There have been many pioneers in the cosmetic industry. Just to name a few, Lawrence and Joan Gelb of Clairol made hair coloring something acceptable rather than declassé. Max Factor created pancake makeup becoming the go-to authority for the burgeoning Hollywood film industry.
And, then, there was Elizabeth Arden who believed women should learn how to apply makeup properly focusing on color coordination of eyes, lips and skin makeup. Ms. Arden also put stock in the ideas of scientific cosmetic formulations as acceptable and, actually, required, for creating and maintain a demure, respectable, decorous image. Ms. Arden underscored the power of cosmetics to provide a youthful, beautiful perception. The epitome of the Elizabeth Arden gestalt was her eponymous Red Door salon.
Over the decades, there has been a wild proliferation of cosmetic and beauty brands. The originals, the pioneers, have taken back seats to new, lab-based, nature-based, organic-based, hipster and elite European and Asian brands.
The Elizabeth Arden brand is fighting back.
Elizabeth Arden is using its provenance in beauty to reignite and reintroduce its brand to younger generations.
According to Glossy, Elizabeth Arden has created “a virtual space based on Elizabeth Arden’s historic Fifth Avenue salon with its iconic red door. It features product information alongside a mini online museum on the history of the brand. The launch makes Elizabeth Arden one of the early beauty adopters of AI-generated imagery. Users will be able to click through “multiple spa ‘rooms’ with products on display that users can click on to receive more information and purchase.”
Ronald Rolleston, global General Manager of Elizabeth Arden told Glossy, “We drill down on the history of the brand, and it manifests itself in the creative. We have this rich legacy, but I would argue there’s a lot of modernity in who we are and what we do, and we’re very focused on science.”
The power of a brand-business’ provenance is significant, especially in an uncertain world.
When times are uncertain, customers seek trusted sources. This drives the need for provenance. A brand-business is more than a trademark; it is a trust mark. A trusted brand-business influences customer consideration and preference while increasing willingness to invest by all stakeholders. It is a hedge against uncertainty.
Provenance is trustworthy evidence of a brand-business’ authoritative character; the brand-business’ principled foundation of trustworthiness. All relationships rely on trust.
Powerful brand-business relationships gain strength from the brand-business’ heritage. Strong, relevant heritage builds credibility. Strong, relevant history provides customers with authoritative information. This adds credibility to a brand-business’ message. A brand-business provenance is unique in that it can provide continuity and consistency across all platforms.
The provenance of a brand-business is its consistent, compelling, relevant, distinctive heritage. A focus on a brand-business provenance is not about preserving everything from the brand’s past; it is about preserving the best of the brand’s past for the present and future. Provenance is uniquely past, present, and future. A brand-business provenance emphasizes a past of authority, a present of user connection and a pathway towards a future of enduring, profitable growth.
This is what Elizabeth Arden is counting on with its new provenance-enhancing virtual store.
The virtual store is basically “… a virtual museum” featuring “images depicting the 120-year history of the brand and its founder, including her support of the suffragettes and the introduction of the “Victory Red” lipstick during WWII.”
Elizabeth Arden hopes the new virtual store with its focus on using the past for present and future success will connect with younger customers.
For those who think that provenance is only important to antique dealers, museums and auction houses, think again. Brand-business provenance is essential for building a strong foundation for building trust capital, leading to high quality revenue growth.
Brand-business provenance influences customer-perceived value. Customer-perceived value contributes to increased brand-business preference. This in turn generates trust capital, leading to high quality revenue growth.
A brand-business is more than an identity. A brand-business is also a culture and the culture’s values. A brand-business is a seal of “permission to believe.” Provenance provides “permission” because it reflects and articulates a heritage of credibility, integrity and authority.
A powerful, credible provenance is competitive advantage; a leverage against competitive actions. Provenance signals truth. Provenance provides a common connection across all stakeholder relationships. And, this is a foundation for enduring brand success.
Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door may have opened in 1931. But, its values and core brand elements are just as relevant today as these were over 90 years ago. This continued relevancy is on display in the virtual Red Door salon.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Larry Light, CEO of Arcature
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