Alterna Professional Haircare®, the formerly independent, North American luxury cosmetics brand and pioneer of clean beauty products, was acquired by Henkel®, the Düsseldorf-based fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) giant in 2014 along with haircare brands Sexy Hair® and Kenra®. Since its acquisition, the Alterna brand hadn’t been a priority for the portfolio, but with the clean beauty movement building, Henkel called to rejuvenate the brand and relaunch products with new packaging, and do it quickly.
Their plan was to minimize their e-commerce burden by partnering with key online retailers and wholesalers like Sephora®, Nordstrom®, and Ulta® to handle distribution. Alterna had drastically simplified the fulfillment process and had made it easy for consumers, businesses and distributors to buy Alterna products online.
Rather than building out the brand’s e-commerce experience, the vision for their online presence was to be editorial, providing valuable, engaging content to Alterna’s professional stylist customers. Alterna needed a solution to source, manage and display multimedia content that was useful, educational and inspiring for haircare professionals.
The newly-hired Digital Marketing Manager at Alterna had more than her fair share of challenges to overcome:
- No digital presence. As surprising as it may be, outside of a generic e-commerce website, the Alterna brand had been so neglected that it didn’t have a digital footprint as of July 2018. While the brand had some social media presence, channel engagement was very low. They’d have to build it from the ground up.
- Aggressive timeline. Alterna products with new packaging would hit shelves in exactly 6 weeks and marketing needed to launch at the same time.
- Marketing army-of-one. As the sole marketer tasked with a massive project, the Digital Marketing Manager had to outsource everything: website development, content writing, media creation, social media management - the list goes on. This meant hiring the right agency partners from the start.
- Failure would be costly. The weight of the project was severe, and failure to deliver on her accountabilities would cost the company. It could mean missing a key opportunity for the brand, and could even damage her reputation as a marketer within the organization.
Bottom line: Alterna needed a website that would impress. It was an essential piece of the foundational marketing materials. With a beautiful rebrand to implement, they needed an agency with the expertise and finesse who could handle the task, deliver to the brand standards, and meet deadlines without fail.
The Digital Marketing Manager knew that hiring experienced agency partners and contractors would be crucial to hitting her 6-week target successfully. At the recommendation of one of its sister Henkel brands, Alterna partnered with Skyrocket, and the clock kept ticking.
What we did
Alterna hired Skyrocket on a monthly retainer for website and marketing content services.
Alterna’s relationship—like every client relationship with Skyrocket—started with our trademark braindump. Alterna’s Digital Marketing Manager brought anything and everything to the table—concerns, priorities, past grievances, needs, budget, and timelines—and downloaded it all to our team. From there, Skyrocket distilled needs from the chaos and developed a plan of attack that would have the most impact. We prioritized Alterna’s immediate need for a website with a plan included website design and development, website content production, and blog content production on a monthly contract.
Alterna’s Digital Marketing Manager appreciated Skyrocket’s integrated yet hands-off approach. We handled everything: information architecture, technology plan and integrations, user stories, user flow, UX design, UI design, content development, analytics setup and integrations, development, DNS setup, QA and testing, and launch—all aligned to current industry best practices and, most importantly, met timelines.
Delivered as promised… in 6 weeks
Following an Agile workflow (What’s Agile? Learn more in our blog post “An Agile Way To Better Work”), Skyrocket built and launched the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of the website in 6 weeks. The MVP focused on the essentials—6 webpages communicating key information for a B2C audience, minimal site features, and beautiful brand implementation. We introduced a robust yet easy-to-use content management system (CMS) solution that was built to scale with Alterna’s needs and would allow the digital marketing team to manage edits.
In the months that followed, Skyrocket refined webpages and pushed updates live in batches. We delivered a web experience that featured beautiful, custom design work and lots of space for compelling content—always staying true to the Alterna brand with every iteration.
Highly visual content for a hyper-focused target
Once the website had launched, Skyrocket developed and executed a targeted content strategy for Alterna’s B2B audience—salons and stylists—including blog posts and design assets. Working closely with Alterna’s Digital Marketing Manager, Skyrocket produced multimedia content including educational articles, product tips, special features, posts on industry events, descriptive and beautifully designed tutorials for recreating looks with Alterna products, and a downloadable media kit for promotions, complete with logos and other social-media-ready assets. The brand now had a place for haircare professionals to learn, grow and be inspired that the digital marketing team could continue to build out.
As the Alterna brand gained digital momentum, the Digital Marketing Manager hired another marketer, growing the digital marketing team to two. The small team still balances a full workload of planning, managing, and executing on numerous projects and campaigns across multiple digital channels daily through successful contractor and agency relationships. Skyrocket remains a trusted partner that continues to support Alterna’s digital team on web development, multimedia content production, brand implementation, and digital strategies.
Skyrocket’s Agile development cycles continue to allow the team to launch, learn, iterate and optimize the website as Alterna releases new products into the market and learns more about what its clients want.
Skyrocket wowed the Alterna digital marketing team and, subsequently, Alterna’s digital marketing team impressed the rest of the company by keeping deadlines, increasing user engagement, and delivering industry-leading, stunning digital experiences that all of Henkel could be proud of. The team even won the “Digital Difference Maker” award at the company for their contributions.
A new website was an important starting point for the greater vision for Alterna’s digital presence. Together, we created a strong foundation for the brand that will serve them well into the future.
From the client
Ashley Braune, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Alterna said that Skyrocket is “...a terrific vendor who is consistently in front of trends, never misses a deadline, amazingly communicative and strategic, and really is like an extension of your team.”
With optimized marketing bandwidth, Alterna's digital marketing team saw a significant increase in content creation overall and accelerated release of multimedia content across all channels.
Won the "2019 Difference Maker Award" at the company for their contributions
Overall media growth in 2019
51,064,148 Impressions +1,560% vs. 2018
- Pro section launch
- Interactive hair quiz
- Lifestyle blog launch and refresh
- New product tutorials
- New product releases
Brand authority and audience reach
- Increased engagement with professional stylist community
- Increased influencer partnerships
- Increased brand partnerships