Paul Holmes 26 Feb 2003 // 12:00AM GMT
When MS&L was first approached about launching Brava, the only clinically proven, non-surgical method to increase a woman’s breast size, our first thought was: “You have GOT to be kidding!” - but what a great opportunity. The concept was sensational - a breakthrough product with huge market potential, guaranteed to generate interest from both media and the public.
Opportunities and Challenges
Recognizing the sensational, new-to-the-world product based on breakthrough science would be instant national news, we were also aware of the challenges the anticipated media frenzy was going to create.
Retaining control of our messages and shaping the media while establishing credibility and legitimacy for the product were our primary concerns. To develop a value-add positioning, focusing the discussion on issues broader than ‘just’ breast enhancement, and to identify a unique target audience for a defined marketing proposition were further challenges we pinpointed.
Audience Analysis and Research
Key realization was that not every woman unhappy about her breasts wants to have a DD cup size. Primary research revealed that, although 16 million women in the United States are dissatisfied with their breast size, less than one percent each year choose to undergo surgical augmentation. Of these, 80 percent indicated that they would be content with an increase of one-half to one-full cup size. Being able to offer a safe, non-surgical alternative that meets this demand for a modest increase presented a new and exciting opportunity in the marketplace.
Looking at a potential target market of 16 million women, we turned to Leo Burnett’s LeoShe, an industry authority on women’s issues, to narrow down Brava’s primary audience. LeoShe gathered in-depth insights into the psyche of women, identifying seven stages in a woman’s life when she is re-appraising her image and open to making changes in her life. After analyzing these stages, we determined the two strongest entry points in a woman’s life when she would most realistically turn to Brava: after experiencing childbirth - the “Mad at the Mirror Mamas” - and just after turning 40 – the “What’s Happening to My Body” women.
· Communicate the benefits of Brava to target audiences and overcome public skepticism by building awareness of the product as a legitimate, scientifically backed alternative to plastic surgery
· Shape media coverage to focus discussion on the credibility of the science behind Brava
· Create consumer demand and drive traffic to the Brava Web site and 800 number
· Generate interest among MDs and encourage doctors to apply for sales authorization by Brava
Having established our target audience and its attitudes towards breast augmentation, the next hurdle was to determine which market we were in, what the hot buttons were and how we could obtain leverage. Key insight in terms of positioning was that increasing breast size is more about quality of life, feeling good about oneself and being confident as a woman, not just about plastic surgery and getting a “boob job”. We focused on positioning Brava as a company that was not just in the business of boobs, but one that cared about helping a woman enhance her self-image.
Also challenging was the need to differentiate our product from the creams, potions and miracle remedies found in the back of women’s publications. Brava is based on the scientific principle of tension-induced tissue growth that has been used by doctors for more than 30 years. Clinical data and endorsements from scientific experts supported the science behind Brava and therefore became key components of our outreach strategy.
Given the unusual nature of the product, the subject matter and the anticipated “you’ve got to be kidding” response, our goal was to capture media “approval” of Brava as a legitimate choice. To demonstrate Brava as a genuine medical device, we planned to place it with credible media first to set the tone for future media coverage and to earn trust with Brava’s target audiences.
Another critical factor in trying to establish Brava ‘s legitimacy were real-life patient testimonials and success stories. To make the story believable, we identified spokespeople corresponding to the identified target audiences:
· “Mad at the Mirror Mama” - a thirty-something mother who has the post baby blues about her appearance and sexuality
· “What’s Happening to My Body” – a woman who is coping with the “joys” of turning 40
In addition, in anticipation that the Brava System could be under scrutiny in the medical community, we approached various medical associations, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and the American Academy of Dermatology in the early planning stages. Our goal was to align these associations with our efforts and build relationships to foster endorsement and prevent negative reactions due to lack of information.
Based on insights gained through research and planning, we developed the following strategies for the launch:
· Concentrate on broadening the issue from “bigger boobs” to helping women enhance their self-image
· Reveal Brava as the first safe, non-surgical option that meets women’s demand for modest breast enhancement
· Differentiate Brava from “miracle potions” found in the marketplace
· Focus on the science behind Brava and the women’s testimonials to generate credibility
· Inform and educate medical “experts” and associates to secure buy-in and approval
· Set the tone of the coverage by breaking the story through one credible outlet
· Manage the anticipated media tidal wave
Following our strategic roadmap, we negotiated Brava’s reveal on ABC’s The View. The View presented a perfect vehicle to reach our core audiences of women during its mid-morning slot, allowing us to take advantage of the friendly and curious talk-show format. Brava CEO Dr. George and trial participant Katie made Brava come alive, showing viewers what Brava has to offer and how it has changed women’s lives.
Having established a benchmark for coverage, we distributed our press kit to a tailored media “A” list of key print and online targets, offering a limited number of in-depth briefing opportunities.
Media materials were also distributed more broadly via PR Newswire. Simultaneously, VNR and RNR packages were made available to key broadcast media.
During the initial explosion of media interest from across the country and abroad, it was imperative to continuously screen, evaluate and pursue the most credible news opportunities and manage the hundreds of media requests we received. Most inquiries fit within our predefined target. However, in some cases sensational media picked up on the Brava story, threatening our newly established credibility. In order to maintain control and shape the Brava story as best as possible, we found it most strategically valuable to cooperate with most requests (i.e. National Enquirer).
After the initial three months, we distributed a mat release to smaller daily and weekly newspapers to sustain media interest and extend our reach to women in local media markets.
In the first two weeks of launching Brava, over 500 television stations covered the story, creating more than 300 million impressions* with coverage still continuing to date. Highlights included coverage in targeted media key to our audience: Good Morning America, The View, The New York Times, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Woman’s World, Woman’s Own, First for Women, msnbc.com and yahoonews.com as well as television and radio coverage from coast to coast.
Analysis of the coverage shows that we have met our key objectives of generating credibility, communicating the benefits of Brava to our key audiences, controlling the message and emphasizing the product’s legitimacy.
In the first four months after launch, Brava has been sold to 3,000 patients through 400 authorized MDs.
The company Web site alone has registered 14,000 interested women looking for authorized doctors in their area.