Favorite Brand?

12 Aug

I must say that although branding fascinates me I had never thought of picking a brand as my favorite. For one of my marketing postgraduate courses I had to create and design an integrated marketing communications plans for a product or brand, I chose NARS cosmetics. NARS is a brand I admire because of its high level of differentiation, ability to position itself in a competitive luxury market and create an image that is both timeless and sophisticated. NARS not only has a polished image that eludes the apparent quality of its products but also manages to shape the meaning of its brand to meet societal trends. The brand started as a symbol for fashion and was represented with top models and celebrities, however the recent movement towards portrayal of the “real” in cosmetic pressured the company to change its strategy. Francois Nars, creator and director of the brand, wrote a book on “real women” wearing NARS, as if this was not enough NARS launched one of the most integrated campaigns ever made by a cosmetic company. The use of social networks, interactivity and experiential methods in the Make up your Mind Express Yourself is outstanding and it positioned the brand within several markets that were not previously targeted as well as appeasing public opinion regarding the portrayal of “real women”.

In semiotic terms the brand has carefully crafted signs that signified many layers of meaning it represents style, fashion, sophistication, youth, simplicity. Similarly to Apple’s success of minimalist packaging and design NARS has achieved a status in the market with its sleek designer packaging and controversial product name. The brand’s most successful product is the Orgasm blush; evidently the use of a provocative term that evokes sex and defiance is what separates it from the multitude of seemingly identical blushes in the oversaturated market. Very few brands dare to break the boundaries of what is socially accepted or allowed, thus remaining within the limitations of traditional marketing boundaries. NARS went beyond what was expected of a cosmetic company, and it really made a brand that does not need a tag line or a picture for people to understand its meaning.

I guess this would qualify NARS as one of my favorite brands, not because I am cosmetic enthusiast of any sort, but because I believe that the brand is one that I truly admire as a semiotician and as marketer. It accomplishes the ultimate marketing dream; the product doesn’t even matter as much because the concept is so strong that it carries it through.


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