Everything You Need to Know to Launch & Market a Medical-Grade Cosmetic Brand From BREVENA
By: Carli Evilsizer | September 7, 2018
Considering launching a medical-grade skincare or cosmetic company? As BREVENA shares, it can be difficult to bridge the medical and beauty worlds but the prospect of improving the health of millions makes it all worth it. So where do you even begin if you are considering launching a medical-grade cosmetic brand? And once you’ve built the products, how do you actually market the line?
Julia McMann, President & CEO of BREVENA shares everything you need to know to launch and successfully market a medical-grade skincare line. She was kind enough to share examples of their most successful marketing campaigns, the hardest parts of the industry as well as six easy marketing steps that you can easily implement.
Marketing Tips From Julia McMann at BREVENA
BREVENA was established in 2015 by founder, Barbara Klein. Barb had over twenty years of experience in the hospital burn care industry, where she developed a transformative burn care salve that took days off of the healing times for burn patients. In 2016 she took this technology, now called Macro β Complex®, and created a luxury, medical-grade skin care line that is transforming the lives of people with sensitive dry, irritate and aging skin.
President and CEO
BREVENA LABORATORIES, LLC
Julia is the newly named President and CEO at BREVENA and is responsible for guiding the strategic direction and sales trajectory of BREVENA Skincare products.
1. First, I am so sorry to hear about Barbara’s recent passing. It sounds like she was a truly amazing person. Can you tell me more about her background?
"Thank you! Barb very recently lost a courageous battle with cancer and is greatly missed. She was a bright, spirited and fearless entrepreneur - a true loss! Barb started her career calling on doctors and plastic surgeons in the burn care industry. She was working in the medical device field at the time and through that work became very educated on the unique needs of traumatized skin as well as it’s process for healing. Armed with this knowledge, she partnered with a chemist and together they created a formula specially designed to expedite the skins’ natural healing response. This technology worked so well that it quickly became the go-to product in hospital burn care centers across the U.S.. Fast forward twenty years, Barb decided, after much prodding from her friends in the medical community, to take this technology, now known as Macro β Complex®, and make it available to the masses. She did so by creating BREVENA Laboratories, a clinical grade skin care company where our passion for improving the health of peoples’ skin fuels each innovation."
2. I love how passionate she was! How did her passion help build BREVENA?
"Most definitely. Helping people is addicting and Barb knew that if her Macro β Complex® could help people with severely damaged skin, it was capable of helping people with everyday skin damage, which is basically everyone. The prospect of improving the health of millions was the inspiration behind BREVENA."
3. Once the product was perfected, what was the branding process like?
"I had the pleasure of joining BREVENA after the branding process was complete, but I understand that it was an exciting yet time intensive process. There isn’t a manual to creating a brand, so it requires patience, trial and error, input from others and in the end a lot of gut instinct. It’s not until the branding “feels right” that you know you can be done making adjustments."
4. What is the hardest part about building a medical-grade skincare line?
"Barb had spent twenty years in the medical industry, so ironically the challenge in creating a cosmetic skin care line was and is, bridging the divide between drugs and cosmetics. The FDA has very specific guidelines for drugs which are not to be crossed by cosmetics. Your products are either one or the other. Growing a medical-grade skin care line in a world of cosmetics creates some challenges but creating products that exceed our customers expectations is very rewarding."
5. What is your best marketing strategy to help BREVENA grow?
"In a market as competitive and saturated as the skin care market is, differentiation is critical. Our story, our technology and how it improves the health of people’s skin, especially those with sensitive or irritated skin, is the key to differentiating our brand. We emphasize the benefits of our ground breaking Macro β Complex®, the history behind it and then we let the products speak for themselves."
6. How do you reach your customers?
"We know our customers, and what they value in our skin care line so we actively seek them in the places we know they will be, whether that is online, in trade publications, events, television etc. Positive word of mouth is also extremely valuable because who do you trust more as a consumer than family and friends."
7. What was your most successful marketing campaign?
"We have really strong support from our Midwest customers. One of our most successful marketing campaigns has been our partnership with Elizabeth Ries, a local lifestyle television host, we did a segment highlighting the way BREVENA has helped women overcome multiple skin ailments. At the time of filming, our Founder, Barbara was in the midst of chemotherapy and radiation."
"Barb was honest with the audience about what she was going through, the changes it caused with her skin and confidence, and how BREVENA products helped her maintain healthy skin throughout her treatments. She was transparent and relatable which was important for our customers to see. They admired her openness and could relate, because unfortunately, we all seem to know someone with cancer who might be experiencing similar side effects of treatment. The support of our customers was evident in the emails, phone calls, and orders we received in the days, weeks and months following the airing."
8. What is the biggest marketing lesson you’ve learned along the way?
"We have learned a lot of marketing lessons and continue to learn as we grow, but the number one lesson we have learned is that all forms of advertising take time to work effectively, and what works one year can change the next. We are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of our marketing tactics and looking for ways to improve, learn and grow. Thankfully, there are a lot of resources available to help young businesses. Evaluate them, choose as wisely as you can and give them time to succeed."
9. Any final tips for other entrepreneurs?
"It’s okay not to have the answers for everything, there isn’t a manual for this. Do your best, follow your gut and always be willing to seek guidance from others. Sometimes it’s the craziest idea that work out the best. If they don't. take those funds and try plan B (or C or D)!"
6 Easy to Implement Marketing Tips From BREVENA
Build a realistic business plan based on controllable growth factors, while working like crazy to catch lightning in the bottle, so to speak.
Invest in a strong marketing director who understands digital marketing inside and out.
FIND A PR FIRM
Interview multiple PR firms to find one that best fits your needs, and your budget. They should not only specialize in your industry but should operate and feel like an extension of your business.
Learn, learn, learn from others - there are countless blogs and resources available for startups and people willing to help -utilize them! (Like Branderly!) And while you're at it, find a mentor, or three. Their help is priceless.
Do what you do well and outsource the rest. The time saved is better utilized growing your customer base.
BE AMAZING TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
Treat your customers better than your competitors. Even though we live in a digital world, customer service is still king. The little things matter and can set you apart. At BREVENA, we not only send order confirmations, but thank you notes from the President as well. This small personal touch is unexpected, easy to do and helps further connect customers to our brand. Our 60-day money back guarantee is iron clad and gives customers the reassurance they need to try something new. When digital isn't enough, we're always available to talk through a customer's needs via email, chat or (gasp!) a live telephone conversation. We love to help customers find the right solution for their skin care concerns.
Thanks for the great chat and tips Julia! It is obvious from BREVENA's success that having a strong passion to improve the health of millions is a key element needed as you are launching a medical-grade skincare company. Once you've perfected the product and are ready to take your medical-grade skincare company to market, it it imperative to be open, honest and authentic with your customers. If they believe in you, your mission and love your products, your customers will become one of your most successful marketing tactics!
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