’s brand sparked attention for her new Lips line’s penis-shaped lipstick cases. Bold and risky in equal measure, these moves laid the groundwork for their businesses while giving their brands personalities and spark.

“If you’re strong enough to have a vision and get a brand off the ground, you know what your audience wants,” said Ffrench. “Do the things that feel natural and right, because it’s when you start doing the things that the CMO tells you you have to do and you feel awkward about it… no one’s going to want your product because it doesn’t look authentic.”

This week on The BoF Podcast, Bell and Ffrench speak with BoF founder Imran Amed about the power of brand building and how founders can inject their own personalities into their products to make them recognisable and memorable.

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Key Insights:

  • Ffrench advises founders to scrutinise conventional wisdom about how to launch a brand rather than trusting their instincts and vision. “It’s really about taking things [advice] with a pinch of salt, but following your gut and your spirit and doing what feels right for you and your brand,” she says.
  • According to Bell, people gravitate towards brands that are a reflection of their founders’ personalities and beliefs. “Some of the best brands in the early stages are just true personifications of their founders … That’s very hard to compete with if you don’t have someone who has a view on the world and a perspective,” Bell explains.
  • Ffrench believes large beauty corporations struggle creating an authentic brand identity because they focus on numbers rather than forming a connection with customers. “You lose the essence, you lose the integrity and the artistry because that takes time and money and spirit,” Ffrench observes. Bell says the key to creating an authentic brand is finding an idea or aesthetic you’re interested in and creating the product line around it. “If you’re not deeply passionate about the world that you’re going to build [with your brand], you need to find someone who can be obsessive,” Bell says.

Additional Resources:

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