In my work at MMR, I’m lucky enough to be involved in the development of many new and exciting products and brands. It’s always immensely satisfying to see many of these creations hit the shelves. In recent times, there is one brand which really stands out for me – YourGoodSkin – the newest complete brand launch from Walgreens Boots Alliance.
I first started talking to the team in December 2014. The room was buzzing with excitement, with a strong desire to develop a complete new and ‘top secret’ range – and they were seeking our support.
Their plans were ambitious to say the least, but like all major investments, identifying a clear consumer need was uppermost in their minds.
Our proposal was to go beyond the obvious attitudinal surveys and truly get under the skin (excuse the pun) of how women thought about their skin, and the changes it undergoes over time. We passionately believed that the answer was the set-up of a long term online community – and the team agreed.
And so the Skin Matters Community was born – with a sizable number of
women for whom skin matters. As anyone in market research will tell
you, such communities live or die based on the level of stimulation.
Running communities is hard work, but our dedicated team nurtured
something rather special over the course of the first year. It’s fair
to say that we got to know some real characters.
journey is complete without its ups and downs - and the road was
definitely bumpy at times. That said, there is no substitute for
prolonged engagement with the consumer. Our women on Skin Matters proved
a fantastic source of inspiration, realism and grounding. Long before
their role in telling us about the skin perceptions came to end, the
team realised they were on to something: the community had become a
powerful tool in really understanding the consumer, inside and out.
This is gold dust for any brand - and even more for a brand that didn’t
even have a name!
Such was the impact of the community with the team, they allowed it to continue well beyond the original planned end date. It became the heart of the development process – providing reaction to any question or suggestion; reviewing and critiquing iterations of each aspect of the emerging brand and trying and testing every product with the range. As time went on, the focus shifted to execution, and again it was the community that provided the guiding light. Indeed, by this time the community had elevated itself from research tool to a vibrant collective of women, united in their attitudes towards skin and a real desire to make an impact on the world. I could not think of a more fitting end to the longest project I have ever worked on.
The fruits of the community are now available for us all to see. I must confess, I danced down the aisle of my local Boots store when I first caught sight of the new range on the top shelf in all its glory.
WBA were clearly confident about their new baby – an additional
promotional end tempted me to invest in the Balancing Skin Concentrate.
From the moment I picked it up it felt perfect – from the gold writing,
to the matte, luxurious look and feel of the box - which was seamlessly
flowed into the matte silky feel of the serum in your hand.
up any pack and you’ll discover a seal of approval: ‘Co-created with
1000s of women’. Several other touches, like the magnetic seal closure
or the ribbon the helps lift the product out of the box, combine to
generate total conviction that this product will work. And if anyone
needs further proof, we have the real words from our community women
themselves (see below).
is tough, but my first hand of experience of the power of communities
tells me that in an age of co-creation, we need to be doing more of this
stuff! The vividness of the process is far more likely to hit upon the
things that really matter to consumers, and in an age where
recommendations outclass advertising for impact, products that can claim
to be co-created by real people must have a competitive edge.
Susannah Croucher is a Research Director at MMR.