Founded by Carol Dukes CEO and Emma Crowe Director, ThinkNatural.com launched in November 1999 only four months after inception. It is now Europe’s leading etailer of natural health and bodycare goods, and offers a vast amount of related information, as well as a range of 5,000 products from 38 suppliers. A mail order service was launched earlier this month from its established warehouse operation inBerkhamsted, Herts.
Start-up campaign: Keen to avoid a ‘beards and sandals’ or ‘pot pourri and lavender bags’ image, the founders engaged top creative team Fielding Gibson to produce a ‘bright, modern and intelligent’ brand identity via the logo, colour palette, fonts, etc. Web design agency, Tonic Designs, got to work on the look and feel of the site, and BMP Interaction were set on the case for online advertising, targeting most of the big search engines and portals.
Online partners: Simultaneously, distribution deals were put in place with major portals. Terms vary from deal to deal, but often involve several of the following elements: editorial input, exclusive promotions, revenue splits, and preferred or exclusive positioning. Such deals are currently in place with MSN, Freeserve, iCircle, Zoom, BT, AOL, Netscape, and X-stream, amongst others.
Offline partners: Initiative Media were appointed to spearhead offline advertising. Aiming to be as targeted as possible, they are adopting the usual broadcast media (outdoor, tube, national press, and Internet portals), but this is being integrated with much more ‘narrowcast’ media, such as specialist magazines, posters in health clubs, and online targeting through keywords or health-specific sections of sites in order to maximise impact.
New campaign: ThinkNatural.com are now aiming, with their new mail order catalogue, to give the brand further reach. Mailing to approximately 200,000 homes, the catalogue is also being distributed in the high street through Superdrug stores. Kingfisher (parent company of Superdrug, B&Q, Comet, Woolworths, and many others) has recently invested in ThinkNatural.com as a minority shareholder.
Marketing Budget: ThinkNatural.com will not provide figures, but spending in the first phase (to end March 2000) has been split roughly 50:50 between on- and offline marketing. A shift toward offline strategies is envisaged for the future. As far as results go, Carol Dukes feels that time will tell: ‘We know we’re in for the long haul here – brands are not built overnight.’ The best results will be gained by working with media companies seeking long-term partnerships that include some creative opportunities as well as straightforward media exposure, she says.
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