Memo Exclusive: An Interview with Keune's Rachael Hoffman
After working as a marketing consultant to Keune, in March Rachael Hoffman officially joined the team in the capacity of vice president of marketing and brand development. Under the direction of North American COO Andrew Biazis, Keune has transitioned their business model to a marketing-driven company.
“We have developed a more robust and specialized marketing team, including a dedicated Keune Loyalty Club Brand Manager, National Store Business Development Manager, in-house graphic design team, Promotions Manager and more, to create the structure and support we need to amplify global initiatives,” Hoffman says. “We have been working hard to bolster our salon partners and national distributor network with all-new marketing assets and more strategic media placement they need in preparation for the most aggressive launch of Keune products North America has ever seen. And we’re just getting started.”
With the company celebrating over 90 years in beauty, MODERN asked Hoffman to talk about some of the biggest marketing wins of recent days and the plans going forward.
MS: Please give us a brief history of the Keune brand.
RH: Our family-owned and -operated company began in a single pharmacy in Amsterdam in 1922, in a building that still exists today. The close-knit essence of Keune, where we work side by side with the Keune family, is stronger than ever and has expanded to over 70 countries worldwide. Being able to work with the family whose name is on the bottles of our hair color and retail products is such an incredible opportunity, and one that I think creates a special connection to the brand for all Keune employees, partners and salon professionals. Over the past 94 years, Keune has stayed true to its original mission of supporting independent salon owners and stylists around the world. The Keune family has worked together with a tremendous group of talented professionals to develop tried-and-true, high-quality professional and retail products, as well as brand assets that fortify salons. Personally, I feel a lot of pride in that heritage. The passion behind that is undeniable and infectious to all who know and love the brand.
MS: Talk about initiatives underway to support the business, both globally and domestically.
RH: Keune North America is excited to be a part of the global growth happening across the Keune brand. As part of this evolution, we are playing an integral role steering a commitment to increase and streamline global and domestic communications across our teams.
On a global level, we are amping up communications among all countries, including partners, distributors and subsidiaries, in several ways. This includes increasing the frequency of our global conferences, where all of the global partners meet face-to-face to discuss innovation and growth strategies. This banding together allows partners in every country to tap into each other’s resources with the goal of learning from one another and raising everybody up in the process.
Plus, in Q1 of 2017, Keune will introduce a new digital-asset management tool that will increase data sharing, collaboration and communication across all 72 countries and, of course, domestically throughout North America. We are also revamping our entire digital presence, including our North American website and new Keune Loyalty Club and Education portals, to increase brand awareness and loyalty through more intuitive, user-friendly platforms.
MS: What are some of your most recent launches?
RH: It’s truly one of the most electrifying times for innovation, rebranding and positioning for Keune in North America and around the world. 2016 comes to a close with a buzz-filled bang around Keune’s all-new Bond Fusion, a bond-building treatment that restructures the hair from the inside out with high-quality ingredients and zero additional processing time. The positive feedback from the professional community has been incredible.
We are also rolling out the relaunch of Blend, infusing music, art and fashion in a styling line suitable for all types and textures of hair. This playful line is all about embracing your individuality and features 15 compatible styling products with parity pricing that can be mixed up to create custom blends. Salons that offer Blend will receive custom ‘blended’ DJ mixes, curated soundtracks that tap into the spirit of the campaign.
Another exciting launch in the New Year is Tinta Color Care, which showcases how closely our family-operated company listens to its clients and business partners. Distributors in North America asked for a shampoo and conditioner that complemented Keune’s Tinta Color line—Keune Corporate listened and acted. The result is the premium Tinta Color Care shampoo and conditioner. Both contain the same ingredients that Tinta Color does, including the signature Triple Color Protection technology, silk proteins and a coconut-cream base that protects and softens the hair, with a rich lathering, sulfate-free formula.
The Tinta Color Care products come in Keune’s stylish new packaging, which you’ll start seeing across all product lines over the next 18 months or so. It has an apothecary feel—a nod to Keune’s heritage—in an ambient white tone that feels soft to the touch. Across the board, we’re elevating the look of the exterior to match the high-quality interior of our products. They are going to look and feel as gorgeous on shelf they do on the hair.
MS: Who are some of your Keune Ambassadors around the world?
RH: I can’t say enough about Ilham Mestour, Keune’s global creative artistic director, who is one of the most esteemed session stylists in the Netherlands and is the ‘creative cat’ responsible for our inspiring annual trend collections. We wouldn’t be the color-strong brand that we are without Global Creative Color Director Kimm Koffijberg, who creates the most beautiful shades for our hair color products. Locally in North America, we are proud to have several brand ambassadors, including George Alderete, Keune North America creative ambassador, who took home the Bangstyle Supreme Colorist Award in 2016; industry legend and Keune Academy Trainer Roy Peters, who has worked in the salon industry for more than 40 years; and Edward Woody, Keune educator and the 2016 NAHA Winner in the Avant Garde category.
MS: What do you have planned for the next 90 years?
RH: Simply put: expansive growth. We’re strengthening our teams, and investing big-time into our product design, brand awareness and R&D innovation in our labs in Holland and even more importantly in our people and in our partners. We plan to maintain Keune’s mission of True Beauty, continuing to use the finest-quality ingredients to make superior products that stand beside and support the exclusive beauty industry, and to keep our word to salon professionals—no matter our growth.
90 Years of Keune Developments
- In 1922, Founder Jan Keune focused on the development of perm formulas in Amsterdam. Five years later, the production of Keune’s hot perm gained Dutch product recognition in hair salons worldwide for the first time. A cold perm formula launched much later, in 1951.
- In 1950, Keune introduced hairspray to the Dutch market and, because of its success, the company unveiled an aerosol hairspray in Europe six years later.
- Global expansion began in 1972, with a new branch office opening in France.
- In 1977, Keune was one of the first companies in the world to introduce hair gel.
- Keune’s first professional color line, Tinta Color, launched in 1990, putting the company on a path to its current color-strong brand status.
- The Care Line, a product range with essential minerals to ensure a healthy scalp and hair, was revealed in 1996.
- The North American market was established in 1998 with headquarters in Atlanta. Over the next few years, more global expansion ensued with offices opening in Switzerland and Belgium.
- In 2002, Keune launched So Pure Natural Balance, a product line featuring plant extracts and organic essential oils.
- All-new Bond Fusion, a bond-building treatment that helps restructure the hair without additional processing time, launched in 2016 to salons and stylists across the globe.