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Q&A with Aveda's Executive Director


Inside Cosmeceuticals had a chance to virtually chat with Rachael Ostrom, executive director, consumer engagement, at Aveda Global Marketing—who will be presenting "Aveda Case Study: A 360-Approach to Driving Consumer Engagement" at InnoCos USA 2012 in July—about telling its story and getting personal with its consumers.

IC: How important is it for personal care companies to have a personality (or tell a story) in order to engage its consumers; and not only engage them, but turn them into loyalists?

Aveda: A unique brand voice and personality is key to engaging consumers. Aveda strives to cultivate a voice and tone that is unique and authentic.  If you don’t have a strong story to tell and a distinct voice with which to tell that story, engagement will not be sustainable. Test your brand by covering up the logo in your newsfeed. Is it evident which updates are yours? Or could they belong to one of your competitors?

Aveda is most successful when we tell a story, whether it is about an animal we adopt on behalf of our Facebook community, an ingredient sourcing story or a water project we fund, we see a high level of passion expressed in response to these stories; deep-seated engagement of this sort creates advocates for the brand. Our strongest story each year is Aveda Earth Month, and every April we see the highest engagement scores in social media. Our goal in April 2012 is to raise $4.5 million to support clean water efforts around the globe.   

IC: How has Aveda’s approach to creating and cultivating a relationship with its customers changed in the last decade due to mediums such as Facebook and Twitter?

Aveda: First and foremost, we have a two-way communication—a conversation. Social media allows our guests to share thoughts, ideas and viewpoints; given the almost complete integration of technology into our lives, our success depends on our ability to effectively provide the forum for them to do so in the digital sphere. We now have a social voice that is more personal and encourages our guests to tell us just what they’re thinking. 

IC: Would you say different age groups prefer different ways of communication, meaning some prefer print, while other prefer Facebook? And if so, how can you be sure you’re reaching each group?

Aveda: Aveda sees it as more of a personal choice and not necessarily based on demographic. Everyone prefers different methods of communication so we focus on a holistic, 360-degree approach. Aveda’s Facebook page frequently guides visitors to our Twitter, YouTube and pages. Our print ads contain a call-to-action that invites guests to visit an Aveda retail store for a free sample, or directs them to a targeted landing page online. If they go online, they can opt for email communications and have the opportunity to share Aveda offers on Facebook and Twitter—or on their blog if they have one. We provide diverse options, making sure that each references other digital channels at all times. 

IC: Through your recent case study, what was the number one thing Aveda learned? The top takeaway?

Aveda: Growing a Facebook fan base is easy, though developing relevant content everyday that truly engages the guest—i.e., builds brand advocates—takes deliberate attention and thoughtful planning. Authentic, spoken-from-the-heart content creation is fundamental to thriving in the digital world.  

To get more insights on telling your story and brand marketing, check out our newest report—The Cosmeceutical Chronicles: The Top 10 Trends in Cosmeceuticals.

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