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How to Make a Cosmetic Product Brief Part 2: Commercial Parameters and ICP

Elizabeth Heath

Oct 5, 2021 · 4 min read

How to Make a Cosmetic Product Brief Part 2 Commercial Parameters and ICP_goldn

In the first installment of this two-part article, we introduced the all-important Cosmetic Product Brief – the foundation on which your idea for a new cosmetic product or Beauty Brand takes shape. It’s really so important that your brand or idea can’t get to market without it.

There are three principles that make up the brief, and that define how you proceed with your cosmetic product creation. They are:

  • #1 Physical Description
  • #2 Commercial Parameters
  • #3 ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)

In the earlier article, we discussed Physical Description, including what goes into your product and what kind of packaging your product goes into. The description is super-important, but there are other parts to the brief that make up your development strategy, and they’re all crucial during development and especially later – at launch.

That’s why you need a very clear section in your Product Brief that deals with market factors, including where you see your product being sold, and who your ideal customer is.

Principle #2: Commercial Parameters

Commercial Parameters are a big piece of your marketing game plan. Broadly, they includes your expenses and to-market timeline.

Most Professional Cosmetic Developers – those who’ve done this before – will have some Commercial Parameters in mind. Back to our sunscreen example, they may already know:

  • They want to sell it for $X, so COS (Cost of Sale) per item can’t be higher than $Y.
  • They want to launch in the Spring, so, working backwards, they know that formulation, testing, and packaging all have to be completed by the late winter.
  • They’ve started thinking about their go-to-market plan, and the development requirements needed to support the launch of a new product (like extra units for testers, or sample sizes for marketing and promotion).

With all that in mind, experienced Product Developers will outline the Formula and the Packaging sections of the Cosmetic Product Brief through that lens.

But first-time Cosmetic Creators, who maybe don’t know their SRP or target COS, or who aren’t bound by specific launch dates, may overlook the importance of determining their Commercial Parameters.

Coming up with your Commercial Parameters requires as much research as goes into your formula and packaging. With a sunscreen, for example, this part of the brief might require the following:

  • Knowing how long it takes to test an SPF’s efficacy
  • Knowing what other tests and certifications are required, for example, to make sure your product is child-safe
  • Calculating your packaging costs long-term – for example if a minimum order of tubes is 10,000, but you’re only launching with 1,000 tubes of product

Before we look at Principle #3, are you starting to see how a well-structured Cosmetic Product Brief really helps in development? We hope you can see how these steps can set you up for faster and easier product creation.

Principle #3 ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)

This last part of the Product Brief really allows you to be strategic with your development plans, your budget, and your choices around formulation and packaging. Defining your ICP, or Ideal Customer Profile, is as much about Sales and Marketing as it is about Product Development.

Cosmetics are emotional products. They help us feel things; they help us look a certain way, and they can really contribute to our sense of wellbeing. It’s for that reason that people buy cosmetic products from the brands that appeal to their emotions and aesthetics.

Cosmetic Creators must keep in mind that a product experience is felt in every facet of the customer journey, from the moment of discovery to consideration and purchase, all the way through to opening and trying the product and experiencing it on our faces, hair, and bodies.

When you’re building out your Product Brief, you’re asking yourself: Who is this product for?

It’s not enough to say kids, or women over 40 or men with beards. You have to imagine your Ideal Customer’s lifestyle, their shopping habits, the prices they might be used to paying for cosmetic products.

When you do that, you are thoughtfully crafting your Ideal Customer Profile. And your ICP will shape – at least in part – the product that you develop, from COGS to packaging to the very formula inside.

So after you’ve outlined your ICP and maybe gone back to Principle #1 (Physical Description) to adjust your formula and packaging descriptions, you want to think about where your ideal customer hangs out and where they shop.

It’s important to think about how your product is going to reach your customer. Because every sales channel has its costs, whether you have an online store and run ads or do SEO, go through a distributor or directly into brick and mortar. There are costs to market and sell to your ICP – including costs for things like shipping and storage space or merchandising and samples.


By incorporating these three principles when you build your Cosmetic Product Brief, you are in a much better position to move onto the next stages of Product Development and preparations for go-to-market.

If you are interested in building your own Cosmetic Product Brief, keep following the Goldn blog and our social media channels, and check out our online Product Builder – the world’s first. There, Cosmetics Creators will be able to develop cosmetics in a way that has never been done before: simply and delightfully!

Elizabeth Heath

Written by

Elizabeth Heath

Liz is a writer and editor based in central Italy.

Connect with Elizabeth Heath on LinkedIn.

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