By Mark Crowell, CRC
JANUARY — FEBRUARY 2010
Horst Rechelbacher is an organic pioneer and a true believer. He also knows something about growing brands. In 1978, he founded Aveda, the largest nat- ural personal care company in the world. In 1997,
when he sold his company to Estée Lauder it was valued at over
$300 million. His newest venture, Intelligent Nutrients, a 100 percent food-based, certified organic personal care brand, may be the
only company that develops, manufactures and sells organic products in three separate organic industry segments: food and beverage, cosmetics and supplements. Just over one year old, the
company already has more than 200 products on the market.
Rechelbacher’s view of how to build a brand is definitive: “Every
human being knows exactly what they want when they see it, hear
it, feel it, taste it.” At first, this may seem simplistic, but this statement acknowledges the power of intuition.
This same intrinsic drive is also at the heart of building a brand.
It’s that gut feeling entrepreneurs have about what the world
needs. That vision is the driving factor in creating something in the
first place, and staying true to that vision when looking to grow
your organic brand—whether through new product development or
other strategies—is the most important thing an organic company
can do to ensure success.
That Vision Thing
What motivates so many organic entrepreneurs? The answer
isn’t in market research. It isn’t in figuring out consumers’ unmet
needs. It’s a vision about what can be. The vision becomes the business mission—what the company stands for and how it achieves its
goals. Breakout brands don’t have a precedent. They have a sort of
“if you build it” sensibility.
It’s not that visionary brand builders don’t listen to the marketplace. On the contrary, they are usually well attuned to popular culture, recent scientific advances and their customers—although
they are surprisingly less concerned about what the competition is
doing. In a succinct description of what visionaries do, Rechelbacher
declares, “I’m in the business to be a ‘how to,’ not a ‘me too.’”