5 brand tactics used by Jessica Alba on the Honest Company brand

The Hollywood star reveals how she leveraged technology and digital despite initial backlash to kick-start her billion-dollar natural product venture

Jessica Alba, Founder, The Honest Company on the Women’s Innovation Panel at Dreamforce 2015. Photography by Jakub Mosur Photography
Jessica Alba, Founder, The Honest Company on the Women’s Innovation Panel at Dreamforce 2015. Photography by Jakub Mosur Photography

Hollywood actress turned entrepreneur, Jessica Alba, spoke at the recent Salesforce Dreamforce Conference in San Francisco on how she has created her billion-dollar natural product empire, the Honest Company.

Here are five lessons in brand expansion strategy worth sharing from Alba’s presentation.

1. Fill a gap in the market

When Jessica Alba gave birth to her first child in 2008, she realised there was a significant gap in the baby retail industry for products that contained no petrochemicals or synthetic fragrances.

“I tried to shop around the problem,” she said. “I was shopping online, I was buying stuff from other countries and I thought this is so hard and so time consuming, isn’t there just one brand I can trust that’s transparent about what’s inside and that makes safe and effective products for every part of your home? I couldn’t find one brand that did it all, so I created it.”

2. Embrace digital from the outset

Starting out in 2011, the company began with a solid digital sales model, with the majority of sales generated online via a monthly subscription service, before rolling out to major retail distributors including Target, Nordstrom, Whole Foods and Costco. But despite Alba’s successes, making Hollywood understand her decision to shift to a digitally savvy entrepreneurship model was by no means easy. she said.

“Hollywood doesn’t understand technology,” she said. “I’m part of the digital generation, and we all get information online, we share content online and I learn about products online. That’s the community. We used to say it takes a village to raise a child, it’s now all online. That’s how we do it - it’s the Internet that’s become our village. And I’m a part of the generation that cares about that. So it was important for me to launch this company online.”

3. Position your idea precisely

To effectively leverage technology to build her brand, it took Alba three years to find her business partners, CEO Brian Lee, President Sean Kane and chief product officer, Christopher Gavigan.

“Lee was one of the first to launch a monthly subscription model,” she said. “The only way I could create my subscription service was to work with the guy who created the business model. So I went to him and he was friends with my husband, but at first, he turned me down. And at that point I was getting rejected by so many people, I just thought great, another one. But instead of it devastating me, it made me more determined to make it work.”

According to Alba, if you have more than 20 questions about a new business or brand that you can’t answer, it requires more work and you’re not prepared.

“So I made my pitch more concise, whittled it down from 50 pages to 10 and pitched it to him 18 months later,” she said. “By then, he had had a kid. Then he saw the gap and said I want my new baby to grow up in a safer and healthier world. Everything matters now, in a totally different way.”

4. Listen to and leverage social media

Alba said she knew she was onto something when people other than her family and friends were engaging with the brand online and on social media and providing positive feedback on the results they were having from using the Honest product range.

“People were emailing us and posting under my Facebook page, just how after trying our products for a couple of days it was impacting their life,” she said.

5. Embrace gender diversity

Alba noted that when it comes to hiring and retaining talent as a company, there’s a focus on backing digitally savvy women.

“We’re always on the lookout for amazing talent and we have a focus on women,” she said. “At the end of the day, our company is for women, whether they are buying our products mostly. We completely support women who code…I do not know how to code, but I can put in a JIRA ticket!”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How service heterogeneity is impacting engagement

Marketers have long known the importance of standardising products to assure quality and consistency. For services, however, standardisation is much more complex.

Dr Chris Baumann

Associate professor, Macquarie University

Kindness matters in business: why the nice guys finish first

A recent 1000-page Royal Commission report on misconduct in Australia’s financial sector revealed hair-raising stories of excessive commissions, rampant mis-selling and charges levied on the dead. So how do you stop a bank from misleading its customers?

Nick Liddell

Director of Consulting, The Clearing

Myer vs. David Jones: Do cyborgs win?

As two of Australia’s stalwart brands in Myer and David Jones continue their respective journeys through troubled waters, it heralds yet another sign of the shifting business environment and shift towards an experience economy.

Tom Uhlhorn

Founder and strategy director, Tiny CX

nice article

meripadhai

5 things marketers need to do to get better in buy in when presenting

Read more

International business is closely related to marketing or marketing activities carried out by the company. According to Gitman and McDani...

Eko Prasetyo Utomo X

Salesforce: The age of the marketing campaign is over

Read more

Back in 1968 Holden began an appeal to customers who have an interest in competition. It did this with the introduction of the HK GTS 32...

Ben Tate

Marketing professor: For Holden, brand nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

Read more

Your blog post is really good and informative. Thanks for taking time to provide us this useful information with us.Auto wrapping uaeADF ...

Yes Machinery

Image intelligence:10 must-see infographics for marketers

Read more

A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this marvelous information.I have taken in numerous things from your post

digitech Classes

Lumen CMO strives to make the brand synonymous with anti-ageism

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in