CXO Series: Effective Branding Now
Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, a board-certified medical doctor, author and speaker on the subjects of neurohormones and health, and CEO and founder of Schique Skincare, has strong opinions about branding and health. “If someone is going to jeopardize someone’s health, it’s disheartening and it’s wrong,” she tells Brand Experience magazine in an interview at her home in southern California. “To make sure we’re being great leaders, we must be consistent with our marketing messaging.”
Dr. Schaffer argues that it’s imperative that brand leaders also realize that what is a marketing message has fundamentally changed. She notes that a blog for a vegan beauty brand that posts about how to grill the perfect steak for the holidays is sending mixed and confusing brand messages to the public. “Staying consistent and staying true to your brand are crucial to gaining the trust of your customers,” she says.
Part of the solution, Dr. Schaffer adds, is understanding that shoppers are buying more than just a product. With every purchase, shoppers buy into a lifestyle philosophy and also are making those purchases part of the message of what they, as individuals, are all about. For example, Dr. Schaffer says, “If you are a parent, your children are going to see your purchasing decisions as guidelines to what’s acceptable and not acceptable in life. Your children will notice when you make purchases that have impacts on your health and theirs as well as your shopping decisions’ effects on the environment.”
When asked about the financial impacts of choosing and making products with more favorable nutritional and/or biological profiles, Dr. Schaffer acknowledges that these decisions might be more expensive for brands and consumers now but she argues that is changing. “Making educated and considered choices will change the markets,” she opines, “and by changing the markets, we will be changing the norm. Because healthier choices for individuals and the world will become the norm, it will not be so costly and hurt businesses’ profit-and-loss statements. While I know that everyone needs to be conscious of their budgets, I truly believe that doing the right thing will result in financial reward, not loss.”
Part of the reason why authentically socially responsible brands will win in the marketplace, Dr. Schaffer argues, goes back to the aforementioned fact that how brands are telling their unique brand stories are changing. “It definitely takes marketing,” she says. “It takes you being out there and letting people know your brand message. It means you go to events and you definitely work on marketing collaborations that result in exposure for your brand.”
Even the smaller venues matter, she says. “Let’s say, I get invited to a yoga retreat to talk about wellness. That might be just a couple thousand people, but these are people who didn’t know about me and my brand before.” She encourages brand leaders to remember that buzz is exponential and that a couple thousand people at an event not only get to know your story but they potentially can become ambassadors for your brand.
That’s why it was important for Dr. Schaffer to speak at the Luxe Pack Los Angeles event in February, where Brand Experience magazine initially connected with her. In a panel discussion that asked the questions, is wellness the new luxury, and is healthy and happy the future of luxury retail, Dr. Schaffer challenged the audience to rethink the standards for luxury brands and how they market aspirational lifestyles in addition to reconsidering how changing retail marketplaces should affect their go-to-market strategies.
Because, she says, the changes are already happening. Shoppers are thinking of products as more than physical items and part of their own lifestyles and branding; your marketing messages are your blog and social media posts as much as they are your commercials, ads and packaging; and retail is at your shoppers’ doorsteps and will continue to grow as long as people continue to value their time—in other words, indefinitely.
“Direct-to-shopper sales will continue to grow as long as we value time with our families and friends doing the things we all love to do together,” she says and further notes, “These services will take over because time is precious to us.”
That doesn’t mean the value of discovery is going away, Dr. Schaffer advises. She says that services such as subscription boxes will grow, continuing to meet the shoppers’ need to find new brands and products and brands’ need to share their unique brand stories. Dr. Schaffer also says that collaborations with retail-adjacent industries can also help brands and shoppers discover each other and notes that juice bars are playing an increasingly important role in connecting shoppers with beauty brands.
Collaborations, such as those between beauty brands and juice bars, also brings us back to Dr. Schaffer’s observation that these purchases are part of your shoppers’ lifestyle philosophies. She’s taking her own advice and says the future of Schique lies beyond skincare products. It will become a wellness brand, and that will help Dr. Schaffer fulfill what she believes is her true destiny to help others live healthier, happier lives. A mission she started on an individual basis as a medical doctor, and one that she continues en masse as a brand leader and author.