Amanda Kahn is Vice President of Marketing & Innovation at PÜR, The Complexion Authority. A seasoned beauty brand builder with more than 15 years’ experience in color, skin care, and fragrance, Amanda began her career at The Estée Lauder Companies, where she was trained in traditional marketing before expanding her expertise into global marketing and strategic planning at Coty Prestige. There, she worked on brands such as Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. Then Amanda led the Marketing, Creative, and Public Relations teams for brands including Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, Lipstick Queen, and Laura Geller New York. Here, CEW Beauty News caught up with Amanda about how she manages the ever-changing clean-beauty standards at various retailers, how the brand’s marketing has evolved, and more. PÜR is owned by parent company Astral Health & Beauty, which also owns butterLONDON.
Beauty News: How did you get up to speed on PÜR’s history and how the brand is marketed when you first arrived?
Amanda Kahn: I had these post-its all over the walls of the conference room. I wanted to get a sense of the brand’s history — what worked, what didn’t. It was a great education for me and a way for me to be infused into the brand very quickly. I also talked to some of the people who’ve been with the brand for 15 years-plus to find out which of my preconceived notions were right and which weren’t. I kept coming back to this idea of who are we, and what do we stand for? And then, ultimately, the why. This brand will be 20 years old next year. It has always been clean, vegan, cruelty-free, skin care-infused and inclusive – those founding pillars have evolved into the foundation of the brand, our unique selling propositions. It’s who we’ve always been and who we want to be.
BN: What are you envisioning as the brand’s marketing message?
AK: We are taking a back-to-basics approach from a heritage perspective. Always ask, is it part of PÜR’s core DNA? Then weave that through in storytelling, product, and messaging. And, we will be telling the same message on all social platforms.
BN: What are the different standards for clean beauty currently?
AK: Today, I would say there are three or four different clean standards. Beauty is a self-governing body in a world with no clear-cut standards on clean. It can be very hard to navigate. The most basic is five-free: sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, mineral oil-free, formaldehyde-free. The next level, in the U.S., is the major beauty retailer standards (like Sephora or Ulta), and then the highest level is the niche, clean beauty retailer standards (such as Credo or Detox Market). We have different sku’s that meet different standards, making it even more complicated. When a retailer requires a higher level of clean, we can offer them the sku’s we have that meet their standards. What I really want to be careful with is asking ourselves whether we reformulate a heritage sku for a retail opportunity, that comes back to the why – are we doing it for the right reasons. The brand or the retailer.
BN: What are your priorities for the brand?
AK: Our first priority is delivering the message that PÜR delivers clean, skin care-infused beauty for all.
BN: What’s your biggest opportunity for PÜR?
AK: One of the biggest areas of opportunity for us is social media. We have about half a million followers on social, but there’s a disconnect between who we believe the core PÜR consumer is and who we’re currently engaging with on social media. The first area of opportunity for us is better utilize this channel to engage with the right consumer to really grow brand awareness.
BN: What’s your social media strategy?
AK: Historically we have used micro-influencers and affiliates, with the Tribe Dynamics tool 5WPR Agency as our PR partner. Now, we’re getting the message out first in editorial, then we get the message out with influencers and across all platforms. Then we’re driving the message through paid media. A second push follows that with key influencer partners.
We’re currently seeing the data and looking at it much more closely than ever before to say, ‘PÜR doesn’t need to talk to the same people that every other brand is talking to.’ I can go to the most micro influencer level, and if they have a highly engaged follower base, that’s who I want talk to. I think about my own buying behavior, and I am absolutely listening to and buying from the recommendations of small influencers across all categories. I feel like I know them, I feel like they’re my friends. I trust them. We’re now taking that strategy and applying it to PÜR.
BN: What are PÜR latest launches?
AK: Our new 4-in-1 Sculpting Concealer is the only retinol-infused concealer on the market. That really feels like major innovation. It comes in 16 shades. Plus, we have a tool on our site to help you match your shade to our foundation, or any other foundation out there. This concealer targets fine lines and wrinkles while wearing it. If we’re wearing makeup 8 to 12 hours a day, we should be treating skin as well as covering it.