Blackmores CMO shares why she's tackling a masterbrand refresh

Lockdowns and health concerns present unique opportunity to understand customers' changing attitudes towards health and wellness

Joanne Smith didn’t intend to join a health-focused company during a global health crisis. But nine days after starting as chief marketing and innovation officer at Blackmores Group in early 2020, that was the scenario she found herself in.

While lockdowns and health concerns proved challenging for Blackmores’ staff and customers alike, they also gave Smith and her team a unique opportunity to understand customers’ changing attitudes towards their health. Those insights have now been brought to life in Blackmores’ first masterbrand campaign in four years.

As the custodian of the brand of a 90-year-old company, Smith’s starting point was Blackmores’ heritage.

“That was really important to me, because coming into the business, I wanted to have a deep understanding of where we had come from,” Smith tells CMO. “It is a beautiful brand. So it was really important to make sure there was a strong, common understanding of where we had come from, and the drivers of our success.”

Jonanne SmithCredit: Blackmores
Jonanne Smith

Connecting that heritage to the changing needs of customers led Smith and her team to embark on extensive social listening and research across the 13 markets Blackmores works in to understand how consumers were experiencing healthcare. Smith also tapped into the team of naturopaths at the Blackmores Institute, which operate a centre of excellence for natural health research and education for pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, GPs, and naturopaths.

“As we spoke to our naturopaths and did the social listening, we started to uncover the opportunity, and it was a much bigger opportunity than I think any of us thought,” Smith says. “One of the repeating themes we kept hearing was the importance of health and wellbeing was rising in consumers’ consciousness. That created a really interesting tension.

“There had been a profound reminder that good health is at the heart of what we value most and living a natural healthy life can play a major role in how we experience the best that life has to offer. But there was also a rising consciousness we have never probably been less in control of it.”

This insight has been captured in the new campaign as ‘good health changes everything’ and was introduced to the market on 30 October 2021.

“That was the 30 second master brand campaign and will be followed with a full 360-degree campaign,” Smith says. “We are going to have a strong focus on television, digital and content, right through the path to purchase. We will be developing more product-specific executions of the overarching creative platform, and then we will be launching into our global markets through 2022 as well.

“This is the first time we have had a unifying creative platform where we will be executing consistent brand messaging across all of the touchpoints, and not just in Australia, but all of our markets.”

Smith’s goal now is to build and strengthen Blackmores’ connections with consumer across all markets, with the ambition of reaching 1 billion consumers by 2025.

Throughout this process, Smith says she has been aware of the importance of honouring the unique philosophy and story of Blackmores as a pioneer in natural health.

“As we started to do work on this campaign, the value that came up over and over again for Blackmores was trust,” Smith says. “That trust is based on those 90 years of heritage and expertise, and comes from consistent investment in education, in understanding science, in the highest standards in quality, in safety, and in product development, and then translates to the product that you see on the shelf.

“It is a key value for the brand and something we will continue to build on in everything that we do.”

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