THESIS PROJECT
DIRECTED THESIS STUDY, EMERSON COLLEGE, 2021
GOAL
BUILD A DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF THE SUCCESSFUL TACTICS OF CURRENT BEAUTY AND FASHION BRANDS
Titled Human Brand Friendship in a Digitally Social World, this research focuses on the development of a market driven identity becoming a fundamental aspect of the self.  It began with a literature review to form understanding of the environment at hand as well as consumer traits. This literature review considers many academic sources, books, and articles.  Below I have included some of the most influential quotes I found. 

The formation of emotional capital in a “global economy rooted in neither production nor consumption, but in the trading of financial derivatives”
 

 

- Stephens, 2015

Social engagement is selective and “primarily engaged when encoding impressions formed intentionally with a social focus, rather than implicitly”

 

- Vaish et al., 2008

Consumer brand relationships “may be infused with emotion and involve obsessive thought, or be simply habitual and subsequently less emotionally charged and cognitively based”

 

- MacInnis, 2009

CASE STUDIES
Through case study of 10 brands in wellness/aesthetic focused beauty and fashion industries, I based overall social relatability percentage on ranking out of 40 points. Brands were scored out of 10 in consideration of each below category.
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.35.45 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.35.49 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.35.56 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.35.53 PM.png

In conducting the following case studies, a variety of metrics have been used. The following will explain how these have been defined for this study's purpose.
 

Average Product Price

 

In USD, obtained by dividing the total of a randomized selection of 8 of the brand's product offerings with 8 (# of offerings measured).

 

Ownership

 

A binary definition of brand ownership, private versus public. Private ownership describes a company that is not publicly traded, and public ownership describes the opposite.
 

Revenue

 

The most recently available annual revenue evaluation publicly available.

 

Engagement Rate

 

Obtained for each platform by dividing the brand's total number of engagements in October with the brand's total number of followers as of October 15th, 2021.

Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.41.13 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.41.06 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.45.50 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.45.59 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.46.07 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.46.14 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.46.21 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 3.56.14 PM.png
RECCOMENDATION TACTICS
BRAND IDENTITY
To create authentic consumer brand relationships, consider building brand intent through:

STATEMENT OF INTENT

Unlike a positioning statement, mission, or promise, a statement of intent is affirmative, action driven, present, and goal oriented. This manifestation is more meaningful than implicit identity to humans as it allows for aspiration and lets brands feel relatable to consumers by becoming a sort of meaning to life. Without focusing on specific offerings, this intent would make sense in relation to offerings.

FOUNDER INVOLVEMENT
A founder can have as much influence on its brand as a parent has on their child. Another important influence on brand persona comes from the way brand founder(s) interact with their brand. Helicopter parenting can occur with brands when founders without ‘celebrity’ or ‘knowledgeable’ status drive brand mission and value by positioning themselves within their brand. This is common when brands are founded by celebrities or influencers.

PARTNERSHIPS
Just as brand founders can be considered a brands parents,  brand partners can be considered friends, family, or other relatives to a brand.  When we consider the way humans judge and understand other humans there is reason that strategic brand partnerships can be so influential.
 
BRAND COMMUNICATIONS
To create authentic consumer brand relationships, consider building brand intent through:

ACCESSIBILITY 

When consumers are faced with difficulty when attempting to obtain a product or service they may feel more desire to use it.  When you add social media to this difficulty where others can show off their own access eludes exclusivity and inhibitsjealousy.  Limiting product stock is impactful as it portrays care for the environment as well as increases value (which a basic supply and demand curve explains).  Distribution partners matter greatly as they can increase or decrease the difficulty consumers face in obtaining.

COMMUNAL EXPERIENCE
While the digital market grows, brands must not lose sight of experiential marketing tactics. Brands should consider creative solutions to get physical products in consumers hands. Working in tandem with experiential touchpoints, digital touchpoints can induce a consumer sense of belonging when they correctly harness “the power of community” (Sid Lee, 2021). When promoting community involvement, we must acknowledge a recent concept called the fear of missing out (referred to as FOMO).

HUMANLIKE FRIENDSHIP
Success in advertising in the digital age is displayed through the success of brand personalities being designed as if they were human. Today’s culture cares about authenticity through action which in comparison to the inability to witness brand follow-through allows for increased levels of emotion in consumer-brand relationships. In industries like beauty and fashion - that focus on both internal and external image portrayal - brands must focus on distinguishing who they are from who they are not. Without any distinction of digital versus physical social interaction, studies note that the distinct memory system that encodes social engagement is selective and “primarily engaged when encoding impressions formed intentionally with a social focus, rather than implicitly” (Ting, et. al., 2017).