With 6+ years of research and 18 patents, startup Virtue Labs developed a breakthrough technology for haircare called Alpha Keratin 60ku™. Based in a proprietary method of extracting keratin from human hair, this first-of-its-kind ingredient was poised to disrupt a $68 billion industry—if Virtue could get it in the hands of a captive audience. Virtue came to AMP to establish a true day-to-day partner in creative, media, and technology for their brand launch and continued growth. Since 2016, we’ve been there every step of the way
Here’s how AMP Agency developed a go-to-market strategy to launch Virtue as a disruptive force in beauty, and scale their direct-to-consumer ecommerce business.
We developed a holistic go-to-market strategy for the brand, incorporating e-commerce strategy, a website build, shipping experience, media plan, and creative content to support the brand launch. As the brand continued to gain traction and grow year over year, we remained a nimble partner. We drew insight from digital media performance and developed additional successful programs for the brand, from digital campaigns to product positioning to new technology builds.
Driven, gifted, and gutsy, Lauren Lovette was a seamless fit for a brand campaign that encouraged women to be the best versions of themselves. Sharing the battles she faced growing up made her both relatable and aspirational. Seeing her journey through the eyes of her students made it even more inspiring.
Through both our external and internal research, we developed a demographic for our core consumer—aged 25-44, HHI of 75k+, college educated—and strategically bucketed the consumer into four psychographic profiles based on her shopping and content consumption habits: The Style Star, The Culturista, The Millennial Mom & The Beauty Guru.
These audience findings empowered AMP to craft personalized and targeted problem/solution-oriented messaging. The goal: always speak to the right audience in a way that resonates authentically with their need state.
Virtue always knew they wanted to launch their business solely on an e-commerce platform. AMP was there to both strategically recommend the tech platforms they should use to build out their e-commerce business and implement them. With this, we developed the website and full e-commerce experience.
Based on Virtue’s needs, we selected the Magento platform for its flexibility with content management capabilities. Virtue knew that they needed a site that could provide customers with a personalized e-commerce experience. Magento’s system allows for ample customization, so both the AMP and Virtue teams could make simple changes to the website without needing the help of a website development team.
Armed with ample social media expertise in the beauty industry, AMP got to work building a strategy to bring Virtue’s brand to life across social. Our priority KPIs were:
Through these lenses, we aimed to build awareness of the Virtue brand at scale while highlighting the unique benefits of Alpha Keratin 60ku™, drive purchase of the full product line, and establish Virtue as a legitimate player in the category with a value proposition that set it apart from competitors.
We established channel-specific KPIs, channel purposes for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter, and a community management plan. Instagram, for example, served as a hub to introduce users to the brand’s aesthetic and a place to showcase brand love, user generated images, and influencer content, which we know are all-important in the current beauty marketing landscape. To date, we’ve helped the channel organically grow to 17K+ followers. Complementing our organic approach on Instagram, Facebook serves primarily as a channel for paid media and customer interaction.
Once the strategy was in place, we curated, concepted, and produced creative content on a monthly cadence for the first year of Virtue’s time in market. Today, we continue to support Virtue with paid social advertising and social campaign work.
Virtue defined their Restorative Treatment Mask as a key new product launching in April 2018. We developed a comprehensive campaign to support its debut and drive sales, producing all content in-house. The creative assets for the Mask launch were specifically developed for the brand with social acquisition in mind.
Based in the product’s superior power claim—3 minute application for healthier hair—and user reviews anchored in efficacy, our creative highlighted product benefits, showcased before/after transformations, and demonstrated our point of differentiation in the hair mask category.
In our first year working with Virtue, we also uncovered that our initial projected purchaser data skewed younger than the actual consumer buying the product. We used that insight to inform both our casting and targeting for the Restorative Treatment Mask campaign. We casted models diverse in hair type and age to resonate more authentically with our audience, for example prominently featuring a model with gray hair.
We also explored some new platform features for the first time, including Instagram Stories, which drove impressive results for the campaign. Overall, the campaign performed incredibly well and drove stronger than anticipated sales for the product.
Since launching, Virtue has gone from fledgling beauty brand to cult favorite. Garnering recognition from press, beauty insiders, and fans alike, the brand continues to gain momentum at an impressive rate as they bring their business to scale and their technology to the masses.