When researching this article, I googled the word ‘innovation’ and more than 1 billion hits were revealed. It seems innovation is as popular worldwide as it is in our offices. ModelCo launched into the market with the phenomenally successful heated eyelash curler, or as the masses know it, the Turbo Lashwand.
It was an innovative solution to the kinking and breakage issues women faced with traditional manual curlers. Turbo Lashwand was just the beginning – our cult products have since seen the business recognised as the first to market a range of unique products never before seen in the cosmetics industry.
Our second innovation, TAN Airbrush in a Can, sparked an entirely new beauty category and revolutionised the world of tanning with the introduction of airbrush technology. Our philosophy at ModelCo is to create smart beauty solutions before women even realise they need them – then once they’re launched, women wonder how they ever lived without them.
It was after these two innovations that I truly understood the value and worth of innovation as a business model, especially in the competitive beauty market. I started ModelCo while working as a model agent. I saw a gap in the market for products that models, stylists and makeup artists expressed their desire for but which didn’t exist.
By offering smart beauty solutions rather than a seasonal and trend based cosmetics range, we were able to carve out a niche in the market. Although, new products aren’t the only way you can incorporate and leverage innovation in your business, and this is always top of mind for us. Because we only launch a limited number of new products, we are constantly coming up with inspiring and innovative ways to relaunch some of the same products into the market. Innovation is also about new ideas. For example, we’ve changed our packaging several times throughout the past 10 years to refresh and revive the brand and bring it back to the front of the consumer’s mind through a simple facelift. However I always maintained the signature hot pink brand identity, I just did so in a new and inventive way.
It was after these two innovations that I truly understood the value and worth of innovation as a business model…
As well as this, we use a clever multi-channel business and marketing model including department stores, eCommerce, home shopping television, social media, specialty beauty apothecaries and selected high-end fashion/lifestyle boutiques. This multi-channel, integrated business strategy enables ModelCo to build brand awareness, increase consumer loyalty and leverage investment while reinforcing the authenticity and premium image of the brand.
The introduction of social media has seen us use a number of channels including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest to speak to our customers and fans on a personal level. It has also been instrumental in growing sales for our global online store.
Social media allows us to engage with our customers in ways traditional marketing can’t service. We use Facebook to host custom-built competitions and surveys, Instagram to generate fans through hash tags, and also Twitter to connect with fans. It’s about keeping things fresh, creative and intriguing. Innovation to me is the perfect fusion of rational and logical thinking with the imaginative and perceptual. It’s a mix of commercial and creative. So what that means for ModelCo is that, every time we do something, we ask ourselves, ‘Why are we doing this?’ And when we know the answer, we brainstorm as widely and as creatively as we can to ensure our customers are excited and energised about the brand and the products. As economist Ted Levitt once said: “Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress”.
First published July 2012.