Authentic branding by Natura

Guest post from Diego Kerner, Managing Partner, brandgym Latin America

We've been looking for examples of "authentic brands" for a brand vision project I'm running in Latin America. And the best example we came up with is Natura cosmetics, a brand built on genuine "brand truths" that makes it different and better.

If you don't know it, Natura is a fast growing, multi-billion Brazilian beauty care brand. It started working on ethics, sustainability and social issues 25 years ago, long before these were hot topics. It does a good job of balancing 3 Ps of people, profit and planet. Interestingly, the natural and human side of the brand is even reflected in the "route to consumer". In the internet age, It operates a different model, mainly selling through its direct sales force of 700,000.

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So, what makes Natura such an attractive brand, not just for consumers but also for employees? After all, it seems to be attracting a lot of talant from bigger corporates like Unilever and P&G seeking a more meaningful and inspirational brand building challenge.

-       Brand Leadership from the top: a key factor in Natura's success is the brand leadership from the top of the company. The founders (Luiz Seabra, Guilherme Leal and Pedro Passos) still play an active role in selecting ingredients, participating in new product brainstorming and defining entry strategies for future markets. And the founders still own 75% of the company, according to Ethicalcorp.

-       Inside-out Branding: the brand idea, “bien estar bien” (well being well), celebrates the harmonious and pleasurable relationship between ourselves with our own bodies, with other people and with nature. It's more than just a slogan slogan. It is authentically reflected in product, pack design and communication, and in the way employees, supply chain members are treated.

-        Learn by doing approach: though the company has some clear strategic principles, it learns from mistakes and is flexible enough to re-adapt strategies (incl. route-to-consumer, formulas and even brands) depending on each market or competitive context. For example, when they entered in Mexico, they used an hybrid model combining direct sales with a “Casa Natura” (retail). 

-       Speed: in an era of excessive "brand bureaucracy", Natura Works at high speed. For instance, innovation process involves the founders, management and the sales representatives so then there is full commitment and alignment. They are also very agile to buy patents and technologies from Universities and Research Centers.

In conclusion, Natura is an example of leaders with a big brand idea and the power, persistence and ability to make it happen, creating not only businesses growth but also more joy and meaning.