Exclusive interview

Indie brands part 1: The formula for success

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Indie brands part 1: The formula for success

Related tags: Brand, Marketing

As the beauty industry anticipates a rise in indie brands, we spoke to Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, Beauty and Personal Care, Mintel, about what we can expect from the not-so-small-timers.

Commenting on the definition of an indie brand, Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, Beauty and Personal Care, Mintel, stated: “An indie (or niche) brand commonly stems from a problem that the founder has encountered and solved with this new venture.”

“Indie brands are mostly funded by the founder, or via crowdfunding sites that reach out to consumers who seek new and innovative products that have a clear purpose in resolving issues they can relate to,”​ Kwek noted.

Although the Asia-Pacific (APAC) indie brands market is “showing gradual growth”​, it is Europe and the US that enjoy a “stronger base and presence”​ and that is “showing faster growth”.

The emergence of indie brands is characterised by signs of brand presence within the local market, before then entering the international indie scene.

Millennial appeal

“Consumers in APAC have been receptive to global indie brands, particularly Millennials—a key market for companies in the scene,”​ observed Kwek.

There has been a growing trend within the Millennial demographic: “This group of consumers has grown less keen for big, international names, and is instead looking towards indie beauty brands.”  

Social media

Indie brands are drawing upon “digitisation, particularly social media”​ as core marketing methods, as these have “played a big role in drawing the attention of Millennial consumers”.

As a “brand’s heritage and DNA”​ interact with consumers in today’s huge beauty industry, brands need to concentrate on their backstories and purpose and communicate this effectively to consumers.

When it comes to developing a marketing strategy and utilising various platforms, using trending social media platforms is a primary focus for indie brands. They use these to “tell a compelling brand story and run interactive marketing campaigns to reach out to consumers”.

Marketing avenues

Strong storytelling and ‘Instagram-worthy’ products are popular methods that have “worked well for the indie brand scene”.

These enterprises “tend to have interesting brand concepts and stories to tell, and are often founded based on an identified gap in the beauty space— something that appeals to consumers these days against the myriad of mainstream products in the marketplace”​, expressed Kwek.

Live-streaming is a tactic that indie brands should continue to implement, Kwek said, especially as it enables brands to interact and engage with the digital consumer of today. In China, some brands have used live-streaming sessions to launch their products.  

The second part of this article will be published on Wednesday 17th January 2018.

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