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Marketing Matters: Creating A Successful Brand in Challenging Times

By: Donna Barson
Posted: December 10, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The technology at the core of the product line was dubbed “HeatSmart Complex” by Joni Rae and Associates, hired to handle the packaging, advertising, marketing and public relations for the brand. Once the formulation was complete, the positioning statement of “healthier hair with heat” was put into action. The line deserved a unique and memorable look with room to tell the story. Due to the lengthy list of ingredients legally required on the package, space became an issue. Ultimately the designer came up with a unique three-sided custom molded bottle that afforded several opportunities—including capitalizing on a unique look that the brand required, more space for the brand story and ergonomic bottles. When it came to choosing colors for packaging, the brand needed to stand out at point of sale and look appealing in the home bathroom environment. To better connect with the consumer, the color palette was ultimately selected in an effort to simplify the purchasing decision, first by category and then by type of hair desired.

In order to get salons to carry what was, at launch, a relatively unknown brand, a distinctive advertising campaign debuted in trade publications to create buzz. The ads featured not models but rather unexpected illustrations of a cup of coffee or a bag of popcorn with a “best when heated” theme. To create an emotional connection with their salon partners, the brand developed a program to help its salon and spa partners grow their business. HeatSmart Rewards let salons and spas earn back-bar and styling station supplies, trial and travel sizes, education opportunities, and more based on Thermafuse purchases.

In just two years, ThermaFuse has won 22 awards. The basic marketing premises of defining a niche, carefully targeting the audience and, in this case, thinking outside of the bottle are all lathering together to create excitement in the rather mature professional hair care market.

Donna C. Barson, MBA heads Barson Marketing, Inc., a marketing strategy, research and business consultancy in the personal care industry. For information about Barson Marketing and its proprietary tracking method for this industry, e-mail or call 1-732-446-3662.