Friday, 19 February 2021

The dinosaur had a baby - and they called it O.W.N.


A couple of years ago, I addressed the question of old dogs and new tricks, and a little while later wrote about Beiersdorf's first new product launch in 30 years, Skin Stories.

I'm back to Beiersdorf again today, with the launch this week of O.W.N. - a personalised skincare brand for cleansing, day and night care.  

Now, to look at O.W.N. you'd be forgiven for thinking it's yet another of those hip, start-uppy new brands that flood Instagram

All the boxes and more are ticked: 

A pure digital D2C business model

On self-care mega-trend and need for individualisation


Personalised at scale, with 380,000 formula combinations on offer

All driven by A.I. and algorithms, which get to know your skin better day by day

Brand identity fits current aesthetic, including brand name (which stands for "Only What's Needed"), and of course your own name on the packaging

But what's different here is the role of the dinosaur mother company. Only with 140 years' knowledge on skincare and the backing, in development, of a study of 10,000 women in Europe and Asia, with 2.5m "skin measurements", are you going to get the trust and buy-in at scale that O.W.N. is really going to do what it says on the recyclable tin.

And it's all part of the grand (yet flexible) strategic plan and purpose of the matriarch.  

Now, notice I said "mother company", not "mother brand". Did Beiersdorf consider bringing out the new brand under the Nivea name, or at least make some allusion to it? I'm sure that was hotly debated.

Maybe there's something to be learned here for the companies where brand and corporate name are one and the same. 

Whatever, this is a clear sign that some of those legacy dinosaurs aren't going to die out just yet.

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