Lexi Goyette

In the world of marketing, it pays to differentiate yourself from your competitors. That’s what your company’s branding team is there for. One way businesses have gained and retained consumers, all while building positive brand reputations, is through inclusive brand positioning. That is, businesses are starting to catch onto the idea that the best way to appeal to their target demographics is by representing their audience in their ads and promotions.

Groundbreaking, right?!

Inclusive branding closes the gap between brands and their audiences by telling nuanced stories targeted toward populations that are under-represented by traditional marketing promotions. It might involve hiring more diverse models for their campaigns or using their promotions to express a positive, inclusive message.

To learn the ropes of this marketing strategy, let’s take a look at two somewhat new companies that have gained success through their inclusive branding practices.

How Fenty’s Brand Positioning Generated $100 Million in its First 40 Days

Let’s look at an example of a brand that’s made waves since its launch in early 2017: Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. Yes, that Rihanna. Whether or not you spent a majority of 2007 with “umbrella, ella, ella, ay” stuck in your head, you can’t deny she’s got some pipes. In recent years, we’ve seen that she has stellar business acumen. Jilt — an ecommerce and email solutions provider — shared that in just 40 days, Fenty earned $100 million in sales.

It’s worth noting that Rihanna’s star power played a huge role in getting lipsticks and concealers flying off the shelves. But what really caused Fenty to become a top-selling beauty company within weeks of its initial launch was its branding strategy. Before stocking its online store and Sephoras around the country, Fenty positioned itself as a brand that provides products for individuals with skin tones that many leading makeup companies overlook.

Fenty Beauty launched with 40 different foundation shades, catering to a broader range of skin tones than any other affordable makeup brand. To put this into perspective, the typical makeup company offers close to 10 shades. (However, after Fenty’s success, other beauty brands began offering a greater number of skin tone shades. If you can’t beat ‘em, join em, I guess.) Where Fenty really broke ground was offering plenty of shades to women of color, many of whom had trouble matching with the shades offered by other affordable makeup brands at the time.

In a 2017 interview with TIME, Rihanna disclosed her reaction to Fenty’s positive response.

“I never could have anticipated the emotional connection that women are having with the products and the brand as a whole. Some are finding their shade of foundation for the first time, getting emotional at the counter. That’s something I will never get over.”

You can read more about Fenty’s stellar brand positioning in Jilt’s article here.

Global Fashion Retailer PrettyLittleThing Is Hedging Bets on Size Inclusivity

Another brand that has taken on the multi-billion-dollar retail industry by storm is PrettyLittleThing. While many clothing stores and sites are notorious for delaying the release of plus-size items, PrettyLittleThing ushered out inclusive size options from the start.

To CEO and fashion magnate Umar Kamani, giving consumers access to a wide range of sizes isn’t just a way to save face and check off a box; it’s a means of giving more people access to the latest trends, Forbes contributor Karin Eldor reported. There’s no pat on the back or praise-worthy press release to celebrate PrettyLittleThing’s body positivity. They do it because it’s the right thing to do.

PrettyLittleThing flaunts its inclusivity through campaigns and social media that showcase models with “typical” runway bodies alongside plus-size models. Its 2018 campaign #EveryBODYinPLT featuring notable supermodel Ashley Graham made waves, especially when consumers realized the brand isn’t all talk, as they offer sizes 2 to 28.

The retailer’s implicit messages of body positivity are proving to be extremely profitable, as they’re growing at a consistent annual rate of 250%. But to PrettyLittleThing’s executives, inclusive branding isn’t just about the paycheck. Kamani told Forbes, “Just selling clothes is boring. We want to be deeper than that. As a global brand, we have to become a role model to young girls.”

Read the full article on Forbes here.

So what can we learn from Fenty Beauty and PrettyLittleThing? It pays to be inclusive, relatable and authentic in brand positioning and execution.

Be sure to check back next week for the next edition of Content Marketing Weekly.