Previous Next Four hundred million reasons to be good at the branding game. Hired by the CEO who was charged by private equity owners to grow Fekkai’s business in preparation for a sale event, our branding expertise went to work and played a pivotal role in a well led, well executed, transformational business strategy that culminated in an acquisition price of +$400 million by Procter & Gamble. And we stayed with Fekkai for many more years following. chapter 1: Fekkai + Private Equity. Behave like a fashion house, not a haircare brand. Aspirational. Modern. Relevant. Our strategy was to unify three, then, disparate brand experiences into one singular sensibility; 1. Frederic Fekkai, the savvy French-born stylist and taste arbiter sought after by supermodels, politicians, and power-brokers alike; 2. Frederic Fekkai Salons, the first salon experience that looked, felt and serviced its clientele like a fine European boutique hotel (and charged like one, too); 3. Fekkai haircare sold in the prestige channel. The most obvious need was to create unity by consolidating all package design, collateral, point of sale and online look and feel so the brand expression was graphically congruent and consistent. The same has to be done to the Fekkai look, since the salons are filled with model photography representing the brand. And we have to determine how best to communicate the brand’s philosophy and points of difference in a way that was fluid. Pun intended, but great branding is like a great haircut; it doesn’t look like you had one. specific tactics. The Verbal Identity: This brand has a gift it wasn’t capitalizing on—its stylish, French-born, visionary authority, Frederic, whose core belief was unique: haircare products are as important as skincare. Frederic and his philosophies, henceforth, will speak for the brand through a combination of quotes and informative product information. (Of note, a Fekkai signature was the use of packaging components most often associated with skincare.) The Visual Identity: Behave like a fashion brand, not a haircare brand; 1. Create a uniquely Fekkai photographic style using black & white photography (versus color, traditionally used for haircare brands); hire Peter Lindbergh, a brilliant photographer known for his fashion and lifestyle photography, to capture that aesthetic; 2. Tell ‘her’ story. Feature the entire women, not just head-shots, typical of haircare brands; 3. Define the “Fekkai look” and choose models who meet that criteria. There’s lots more that was done over these years, but once all the business needs were aligned, it was go-time. Ready. Set. SELL. Four hundred million dollars later… chapter 2: SOLD! Fekkai + Procter & Gamble. Make prestige more prestige. Make food/drug/mass (FDM) retail best in class. The original P&G play was to take Fekkai to the masses and leave the prestige market for other upscale brands. But after the sale, P&G management dug into Fekkai’s heritage and fell in love. Who wouldn’t? They thought a dual channel distribution strategy would work under a one-brandname banner—Fekkai. Except it couldn’t. And it didn’t. Boy, were we ever vocal about our concerns. We did presentations, showed alternative paths, new branded ideas, spoke to people up and down the food chain. But the decision was made. For many years we forged ahead in partnership executing the dual channel strategy nationally, shepherding the brand through P&G integration processes, and transitioning from more arbitrary entrepreneurial business practices to traditional corporate methodologies in preparation for a global roll-out. what did we do? Pretty much everything! Agency of record for both Prestige and FDM channels: -brand ideation. -positioning, brand and rebrand strategies. -brand visual and verbal identity. -naming + copywriting. -brand architecture. -package design, including patented tooling. -asset creation for all research initiatives. -ideation and execution of global advertising campaigns. -salon design ideation. -merchandising; retail + PR collateral and POS. -worldwide brand standards toolbox. -photo, video, music, and TV assets creation and production. -digital content + social media.