How to market benevolence: Philosophy skin care

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When it comes to benevolence and building brand trust, there’s an important difference (for today’s customers who are looking beyond traditional brand benefits) between brands that just write the check vs. those that authentically demonstrate their commitment.

Personal care brand Philosophy is doing both. It’s making mental health its marketing cornerstone through its Hope & Grace initiative, and helping in its own way, to actively support and help solve the problem.

You can read the Ad Age article announcing the initiative here.

Efforts include:

• Making an open-ended commitment of donating 1% of all U.S. sales to mental health, which Philosophy believes fits with its heritage of its optimistic messaging. This dovetails, as of 2015, with the relaunch of the brand’s flagship product, Hope in a Jar, as Hope Renewed.

• Making the mental-health initiative a cornerstone of all brand marketing for years to come. Philosophy is also creating unbranded TV public-service announcements for the effort, and may take to TV with branded efforts as well, says Coty Skincare CMO Jill Scalamandre.

• Ultimately, expanding overseas, and hoping to raise more than $10 million for mental health over the next five years alone.

• Parent company Coty joining with the non-profit New Venture Fund to oversee the program, screen applications and award grants averaging $25,000 to community organizations. Ms. Scalamandre expects the process – both the applications and awards – to help build social-media awareness of the program, too.

But why mental health? Ms. Scalamandre said the beauty industry has focused mainly on breast and ovarian cancer and that mental health has a stigma she believes has kept marketers away. “Our role at Philosophy is to break the stigma, to be advocates and not be ashamed.” She also wanted to go beyond other cause programs dedicated to a single product, month or time of year. As we looked at our core consumer, the mental-health space just came out as a natural place for Philosophy to be and own.”

One in four women suffer some form of mental health problem, she said, “a spectrum of anything from depression and anxiety to a traumatic life event that triggers acute depression, to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.”

Here’s the video introducing the Hope & Grace initiative.

The better a brand brings its societal purpose to life through its everyday operations, the more successful both business and social impact will be (Edelman Purpose study). As such, this program is a win-win as it strengthens Philosophy consumers, company and brand.

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand and marketing firm specializing in creating momentum for businesses across the health + wellness continuum. The common threads are consumers who want to get well, stay well and play well, and brands that fulfill these aspirations and goals.

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