Bobbi Brown Cosmetics has become synonymous with fresh, modern, authentic beauty in North America and Europe since the company was founded by makeup artist-turned-entrepreneur Bobbi Brown in 1991. With the global growth of the brand, the company was eager to increase its share of the burgeoning $26 billion beauty care and cosmetics market in China by launching a flagship online store on the largest ecommerce site in China, Tmall.
The challenge was to create a globally consistent but locally compelling digital presence, introducing Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and its “Be Who You Are” philosophy to Chinese consumers who were unfamiliar with the brand’s distinctly American, less-is-more approach to beauty and style.
American Beauty Goes to China
FOUR32C was entrusted to create a comprehensive brand guide and digital toolkit to facilitate the successful roll-out of Bobbi Brown’s first-ever Tmall online storefront in China. In order for the brand to entice Chinese consumers and succeed in the hyper-competitive Chinese market, Bobbi Brown had to stay true to its promise of empowering all women, while remaining authentic to its individualistic American roots.
Appealing to the Chinese market also required adapting visual language and a digital presentation style that’s unmistakably different from western aesthetics. Bobbi Brown chose FOUR32C based on our experience designing for classic luxury brands and because our ethnographic research process ensures that the work is authentically rooted in the brand essence, while still providing flexibility to allow for local customization of elements to effectively speak to Chinese Tmall customers.
From Department Stores to Online Tmall
We started with ethnographic research, interviewing target consumers who were both native Chinese speakers and buyers of Bobbi Brown products. Our research revealed that Chinese women ages 25 to 35 shared high levels of engagement with skincare, beauty products and cosmetics, and most often purchased makeup at department stores rather than online because of the opportunity to try products and receive professional advice.
For Chinese consumers, online shopping has increasingly become an easy, convenient way to shop, and Bobbi Brown Cosmetic’s Tmall storefront would provide a chance to make products available that might otherwise be difficult to find in China.
Working with Bobbi Brown’s global marketing team, the toolkit we created firmly established design guidelines and rules that also allowed Chinese partners to adapt materials and assets to successfully design and create a thoughtfully conceived, well-designed Tmall for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.
Translating the essence of the Bobbi Brown brand in a way that would resonate with a distinctive audience such as Chinese skincare and beauty product consumers required careful attention to visual elements such as typography, color palette, imagery, photography, and styling. Getting into the mindset of Chinese consumers through ethnographic research allowed us to create a content-rich style and brand guide that effectively laid the foundation for Bobbi Brown Cosmetic’s brand and digital presence in China.
FOUR32C is a New York digital branding agency. We’re curious digital natives who bring creativity and intelligence to the world’s most beloved brands. We create thoughtful, compelling interactive experiences by starting every project with questions. Our process leads to evocative digital products designed with a purpose for every pixel.