Branding 101 with Fenty Beauty

Welcome to Branding 101, a series where we examine celebrities and companies dominating the news, and what we can learn from them. Today’s work work work features Rihanna’s makeup brand - Fenty Beauty.

Photo by  Manu Camargo  on  Unsplash

Photo by Manu Camargo on Unsplash


Fenty Beauty has the makeup industry shook. Last month Rihanna’s new makeup line exceeded expectations at its launch and has since dominated conversations on social media.

With more than 90 products released in 17 countries, Fenty Beauty has established itself as the new “It” girl of beauty brands. While other brands struggle to be inclusive, Rihanna did it right out of the gate. She’s the beauty fairy godmother we’ve been waiting for.

Find a Unique Selling Point

The makeup industry has a history of targeting a very specific audience (read: White women).

Ironically, African-American women spend an estimated $7.5 billion annually on beauty products but have continuously found themselves underrepresented in beauty campaigns and often struggle to find makeup for their skin tones.

Enter Fenty Beauty.

When creating your brand, it’s important to find a unique selling point. What sets you apart from other businesses in your industry? Your brand’s value lies in its ability to harness its uniqueness and promote it accordingly. You want potential customers to trust that your product is unmatchable when it comes to X,Y, and Z.

Celebrity beauty brands are nothing new. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re already familiar with Kylie’s Lip Kits or Gwyneth’s Goop.

However, Fenty Beauty’s emphasis on inclusivity makes it different. Its campaign video featured models of colour with a diverse range of skin tones, including Halima Aden who sported her hijab. For the record, Fenty Beauty has 40 different shades of foundation. I repeat - FORTY.

Rihanna has stressed the importance of being a brand for people of all races, but differentiated Fenty Beauty when she emphasized the importance of providing makeup for women who are usually an afterthought. She’s challenging standard definitions of beauty.

Find your niche, and work it.

Don’t Be A Robot

Robots are cool in theory, but most people don’t respond to humans who display robotic (read: cold) characteristics. Your brand should be reflective of your personality and appropriate for your target audience. This comes down to the logo, the colour scheme used on visual platforms (Instagram), and its “brand voice”.

Much like its founder, Fenty Beauty is witty and sarcastic on social media. Rihanna is known for her confidence, sex-appeal, and outspokenness. She has no problem responding to doubters and trolls, and Fenty Beauty has followed suit.

Keep in mind it may not work for your brand to be sarcastic. One shoe does not fit all: 83% of people prefer brands who are friendly and only 33% prefer snarky. If it works for you, own it but keep your target audience in mind. Your business is an extension of you - speak to potential buyers via social media the way you’d speak to them in person.

Use Your Personal Brand To Support Your Biz

As brands increasingly use social media to interact with current and potential customers, the term “personal brand” has risen. Branding on a business-level is important but branding yourself can help build valuable relationships with fellow industry-makers, customers and clients.

Luckily for Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s personal brand was already defined and influential. She strategically uses her platform to promote the business without sounding like a salesperson. Those who connect with her personal brand will more than likely be interested in Fenty Beauty, or at the very least, check it out.

Don’t have a personal brand? Don’t worry. Your business can still thrive without one. However, in this new landscape it wouldn’t hurt to have your business associated with the face behind it. You want potential customers to feel a personal connection to you, making your business more recognizable and appealing.

Rihanna and as an extension of her - Fenty Beauty, are doing everything right. It’s not surprising, as the brand has been two years in the making (hint: don’t underestimate strategy!). Consider these points when branding your business and you should see higher rates of success with your engagement.

What other branding tips have you learned from Fenty Beauty?