I have a confession: I was nervous about this cover. Don’t get me wrong, I think the image of AG Hair co-founder Lotte Davis is engaging and the story behind the image is incredibly inspiring and those are exactly the elements that make a good cover. That said, it is very different from past covers. And doing something different is risky. But, in my experience, when something makes me nervous there’s a good chance it’s worth exploring. So, let's explore why a woman trying to balance a water jug on her head in Africa is on the cover of BrandPackaging . . .
The woman, Lotte, was actually born in Africa. Years later when the hair care company she co-founded with her husband became profitable she started a charity—One Girl Can—to build schools and provide scholarships for girls who don’t have the advantages that she had as a young girl.
As I researched purpose-driven brands it became clear that simply offering a quality product in a compellingly designed package is no longer enough. We’ve become brand detectives. We want ethically sourced goods contained in sustainable packaging to protect our all-natural products that are designed to resemble works of art when curated on the counter. If that weren’t enough, most of us want the CEO of the brands we buy to weigh in on social and political issues. According to a survey by Sprout Social, 59 percent of respondents said that CEOs should engage with social and political issues, while 52 percent extended that to other executives. On top of that the brands we buy better have a purpose.
It’s a lot for brand owners to take on. I chose this cover because Lotte Davis and her company embody everything today’s consumers want in a way that’s so authentic that it appears effortless. Of course, building schools and educating girls in poverty-stricken regions of the world requires enormous effort but her compassion and drive make it clear that this brand owner found her calling—and it goes way beyond hair care products.
Yes, packaging and design are crucial to a brand’s success but when the people behind the brand think beyond revenue, we all profit.