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The problems

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We consulted Aesop at the beginning of their journey of becoming a cult brand. At that time, the marketing budget was small and we collectively felt that if we made the product and in store experience unique enough, people would talk about it.

02 02

We wanted to make early adopters feel like ‘discoverers’, people who had stumbled across a brand who not only sorted out their skin/hair but also spoke to the core of who they felt they were.

Our Solution

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We recommended focusing strongly on product narrative in store, hiring good looking staff is a no-brainer but focusing deeply on knowledge, the chemistry, botany and design behind each product.

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We had a CRM system that tracked what customers bought and we gave samples according to ‘scent families’ or ‘perceived areas of need (skincare or haircare’).

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On digital, we recommended that we spoke in great depth about the design philosophy, rather that each product itself, to differentiate us from other brands in the segment.

04 06

We also decided to speak about other things that mattered to our TG, who appreciated the finer things in life. We wanted to be associated with more than a product, more than a lifestyle – we wanted for Aesop to be a piece of art that delights in the home, the handbag and lifestyle venues.

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Our narrative became about literature, travel and art. We wanted to keep the brand exclusive and not inundate users with constant images. A carefully curated newsletter every quarter allowed our customers to keep in touch with the brand.

06 06

We created easy to ‘pin’ images, we designed stores that encouraged photography with the mobile. A mobile-first strategy where labels were designed for close-range mobile photography. We reached out to a lot of lifestyle influencers and got them to incorporate an Aesop product into their photographs of whatever they blogged about.

Aesop banner
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Leading through Knowledge

We recommended focusing strongly on product narrative in store, hiring good looking staff is a no-brainer but focusing deeply on knowledge, the chemistry, botany and design behind each product.

0206

Pioneering Customisated experiences

We had a CRM system that tracked what customers bought and we gave samples according to ‘scent families’ or ‘perceived areas of need (skincare or haircare’).

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Aesop
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Digital differentiation

On digital, we recommended that we spoke in great depth about the design philosophy, rather that each product itself, to differentiate us from other brands in the segment. This philosophy is still followed on Instagram, but the website has turned into an e-commerce portal to keep up with demands of the customer.

0406

Luxury is about Associations

We also decided to speak about other things that mattered to our TG, who appreciated the finer things in life. We wanted to be associated with more than a product, more than a lifestyle – we wanted for Aesop to be a piece of art that delights in the home, the handbag and lifestyle venues.

aesop
Aesop
0506

The finer things in Life

Our narrative became about literature, travel and art. We wanted to keep the brand exclusive and not inundate users with constant images. A carefully curated newsletter every quarter allowed our customers to keep in touch with the brand.

0606

Over 45 million pins

We created easy to ‘pin’ images, we designed stores that encouraged photography with the mobile. A mobile-first strategy where labels were designed for close-range mobile photography. We reached out to a lot of lifestyle influencers and got them to incorporate an Aesop product into their photographs of whatever they blogged about.

Aesop

Business Impact

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Aesop is the most celebrated luxury skincare brand in the world today. No advertising.

Aesop

Michael O’Keeffe

CEO, Aesop

While expanding Aesop, one of the reasons the brand was so successful was getting the right partner when the business needed it.

In 2008 our partnership with Ritu David was very important to us. One of the things I was focused on as a CEO was how to stretch our current resources as far as they can go, and getting the right partner was key for that.

As a CEO you don’t realise sometimes how restricted your thinking becomes. Ritu came in with what was then called Red Teaming and is now called Design Thinking. We worked on our brand proposition, goal and visual assets. We decided our love for literature needed to be part of our brand experience.

If I was to give any advice, it would be that in a high-growth phase the fewer areas that CEOs and senior management can split their attention the better. Getting a luxury connoisseur like Ritu really helps - trusted outside perspective to lead change.

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