Case Study

Cultivating a new brand perception


Overview

Partner: Form Medical Aesthetics

Our Role: Brand naming, strategy and visual identity system

Form (formerly known as NKD Ambitions) is a non-invasive medical aesthetics clinic in Canada. In 2019, they were looking for a partner to help update their brand. Form offers high value services that are deeply personal. Building trust between their clinic and their audience is fundamental to their business.

We recognized that in order to build trust as a new brand in this space, Form needed to be positioned as the market leader. Our process started by focusing on creating a brand that advocated for medical aesthetics rather than receding behind the cultural stigma surrounding plastic surgery. We also saw the opportunity to align medical aesthetics with other influential categories including beauty and self-care.

The Problem

NKD Ambitions was looking to update their brand for their launch. Overall, they were looking for a brand update (but not necessarily a new brand name) and wanted the brand update to help redefine the medical aesthetics category in Canada. This meant separating their clinic from negative impressions associated with plastic surgery and appealing to new audiences.

Research Insights and the Audience


Analysis

To understand the medical aesthetics category, we first needed to understand who the audience is and what were their perceptions of non-invasive medical procedures.

The Opportunity

To create a brand that best reflects value and resonates with new audiences that had been previously excluded.

Industry

Insight #1: The industry is growing—rapidly.

The global Medical Aesthetics Market is expected to reach 17 billion by 2023.
This is up 10.6% from 2018 and this growth is attributed to the availability in technology, increasing demand for treatments amongst men, exposure to new audiences along with the demand for the services. (Resource: Plastic Surgery.org)

The number of minimally invasive procedures is increasing.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures increased 2% YoY. Products like Botox increased in younger demographics, jumping 31% since 2015. (Reference: Plastic Surgery.org)

Insight #2: Technology is disrupting the industry.

Technological advancement is making treatments more accessible.
Every year, greater and more effective technologies are being introduced to the market with better results. These technologies are making treatments less expensive and more accessible to customers. As the technologies are more refined, customer expectations will also increase.  (Resource: CareCredit)

Culture

Insight #3: There are social stigmas around aesthetic procedures

There are cemented social stigmas surrounding cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery often associated with vanity and narcissism. With nonsurgical cosmetic treatments strongly linked to plastic surgery, preconceived notions may often hinder market growth.

Authenticity matters to our audience. It’s about being the best you, not reinventing yourself.

One threat to the industry is the connection between plastic surgery and superficiality. In a time where body positivity and parallel feminist movements are dominating conversations in classrooms and social media, it’s impossible to ignore this threat when building a brand in the beauty industry. Ninety percent of Millennials, 85% of Gen Xers and 80% of Baby Boomers say authenticity matters to them when supporting a brand. (Resource: SocialMediaToday)

Percentage of people who say authenticity matters to them:

Resource: SocialMediaToday

Insight #4: Self care is trending and young people are investing in it

It’s not uncommon to overhear millennials exchanging “self care” routines or methods. Some surveys report that 94% of Millennials are willing to spend $300 a month on self-improvement. 

While what constitutes “self care” is subjective, various industries have adapted their business strategies knowing both younger and older Millennials invest their time and money into self care. (Resource: Forbes)

Insight #5: More men are seeking both surgical and non-surgical treatments

The percentage of men seeking cosmetic procedures has risen 106 percent over the past decade—more than 1.3 million cosmetic procedures were performed on men in 2017 alone. In the last five years, men have had 23% more liposuction treatments, 12% more tummy tucks and 30% more breast reductions than ever before. While they are the largest growing segment, they are largely underrepresented when it comes to brand and marketing efforts.

Five year growth of cosmetic treatments amongst men:

Insight #6: LGBTQ* market is growing

With increased social inclusion, trans-rights movements and accessibility to aesthetic technologies, there is a steady increase of Facial Feminization procedures that help LGBTQ* community members feel more like themselves. Traditionally the needs of LGBTQ* patients in all medical situations are not accounted for which creates obstacles for proper treatment. (Reference: ResearchGate)

Insight #7: Aesthetic treatments are becoming more popular with younger audiences and women make up 90% of the market

In the last 10 years, the use of soft tissue fillers and Botox injections are trending up for women in their 20s. Filler and Botox injection use among millennials aged 19-34 jumped 87% between 2011 and 2016. Both media specialists and academics are correlating the massive increase in visual media platforms like Instagram with this trend. (Reference: LA Times)

 

The audience: Asking the people what they know and want

We wanted to understand people’s perceptions of medical aesthetics and their personal reasons for getting or not getting a treatment.

Research Methods:

  1. Comprehensive audience surveys

  2. Personal interviews

  3. Video interviews and testimonials from target age groups

 

Core Audience Segments:

Understanding audience segments would ensure we were building a valuable brand for NKD Ambitions that reached new audiences and educated existing ones to build meaningful connections (and ones that their competitors were not).

Millennials

Millennials spend twice as much as Baby Boomers on self-care essentials such as workout regimens, diet plans, life coaching and therapy. (Reference: Pew Research Center).

What we know about Millennials:

  • Millennials are more open to aesthetic procedures than older demographics. In 2017 over 55% of surgeons reported that their patients sought aesthetic surgery to improve their appearance on social media. (Reference: Allure)
  • There is a surge in injectable procedures being completed on millennials.
  • Because they value “self-care” practices, millennials spend more on supporting “self care”  industries than all other age demographics. 
  • Millennial women are, rightfully, becoming encouraged to own decisions when it comes to their bodies, health and sexuality. 
  • Millennials are increasingly after a “natural” look with “natural” products.

 

Women 40+

This audience segment is the most active within the industry, although they require the most education. Women who are 40 plus are familiar with plastic surgery and its mishaps.

Here are the survey results from this audience segment.

Would you consider spending money at a MediSpa?

 

Top reasons they wouldn’t receive a treatment:

  1. This audience didn’t think treatments were accessible, price-wise. 

  2. They didn’t feel confident they knew what the outcome was going to look like. 

  3. They didn’t feel treatments align with their personal beliefs or values.

     

Top reasons they received a treatment:

  1. They trusted the experience of the clinic staff or doctors administering the treatments, whether that was from a personal relationship or reputation.

  2. They thought the treatments were at an accessible price point.

  3. They had a desire to change an aesthetic attribute that had caused them discomfort or unhappiness.

 

Would they change their mind?

Women over 40 were almost 20% more likely to be interested or already received treatment if they made over $100k a year, compared to those who made under $74k.

Women over 40 were most interested in receiving Laser Hair Removal, Facials and Botox/Fillers as treatments.

What we discovered from our one-on-one interviews:

Reputation and credentials mean more to them than price.

This audience is more hesitant about injectables.

These clients want to feel special and respected.

Men

More and more men are getting aesthetic non-surgical procedures. Traditionally, men have not been included in medical aesthetic marketing. Clinics that market towards women may alienate men and their willingness to receive treatments. (Resource: Allure)

 

(Resource: Allure)

The NKD Ambitions brand experience needed to appeal to both men and women.

There is also a massive increase in men’s only aesthetic clinics (Resource: Allure). These clinics cater and normalize men caring about their appearance. Men aren’t exempt from the increasing pressures that our visual world has put on women. Men have to search harder to find support, testimonials and encouragement. Men who said “no”  (21.62%) to receiving treatment, said they would change their minds if their friends and family encouraged them to go.

Male respondents between 19-39 when asked if they would pay for a treatment at a MediSpa.

LGBTQ*

The LGBTQ* audience is growing for medical aesthetic treatments and this community has and continues to endure obstacles when trying to receive basic medical support, not just within the aesthetics industry.

(Resource: Harvard Gazette)

 

This is an opportunity to build a brand experience that is inclusive and create messaging that speaks to this audiences’ needs and motivations. Clinics that are creating these inclusive experiences have a loyal following. There are specialized clinics that are working towards making these communities feel comfortable. Clinics who are able to adapt have seen success. The LGBTQ* audience depends more on word-of-mouth than other audiences to make decisions about their health care professionals. (Resource: Longdom)

Here are the results:

What we discovered:

Lack of meaningful definition

While people know what the treatments are, the terms MediSpa or “Aesthetic Clinic” don’t mean much.

High price point

Audiences seem open to the treatment, however they state price and necessity to be a large barrier.

Confusion & poor perception

Audiences are running off a lot of misunderstanding in terms of procedure processes and outcomes. They stated “not knowing outcomes”, “having to repeat it”, “price” and “personal beliefs” as main factors why they wouldn’t receive treatments.

Cultural stigma

Audiences believe a certain level of “shame” has been reduced regarding the perception of cosmetic treatments although it still exists.

The Challenge


Strategy

NKD Ambitions’ new brand needed more than a new name and logo. This brand needed to appeal to new audiences and educate existing audiences about what the NKD Ambitions brand offered. 

Our challenge was to create a brand for NKD Ambitions that would allow them to be a thought and experiential leader in their industry. Their brand would lead the conversation about normalizing medical aesthetic procedures and create an inclusive environment for new and existing audiences.

NKD Ambition needed a fresh approach. Their brand should lead the conversation about normalizing medical aesthetic procedures.

From our insights, we could see the brand approach needed to differentiate NKD Ambitions from plastic surgery. This meant starting with re-imagining the NKD Ambitions name aligning their brand with positive associations rather than negative stereotypes closely linked to plastic surgery.

Our brand strategy needed to redefine the category by expanding the appeal.

This how we could do that:

Deliver to the underserved

People who are interested in medical aesthetics but have not been traditionally considered as part of clinics’ target audiences.

Educate new and existing audiences

Procedures, techniques and services have evolved along with the industry as a whole. Our brand strategy needs to offer valuable knowledge about what NKD Ambitions offers and the value it provides to clients.

Define and align with current audiences’ needs and motivations

Clients’ needs have also changed and what they value about aesthetic procedures needs to match the brand experience clinics are providing.

Brand Strategy, Identity & Campaign


Direction

From our insights, we saw what people were looking for. Now, we were looking to divorce the medical aesthetics category from plastic surgery’s negative perception and align it with a movement people are really connecting with.

Self-care: More than a trend, it’s a lifestyle

The term “self care” can be used at any point to describe ways that people engage in any sort of “self” act including drinking water, working out or journaling every day. The act of taking time for yourself (and consuming products) for your own betterment, is classified as a deliberate act of self-care. There are 13.1 million uses of #selfcare on Instagram. Scroll through #selfcare and you’ll see a mix of memes, tricks to clear skin, meditation tips and vitamin regimes.

Looking for inspiration outside the industry:

There is a lack of differentiation in the medical aesthetics industry between competitors. From here, we saw competitors relying on stock imagery, leading with promotions and listing their services without providing meaningful context to these procedures.

From our insights, we understood what our audiences were looking for. The opportunity is to celebrate choice, beauty and embrace conversations about aesthetic modification. 

A shift in the beauty industry: 

New beauty companies have made their brands synonymous with “self care.” Brands like Glossier, Aesop, Lush and Goop have all approached conversations around beauty, taking care of your body and mind with transparency. They’ve also aligned their product with a lifestyle and positioned it as a resource for self-investment. They stayed away from cliches and tropes and instead, some focused on unisex branding and customization. 

These beauty companies were disrupting the industry by positioning themselves as caring, independent and optional. They invest in connecting with real people and supporting their customers’ beauty journeys.

The approach:

Before considering a new brand name, we set out to create a brand messaging system that would achieve our brand strategy objectives. 

Self modification has been happening for thousands of years.

Humans have always used tools at our disposal to put our best face forward. Through fashion, accessories, makeup, societies in every culture around the world have exercised an element of adapting or altering their physical traits to make a statement. 

Whether the statement is to conform or stand out. Humans use their body as a platform to communicate. There is a basic human tendency for self improvement and aesthetic modification. 

The beauty industry has often assumed that people are collectively looking for one specific definition of beauty and that the only way to desire change is to desire perfection. This is the disconnect between the beauty industry and people. By projecting images of perfection, the industry alienates potential audiences. Most people are not interested in the pursuit of perfection and find it an unrealistic goal.

Our brand must celebrate choice and service personal evolution. 

Brand theme:

Exploration

How we embody exploration:

  • Make the clinic a destination for endless possibilities
  • Make clients feel like they have agency and choice 
  • Support marketing opportunities that educate 
  • Position the brand well for client engagement
  • Be inclusive to different audience segments and their differing needs  

Brand story:

People of all genders can’t openly have conversations about their bodies because of the stigma surrounding physical modifications and how modifying one’s appearance is assumed to be indulgent. But that simply isn’t true—humans have made aesthetic statements and adjustments for thousands of years. 

Investing in aesthetic and sexual health can improve your quality of life. Our new brand supports self advocacy and provides an open environment for exploration and choice. Supporting an essential human need to be heard and respected, our treatments promote sexual, skin and personal health and allow our clients to feel more like themselves.

Care for your body, invest in yourself. We support the evolving you. 

A new shape — Naming the new brand:

To signify a new approach and brand, we set out to rename NKD Ambitions. 

The new brand name is Form.

Form speaks to the transmutable nature of self and the potential for modification and transformation. As a verb, it is an action one takes, a journey and an exploration of self. As a noun, it becomes a fixed representation of idealized self.

It’s open ended and speaks to this idea of modelling and shaping something. Changing and adapting—changing form.

Form is:

  • Androgynous
  • Adaptable for marketing
  • A metaphor for the brand philosophy
  • Simple and elegant

Statement of claim:

An open place for the evolving self. Open to all genders, community members. Open minded and non-judgemental. 

The evolving self definition:

A self coming to learn about ways to deal with insecurity. A self interested in improving their intimate relationships. A self finally feeling comfortable and confident enough to invest in treatments that before they felt shame exploring. The evolving self is all humans.

Position statement:

Honest leaders in modern medical aesthetics.

Value proposition:

Supporting the exploration of health, beauty and self. A safe place to explore yourself and its evolution.

Brand Archetype:

The Self Optimizers

I want to control over my appearance.

Self optimizers are open minded and curious. Drawn to concepts of self-improvement and growth, they are open to new tactics or opportunities to improve their quality of life or overall wellbeing. Whether motivated by external validation or internal goals, The Self Optimizers are always reaching for something and don’t hesitate to take control.

Needs

Honest and personalized interactions

So they feel their concerns, desires or insecurities are being heard and validated.

Choice

So that they feel in control and that they’re in a pressure free environment.

Detailed information about services and outcomes

So they can be confident in the decisions they make.

Experienced practitioners

So they are comfortable before, during and after the treatments.

Brand Personality

Form exudes honesty, confidence and relatability to make sure each client feels like they are worthy of self-love and investment. Open minded, yet bold, their interactions are judgement-free and raw, leaving nothing but solutions on the table.

Key messaging

Explore your strengths &
Explore your strengths &
Improve your quality of lifePerform at your best.
Improve your quality of lifePerform at your best.
  • Form stands for self advocacy and investment.    
  • The brand is open and honest —to all communities. 
  • Strategy celebrates the evolving self and supports transformation through modern medical aesthetics.
  • Its elegance transcends audience segments, open to interpretation while having a broad application.

Visual Identity System


Execution

We use our bodies as a platform to communicate. There is a valid and innate desire in all of us to want to evolve and change things about our platforms that we don’t desire. 

It’s human and rather than ignore that basic human element—the industry has made it all about perfection and vanity. So we decided to stand for the opposite. To own exploration— take a chance on normalizing our desires and lead with exploration as a brand theme.

Our brand story promotes the act of investing in self and advocating for self. It tells our audiences that whatever drives their desires to evolve or explore themselves is valid.

The brand identity need to achieve:

  • The identity should be used to explore concepts of health, beauty and self. 
  • Create differentiation. The industry doesn’t celebrate individuality. All brand materials and marketing looks the same. They market on services over value.
  • Identity must be adaptable for all platforms and scalable for expanded offerings.
  • The identity needs to be open and inviting to all genders, sexualities and perceptions of the industry.

Bring Form to life:

We needed to create an identity system that reflected these core ideas. A visual system that adapts and grows —ever and always changing.

Our approach to this is colour

 

Creating a strong colour system opens new routes to experiment with brand expression, just as Form clients do with their selves. Form is an open place for the evolving self. The identity system isn’t static. Through colour, it’s constantly evolving.

And what is equally as important, is the curation of the colours. All of which were carefully and intentionally selected.

  1. Skin tones: So the brand represents a spectrum of audiences. It’s a good reflection of the treatments. Homage to the services.

  2. Earth elements: So the brand is down to earth and compliments the natural wood finishes in the clinic.

Our colour system is gender neutral and cultivated with a specific intention to do so the perception is not open for misinterpretation.

The logomark

This identity is confident and simple. It’s androgynous and it’s elegant. It transcends audience segments—open to interpretation but loved by traditional consumers.

And through colour—we can see it’s not static. Through the changing colours, this identity means more than one thing. It, too, is always evolving.

The typeface is custom

The letters of “Form” have been modified to better suit the voice and personality of the brand. While still maintaining the style of a classic serif, contrast has been further pushed to give it a more contemporary flair. In particular, the F has been thickened and thinned in certain areas to balance the negative space it surrounds, therefore creating a better flow. Angles have been adjusted and sharpened.

Serif Typeface Psychology

  • Promote a feeling of sophistication, trust, respectability
  • It makes us feel established
  • The combination is perfect for building strong brand awareness. 

Supporting fonts for messaging that is playful and strong

Baskerville Display

  • Baskerville is considered a transitional typeface. In-between classical and modern faces
  • An elegant timeless typeface that can be used in pure typographic designs thanks to its refined beauty and legibility. 

Gilroy Sans

  • Modern sans serif with a geometric touch
  • Very versatile and highly legible. It can easily work for web, signage, corporate as well as for editorial design

The Results


Outcomes

Form successfully launched their new brand and officially opened their doors to their clients. Now, Form was empowered to approach the market in a meaningful way. They were in a good position to start marketing their new brand and we set them up with a large suite of design assets. 

Our work set up a strong foundation:

Clear and defined strategy

Form’s new brand strategy set them up to approach their marketing in a strategic manner, especially finding gaps their competitors were missing. 

Roadmap for content

Our brand strategy delivered a guide for creating future content especially used to engage audiences on social platforms.

Design toolkit

We delivered a dynamic design system with multiple colour variations. This enabled the clinic to onboard independent freelancers to help produce future content. 

Careers

info@brandishagency.com

winnipeg toronto

brandish 2022