ADMA Global Forum
10 Aug 2023
Frank Body co-founder and CMO, Jess Hatzis, shares the brave, bold brand decisions she’s made during her career and how it’s helped her beauty business thrive
Frank Body co-founder and CMO, Jess Hatzis, has spent her entire career pursuing innovative, cost-effective ways to undertake brand building that flows through to other performance and metric-drive channels. So it’s not surprisingly the topic she’s eager to talk with ADMA Global Forum attendees.
“My topic is all around the fact you cannot convert demand that doesn’t exist,” Hatzis says. “There is so much pressure placed on marketers and founders to be able to drive incredible profit growth. But we don’t always give them the tools they need to be able to do that. Brand marketing is often overlooked, it’s often considered really expensive, and it definitely doesn’t need to be.”
Hatzis should know: She’s spent the last 15 years of her life working in startups and with startups who have extremely limited resources and budgets.
“So I really am passionate about this topic and that’s why I’ve chosen to speak to it. I know so many people are facing that challenge more than ever with slashed budgets, limited resources and a lot of economic uncertainty,” she says.
As most battle-scarred marketers will attest, making the argument to protect brand marketing isn’t always an easy one within an organisation.
“My goal from this session is to help you understand why you really shouldn’t fight for it and how to convey that to the rest of your organisation,” Hatzis says. It’s not necessarily a question of more tools or data either, but a people and strategy question.
“Marketing is so subjective and every has an opinion about it. Getting to the heart and soul of the brand values is really key, so it comes down to a lot of the foundational work in my opinion – less tools, more strategy.”
Bold brand thinking is in Hatzis’ DNA. A dynamic and creative entrepreneur, she has a passion for branding and marketing that has paid substantial dividends throughout her professional life. In 2010, Jess co-founded Willow & Blake, a renowned branding agency specialising in strategy, tone of voice, visual identity and social media building. The agency’s impactful work led to an impressive clientele list including Grill'd, Deakin University, Seafolly and Pana Chocolate.
In 2013, Hatzis co-founded beauty brand, Frank Body, with four friends and a mission to connect with customers on a personal level. The iconic Original Coffee Scrub catapulted the company to success, and Frank Body quickly became one of the fastest-growing beauty brands worldwide, selling millions of products in over 150 countries. As the CMO and Creative Director, Jess oversees a talented team of 40 members across Australia and the US.
“There have been a lot of things we’ve done that have elevated our marketing game over the last year, but I think it all stemmed from one pivotal decision, which was to protect the brand marketing spend,” Hatzis comments. “It’s extremely challenging and takes a lot of stakeholder management, particularly with the execs and c-suite, to help them understand that if you dedicate money in this area of the business where you don’t necessarily see an automatic return, you are going to protect the future sales of the company. You’re going to help those metric-driven channels to perform better in the short and long term.
“That decision, and that storytelling process we took the entire organisation on, is the one thing that’s really changed things for us over the last 12 months.”
Meanwhile, the boldest brand bet Hatzis is most proud of making during her career is the decision to call her beauty and skincare brand ‘Frank Body’.
“We really broke the mould with what you would expect from an organisation selling beauty and skincare products to female consumers,” she recalls. “When we launched, we had the masculine character and tone-of-voice marketing products to women. It’s evolved a lot over time and the character of Frank isn’t necessarily what they used to be. But that decision is probably the boldest one we ever made.
“We launched into the market with a visual identity and tone of voice that hadn’t been seen in this category before.”
Importantly, that bold vision has carried through to every decision the business has made since then. “I don’t think you can retrofit boldness; it needs to be built into the brand DNA. There are decisions we need to make early on when we’re creating our brands and our brand campaigns,” Hatzis comments.
Encouraging bravery as a leader and across the team through empowerment and psychological safety is another crucial tool in the toolkit. In fact, Frank Body has a definition for bravery it upholds every day: ‘Risk it for the biscuit’.
“When you walk into our office, this saying is there printed on the wall as a reminder to our team every single day they are the words we should live and breathe,” Hatzis says. “It’s not always easy to do – I fail at that sometimes too. It is very easy to become risk averse as a business grows and there’s more at stake. But at the heart of Frank Body is the idea of ‘risk it for the biscuit’. It’s something we want everyone, from the CEO to someone who has just started within the business in a junior role, to live and breathe.
“We try and create a collaborative workplace – there are no dumb ideas, bring everything to the table and we can workshop them together You have to cultivate bravery and create a safe space for people to be brave in. You can’t just expect it of them, it has to be shown, not told.”
It’s this combination of bravery, bold thinking and openness Hatzis therefore hopes to foster in attendees at this year’s ADMA Global Forum.
“If you take anything away from my presentation, I hope it’s this feeling of belief that brand marketing really does have a place. It’s the stuff that excites us most as marketers but it’s often the thing we’re most scared to do,” she says. “There is a lot of risk involved in it; it’s difficult to measure ROI or it has been historically. I hope you walk away from this session with key reasons why you should fight for this and why you should dedicate time, energy, resources to it moving forward.
“I think that probably is going to be a lot of the philosophy throughout the Forum.”
And don’t forget to turn on your adaptability switch, Hatzis says. “You’ve got some really amazing speakers here with really amazing, hands-on experiences. Learn from them and walk away being prepared to completely rethink something you have thought for the last few years,” she adds.
“My life motto is to always be learning and to continuously realise I might be wrong. I’m hoping I get that from the Forum as well and learn something great.”
Gain invaluable insights from Jess and other marketing thought leaders at ADMA Global Forum 2023. Secure your ticket now!