a re-vamp of the chemistry-based hair care brand: formulate

the formulated appeal

As far as hair care products go, formulate is doing a lot of things right: their unique chemistry-based approach strengthens the ethos of their brand while their chemist-customer pairings powerfully challenge the traditional, depersonalized experience of buying generic brand beauty and wellness products at the drugstore. Connecting customers directly with scientists who are committed to improving the health of their hair takes product customization to phenomenal new heights and serves to engage customers through hedonistic pleasure. More specifically, customers feel their egos gratified in that another person, a highly intelligent and trained person, is attending to their physical wellbeing. Further, by enlisting the guidance of this person, customers are implicitly reaffirming to themselves their commitment to self-enhancement. 

The scientific flair of the formulate purchase path also evokes a sense of ideo-pleasure within the customer. As alluded to earlier, the explicit incorporation of science allows the brand to assume all of the social capital which scientific research has amassed in the modern world; we, as a society, immensely value carefully developed methodology, data-driven conclusions, and the general systematization of knowledge. By borrowing this capital, formulate has constructed a nearly failproof brand ethos. Further, by deploying a scientific approach within the realm of beauty and wellness products, formulate insinuates to customers that their bodies and their health are deserving of scientific consideration. This approach marries the ideo-pleasure of having one’s pro-science beliefs infused into their hair care experience and the related but distinct ideo-pleasure of having one’s hair health be a subject worthy of scientific applications. 

the pain point & our solution

Despite its singular appeals, however, our group identified one major pain point within the formulate customer experience: their use of multiple, non-reusable bottles to hold their shampoo and conditioners. Not only is this strategy misaligned with sustainable production practices, but the multi-bottle approach makes the task of showering at the gym or elsewhere cumbersome while also cluttering one’s home shower unnecessarily. Our group endeavored to alleviate this pain point by designing multi-compartment dispensers which hold up to four care products (ie. shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash). We titled our re-vamped version of the formulate line ‘synthesis’ to retain the scientific tone of the brand and draw attention to the novel multi-compartment dispenser as a central feature of the line. It bears note that the incorporation of this multi-compartment container into the synthesis business model implies that this re-vamped brand would sell care products beyond just haircare. Importantly, we maintained the use of customer quizzes across all hair & skin products to ensure that synthesis, like its predessor, offered hair & body products which fit individual needs, goals, and preferences. In fact, to maximally preserve the customizability so fundamental to the formulate line, we included five options for dispenser color for a customer to choose from as well as the option to have 2, 3, or 4 compartments in one’s dispenser.

meeting Norman’s trifecta: the visceral, behavioral, and reflective appeal of synthesis

Our new product captures and sustains the user’s attention viscerally, behaviourally, and reflectively. By sheer physical design, we stimulate the user with the novelty of several nozzles on a classic bottle shape. Also, the website is aesthetically appealing, drawing the user in and creating an easy path for purchase. We address behavioral aspects of the user experience with the usability of our product. Furthermore, when the user runs out of or wants to tweak one of their products, they can easily order a refill online. Why bring several bottles of soap back and forth to the bathroom when you could simply bring one? The actual use of the product is satisfying and helpful. When reflecting, the user can feel good about being eco friendly via refillable bottle, treating themselves to personalized hair, face, and bodycare, and having a novel product to show off to friends.

User Journey Map: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AvLcWQZiewXS0VfFwOWZ4Pa5krkcFKoAUku7bx4fgg4/edit?usp=sharing