Founded in 1967, Dr. Hauschka Skin Care is today recognized as the pre-eminent natural skin care brand in the U.S. Although ahead of its time in terms of its ingredients, approach to skin care and sustainable gardening and farming practices, Dr. Hauschka had yet to make a dent in the United States market by the early 1990s — while well-respected and successful in Europe, Dr. Hauschka was known only to a small (but quietly growing) cult of enthusiasts in America.
While well-respected and successful in Europe, Dr. Hauschka was known only to a small cult of enthusiasts in America.
At the same time, the natural products movement was hitting its stride, with more and more consumers hungry for all things natural. Consumers were looking for personal care companies whose products were nonsynthetic. They were also craving skin care that actually worked. Dr. Hauschka addressed that gap in the market but was having trouble actually connecting and engaging with the American natural products consumer. It was a classic case of European quality, aesthetics and positioning that were not translating across the Atlantic.
This is a story of people working together for a common cause, leaving their egos behind and trusting in the process.
Repositioning from the Ground Up
Susan and Clifford Kurz took over the distributorship of Dr. Hauschka in the U.S. in 1992. Working with Pure Branding’s marketing and research director, Peter Littell, they began exploring how to express the authenticity of Dr. Hauschka and its parent company, WALA Heilmittel, in a way that connected with American audiences.
Until that point, there had been a reluctance on the company’s part to be fully transparent about Dr. Hauschka’s anthroposophic and biodynamic roots, but Susan and Clifford wanted to find a way to bring the brand closer to its spiritual roots. We began working with them on positioning and identifying the opportunity for the brand. As we came closer to the brand center, WALA decided separately (but fortuitously) to repackage Dr. Hauschka for Europe and the U.S. This meant we had an opportunity to incorporate our U.S. rebranding into the packaging. We tested different options with focus groups to see if the international packaging would work in America.
“The reactions to the German aesthetic were good, so we could work with what they had,” says Peter, “but what our research told us was that the product naming was more problematic. And that’s where we were clear and forceful.”
A working group comprising Pure Branding and Dr. Hauschka’s U.S. leadership and sales team developed the new brand architecture and product nomenclature — and WALA listened.
The launch of the new packaging and positioning was orchestrated around Natural Products Expo West, with careful attention to creating the right degree of excitement and clarity. We supported the launch with an educational seminar featuring collateral that celebrated the new brand positioning and provided the rationale for the naming changes. A product rollover strategy was developed so that in June, Dr. Hauschka would clear out the old inventory from the stores and replace it with the new.