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Magnus Jonsson of Beiersdorf USA

In this Brand Innovator Spotlight, Magnus Jonsson, VP Marketing for Beiersdorf USA, shares how the skincare company is celebrating the centennial of its NIVEA brand and how it’s evolving digitally.

Brandon Gutman: Tell us about the NIVEA 100 Year House and what prompted it.

Magnus Jonsson: As part of our year-long 100th anniversary celebration, we’ve decided to bring the party to New York City with the NIVEA 100 Year House in Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall. Designed to simulate walking through a life-sized tin of NIVEA Crème, we wanted to give our loyal fans an opportunity to wish NIVEA “Happy Birthday” and experience the brand’s evolution from a tin of skin crème to a global icon.

Filled with interactive stations and staffed with NIVEA ambassadors, this free pop-up event offers many exciting opportunities for visitors to interact with our brand and our latest technology. NIVEA has been beloved by women everywhere and from every generation, from Marilyn Monroe to Heidi Klum to Kate Middleton to Kitty Carlisle to Carla Bruni…and many others.

You mentioned how your brand is built on the trust of your consumers. How are you leveraging this digitally?

We continue to leverage our website, Facebook page and other social media tools to keep an open and honest dialog with our consumers. Every year, over 100,000 consumers world-wide reach out to us to provide feedback. In fact, NIVEA recently surpassed 300,000 fans on Facebook, and we look forward to engaging consumers across other applicable digital channels for years to come.

In this anniversary year, as part of NIVEA’s global Skincare for Life campaign, we’re bringing the digital campaign elements to a new level of execution with engaging digital advertising experiences; 10% of the overall marketing budget is being spent on the latest digital activation. Some of our activations include:

  • Beginning at the end of July, consumers can get “skin to skin” with global music icon, Rihanna, with a user generated content app called, “Co-star with Rihanna.” In it, users can star in a short, alternative version of the music video for California King Bed by editing themselves into the video. The experience can then be viewed and shared through social networks.
  • An Augmented Reality piece on the NIVEA website and facebook page will bring users a private performance from Rihanna on a virtual NIVEA Creme tin stage. Users can interact with Rihanna by using any NIVEA Creme tin in front of the monitor and can influence the objects in her surroundings as she sings California King Bed.
  • Online promotional codes redeemable with exclusive downloads of Rihanna’s California King Bed, behind the scenes video, photos and other exclusive content.
  • NIVEA 100 Year House pop up in Grand Central Station

NIVEA 100 Year House pop up in Grand Central Station

As you look to innovate going forward, what is your strategy on connecting with the next generation of NIVEA consumers?

We look forward to embracing a new generation of fans for the next 100-plus years. Beyond innovation, part of our strategy to continuously reach new generations will rely upon our strategic partnerships, such as the one we have with Rihanna, who serves as the official voice of NIVEA’s 100th anniversary celebration. Through the use of social media channels, Rihanna set a new standard for direct dialogues with her fans. On her Facebook page alone she has over 30 million fans—the most of any female celebrity in the world– with a monthly growth rate in the millions. Part of our strategy is to more fully integrate online channels in our cross media communications in the future and to use new technologies. We want to appeal to our consumers where they are and at the same time engage them in an interactive dialogue.

What is your most powerful advice to marketers who want to innovate long seasoned brands while retaining their heritage?

My advice would be to drive innovation while absolutely remaining true to your heritage. At the core of NIVEA’s DNA is our commitment to unparalleled research and development. More than 850 scientists work for the brand globally and our internationally renowned Skin Research Center in Hamburg is one of the largest and most modern of its kind in Europe. Concurrently, we will never forget our roots— Beiersdorf invented the first water-in-oil emulsion skincare cream 100 years ago, the first stable emulsion thereby creating the modern skincare market. Today, NIVEA Crème, in its signature blue tin, continues to be a beloved product among consumers, editors and celebrities alike and its formula remains unchanged.

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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