The story behind Jonathan Van Ness’s biggest hair product launch ever
The campaign won in the Fashion & Beauty category at The Drum Awards for Marketing Americas 2023.
Founded by celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Van Ness of the Netflix show Queer Eye, JVN is a haircare brand that transcends the typical celebrity-backed product line. It’s a brand grown from the ground up – literally. The patented hemisqualane used in its formulations is derived from sustainable sugarcane grown and harvested for JVN.
JVN Hair partnered with NoGood for its parent company’s largest product launch ever, where it increased revenue for JVN by 298% for Q1 compared to Q4 of the previous year. The agency was tasked with establishing authority and presence in a saturated industry while developing trust within the market for a new brand – a challenge that required a delicate balance between leveraging Jonathan Van Ness’s existing fan base and establishing awareness for JVN Hair as a standalone brand.
To do this, the team developed a performance branding matrix to experiment with a variety of value propositions and creatives, leveraging data-driven insights to pinpoint the exact combination of messaging and creative that resonated most with the audience and drove the highest conversions.
At the onset of NoGood’s relationship with JVN Hair, the team set an objective to educate, entertain and connect with JVN’s target audience to grow brand authority, build a loyal community, and drive sales. The first few months of a brand launch are crucial for building authority and credibility, especially in the saturated beauty space.
To properly leverage Jonathan Van Ness’s personal brand, the agency planned to execute multiple rapid creative and growth experiments to identify the content, channel mix and conversion journey that best resonate with the audience. An ambitious timeline was set to plan, execute and launch a go-to-market strategy for the brand within one month. In addition to launching the brand, it also aimed to develop and execute pivot product launch strategies for three new SKUs based on prior learnings and to grow JVN’s following on TikTok at a cost-efficient rate.
From a sales perspective, the objective was to identify and leverage key digital channels to drive traffic and revenue with profitable ROI. This involved a need to identify conversion rate optimization opportunities for increased conversions and to implement various experiments within new and existing advertising channels to drive growth.
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The NoGood team set out to apply a performance branding methodology to assist in JVN’s official launch, lay the grounds for sustainable growth, as well as develop the brand’s ethos and voice as a standalone brand outside of Jonathan Van Ness. Despite the challenge of growing in a highly saturated beauty vertical, it designed strategies with the goal to acquire significant market share and positioning the brand as a dominant player.
Although it was important to leverage Jonathan Van Ness’s brand to build authority and credibility, it faced a challenge to raise awareness about the brand beyond JVN’s existing fan base without diluting his personal brand or other strategic projects. Beyond just driving traffic, it also had to reach high-intent audiences with a specific interest in effective, sustainable and empowering haircare – all the while overcoming advertising limitations due to App Tracking Transparency.
In order to establish authority and presence in a saturated industry while developing trust within the market for a new brand, the NoGood team adopted JVN’s brand to create a cohesive, consistent and memorable creative across a variety of channels and ensured brand authority in the beauty industry. This was achieved through rapid experimentation across multiple channels to achieve product-market fit as part of the product launch strategy. NoGood built a performance branding matrix to experiment with a variety of value propositions and creatives, identifying the compilation of messaging and visuals that connected with the audience the most and drove the highest conversions.
To overcome recent iOS updates, NoGood diversified budget across non-traditional stages in the funnel and developed a holistic promotional strategy and calendar to increase revenue and maximize sales. An integral part of the haircare brand is its connection to the founder – Jonathan Van Ness.
The NoGood squad developed a strategy around leveraging Jonathan’s digital presence and reputation to deliver meaningful content, unlock customer loyalty, further maximize revenue, and drive sales. Its creative strategy leveraged best performing TikTok content provided by the JVN team and sourced from the JVN community, repurposing assets for TOF on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest based on its proprietary content pillar framework and asset choice strategy. By utilizing UGC from influencers and community members, it was able to highlight real results from real people, providing meaningful and relatable content that really speaks to the authenticity of the “Come As You Are” brand identity.
As a result, JVN surpassed industry-standard benchmarks in its first 90 days of operation – and it didn’t stop there. NoGood’s strategy aided in the parent company’s (Amyris) largest product launch ever in terms of units sold of its Complete Conditioning Mist, beating out more established portfolio brands by nearly double.
NoGood’s community interaction campaign strategy also prioritized building the JVN community on TikTok to take the brand’s authority in the haircare space. At a low CAC of $0.12, the squad accrued 100,000 followers in under two weeks through an experimentation process across key content pillars such as haircare education, product use tutorials and tips, as well as trendy and reactive content that infused relevance and relatability into the strategy.
In addition, it increased revenue for JVN Hair by 298% for Q1 2022. Compared with Q4 2021, it also achieved 140% increase in blended ROAS, 175% increase in total sessions, 45% increase in conversion rate, 298% increase in orders, 345% increase in revenue of directly managed channels, 475% increase in paid social revenue, 579% increase in Facebook ads revenue, 451% increase in TikTok ads revenue, 298% increase in paid search revenue and a 244% increase in organic search revenue.
All in all, from engaging with Jonathan’s community and developing a community for the new brand, developing ad creative featuring Jonathan and testing campaigns from JVN’s personal accounts, it developed a holistic strategy pulling all the levers necessary to drive the haircare brand towards success.