Proper branding is imperative to any business's success -- but it goes far beyond visuals. A brand encompasses copywriting, content marketing, social media, graphic design and online presence. A brand is how consumers perceive your company and directly communicates your mission and core values to the world. It remains steadfast and recognizable while still changing with the times, staying fresh and modern. And CoverGirl's recent rebranding demonstrates exactly how to update a brand without alienating customers.
When you hear the name CoverGirl, a specific image comes to mind. Maybe you think about popular celebrities smiling into the camera with a bright red lip. Maybe you think about America’s Next Top Model, with dozens of women fighting to get on the cover of the magazine. Maybe you think of their memorable tagline — “Easy Breezy Beautiful CoverGirl.”
Whatever you think of, I can guarantee you thought of something — and that’s the point. CoverGirl is an iconic brand known throughout the world. The beauty brand was first created in the 1960s, signing its first CoverGirl in 1963. The brand continued to grow and evolve before being acquired by Procter and Gamble in 1989. In 2016, CoverGirl was taken over by Coty — but it’s not just its acquisitions that have caused changes over the years.
CoverGirl started with six products — the line called Clean Makeup. Now, the brand has hundreds of different skincare and makeup products. It’s a global brand with products and advertisements all across the world. Everyone has heard of CoverGirl. Many people have probably used at least one CoverGirl product in their life.
Throughout its many decades, the brand invested in cohesive messaging, recognizable slogans and cohesive packaging and campaigns, fostering a relationship with consumers based on trust -- an important feat, considering that 54 percent of consumers don't trust brands. That lack of confidence directly hinders sales and brand loyalty.
And recently, the brand has started shaking things up -- tactfully, of course. The brand we all grew up with, with the smiling actresses and the eye-catching makeup products, is altering its old image for a new, exciting, and inclusive one, built on the same foundation that the cosmetics empire stands on.
The CoverGirl rebranding began in October with the help of design agency Droga5, when the company got rid of its iconic tagline — “Easy Breezy Beautiful CoverGirl.” In its place, they launched the #IAmWhatIMakeup campaign which was their foray into a more diverse and inclusive identity. To solidify their new brand identity, CoverGirl also added additional CoverGirls to their team — women from all walks of life which include Issa Rae, Katy Perry, Ayesha Curry, Massy Arias, Nura Afia and Shelina Moreda and their newest CoverGirl, 69-year-old Maye Musk (also the mother of one Elon Musk...). These women are a shining example of the progress people have been searching for within the beauty industry.
The company is pushing a very empowering message with their latest campaign, and it’s gained a lot of traction in the months it’s been active, with videos and promotions coming out in support of a more inclusive and diverse mindset in the world of beauty. Makeup is no longer a tool used to hide or change who you are, but to emphasize your own beauty and badassery. Be unapologetically beautiful, the company urges its consumers.
Here is an excerpt from the press release, with CoverGirl SVP Ukonwa Ojo announcing the new #IAmWhatIMakeup campaign:
In leading the relaunch, we started with the insight that people no longer strive for a singular standard of beauty, but use makeup as a tool for self-expression and personal transformation. COVERGIRL has always been inclusive and is known for pushing the boundaries of what it means to be beautiful, which means we have a responsibility to elevate how we connect and communicate with people. This is bigger than a new campaign or a tagline. We hope to spark a provocative dialogue that shifts cultural assumptions about when, where, how and why people wear makeup.
It’s Not Just CoverGirl
This CoverGirl rebranding isn’t the first time a company has tried to become more politically correct and progressive. In recent years, many brands have begun to align themselves with inclusivity, diversity, and body positivity. The definition of beauty is expanding. There isn’t just one “ideal” anymore — and brands are starting to realize that they either have to jump on board, or get left behind.
One example is with Dove, who launched their “Real Beauty” campaign. This campaign pushed the message of body positivity and loving yourself for you — regardless of weight, age, race or gender.
Another example of a company rebranding itself can be seen with Aerie and it’s “#AerieREAL” campaign. This campaign pushed the boundaries of traditional beauty standards, eliminating the use of photoshop on its models. No more retouching. No more “traditionally” beautiful models. Just real women.
Sally Hansen is another brand that is changing its identity to be more positive. The popular beauty brand is running a new campaign called “Shetopia.” Shetopia is all about the self-made woman. It pushes people to reach for a world that has full gender-equality — with men and women working together as equals. The new message harkens back to the life of their founder — Sally Hansen who herself was a self-made businesswoman.
These are just a few examples of brands ditching traditional and outdated standards of beauty in favor of inclusivity, body positivity, diversity, and female empowerment. Not only has CoverGirl expanded its arsenal of CoverGirls, but its recent product rollout is also a toll they’re using to tell people that they are strong, fearless, and beautiful whatever race, gender, or age that they are.
What’s A Campaign Without A Makeup Line?
With the release of its new makeup line, CoverGirl is entering its second stage of rebranding. And I’ve got to say, while the makeup itself is reminiscent of the CoverGirl I grew up with, I can definitely feel the changes — and I dig it.
The new #IAmWhatIMakeup product line drives their message of inner beauty and inclusivity with its wide selection of products that compliment all skin types. And they’re using their CoverGirls well, showing just what makeup can do to flatter all people from all walks of life.
Their new product line consists of a vast array of eye pallets, lip colors, mascaras, foundations, and brow liners that aim to empower individuals to wear makeup for themselves — not for anyone else. Sharp metallics and soft lips really give their audience a little bit of everything, allowing them to mix and match and, at the end of the day, just have fun.
The new makeup line urges users to be unapologetically beautiful — rocking whatever colors and styles that make them happy in who they are. And with the new message, also comes a new look.
Their new, minimalistic design puts all the focus on the makeup — seemingly showing consumers that what they do with the makeup is up to them. They are the works of art that the makeup can highlight, not the other way around.
This simple, subtle design is a stark change to the normally bright and eye-catching packaging of the past. I remember quite vividly the chunky, bright pink CoverGirl mascara I used all throughout college and this new packaging looks nothing like the CoverGirl I grew up with.
And yet, it’s strangely appealing.
This packaging is more in line with other, popular brands lining stores across the world — brands like ColourPop, Glossier and Milk. It’s simple, elegant and pleasing to the eye — and the look almost makes you want to put the products on a shelf to display like art.
But what has prompted the new packaging? Of course, with a new brand identity and message comes new products — but how does package design fit in with the CoverGirl rebranding as a whole?
Why Is Package Design Going Minimal?
With Millenials taking charge and making a greater impact on society, minimalist trends have risen greatly over the last few years — from beauty brands to fashion companies, and even in food and drink packaging.
Boxed water, anyone?
Millenials want cleanliness. Millenials want things that are clutter-free. Millenials just don’t have the space for stuff like older generations did, and so this desire for simplicity has spilled over into how brands market themselves and their products. They stray away from bright, obnoxious colors. They don’t use too many words to get their point across. The products themselves are even getting smaller — with consumers wanting products that travel and store easy.
When it comes to beauty, in particular, there seems to be more of a push for natural, organic, and healthy products. People don’t just care about makeup that transforms, but makeup that heals, makeup that soothes, and makeup that promotes a health and vivaciousness that most of our middle school selves couldn’t have cared less about. As a result, brands are focusing more on giving makeup that has benefits for your skin — makeup that is clean and fresh — which they mimic in their packaging.
And this minimalist packaging definitely makes you think. It sparks creativity and puts you in charge. Before, a foundation was used to cover. But now it’s used to highlight and smooth. Minimalist packaging allows the user to embrace their own creativity and make their own decisions. They aren’t being told what to use or how to use it. They get to explore their own ideas of makeup, beauty and art in their own ways. Minimalist packaging makes this process easier because it doesn’t tell, it asks, “what do you think?”
CoverGirl’s product design is moving towards a simple, light, and airy design that pulls more people in by inviting them to use their own imagination and creativity. It’s clean and sleek look emphasizes its natural ingredients and the brand’s dedication towards openness and positivity. This design and packaging apply to everyone, just like their message of positivity and unapologetic beauty applies to everyone.
CoverGirl isn’t the only band jumping on the minimalist bandwagon, but it knows what’s on trend and it’s definitely working with it.
Minimalism is here and it's here to stay, with brands leaving behind the abstract in favor of cleaner lines, brighter, natural colors and simpler designs. Like this beer bottle design by Krone Beer.
And just look at companies like Brandless — whose entire message is about ditching traditional brand design for something more simple, efficient and sophisticated.
I mean, look at Ikea furniture. The appeal is, of course, in its cheapness and how easy the furniture is to put together. (I say 'easy' very loosely.) But it's also just so darn nice to look at.
Every time I'm in Ikea I come across at least a dozen things I want to buy — a sleek and simple desk; a tall, stoic lamp; or a bed frame that, of course, doesn't leave much to the imagination. But man, I've never loved the shape of a square so much in my life.
It's a minimalist's dream. And package design — as well as web design and textile design — is moving in much the same direction.
CoverGirl didn't start the minimalist trend, but it will definitely benefit from it.
CoverGirl, Minimalistic Design & The Future
CoverGirl's rebranding was a few months in the making, but the brand seems to be hitting all the right marks, giving consumers what they want even if they didn’t consciously know it at the time. With a message of positivity, inclusivity, and diversity paired with a minimalist package design, CoverGirl is putting the definition of beauty back into the hands of consumers — letting them decide what beauty means to them and how they want to show their beauty off.
So what does the new CoverGirl look like? CoverGirl in 2018 is:
- Body positive
- And unapologetically beautiful.
This new brand identity was recently joined by a new product line of metallic eyeshadows, pronounced lip colors, and skin-healthy products. But it’s not just the products that are new — the packaging is new too.
CoverGirl’s new package design is:
- And really engages your imagination.
CoverGirl is just one of many brands changing their package design to cater to a younger, more minimalistic audience. And the packaging seems to go hand in hand with the new message the company is trying to promote. It’s clean, simple, and straightforward — exactly what people want when it comes to beauty products. People don’t need to be dazzled anymore, they need to be satisfied — and this new look is extremely satisfying to the eye.
With competition amongst brands rising, CoverGirl knew it had to stand out, and knew it had to promote positivity and acceptance. Its new message and packaging are likely to promote the brand into the future, making CoverGirl a brand that will continue to make waves for years to come.
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