“News, Notes & free ideas”

Season One’s 2014 at a glance

Insects rub their antennae against those of their peers : they exchange knowledge of where new sweet flowers are… We rubbed ours with innovative and successful clients, imaginative creative, trend or research agencies promoting new operating models. We grew. They grew. It was a good year.


  1. Business. A double digit expansion in sales. A result of our diversification and our use of creative partners to produce advertising and BtoB communication, for Firmenich and health brand Kot.
  2. Innovation. Independent strategic planning is right at the crossroad. We were thrilled to partner with talented hotshops in Barcelona (Lovebite) and Paris (Ham & Juice) ; to participate in new forms of consumer research & interactions (with Seek in San Francisco, for one); to collaborate with digital agencies (Wide) promoting new models in CRM, Big Data, e-commerce and beyond. 
  3. Luxury and premium products. It is still our forte with new business won on Beauty Prestige International, BMW, Thierry Mugler, Puig, Gucci, Coty & Lancaster, directly or through established high end (and excellent) agencies like Mazarine/Mlle Noï, SelectNY and JWT.
  4. We liked. All our assignments, they were all inspiring. A special mention for our San Francisco Fall assignment : a successful biotech company, edgy mindsets and processes, a rich branding experience with collaborative spirit elevated to next level, and a go-to-market timing worth of the Guinness Book ! It rocks.

The story is still beginning. To the third episode.

Summer, Here We Come

When Kot came to see us last December, it was only for strategy and conceptual development. Kot is a diet program with a prestige positioning. By end-January, pleased with the first episode, they asked if we could develop the advertising, the digital and the promotion. They said that having defined the message, we would be the best placed to chose the right creatives, and make sure all disciplines rode together. They had a point.
We briefed a talented multi-awarded hot shop in Paris named Ham & Juice we had met via Sephora. The strategy was on the dynamic transformation, physical and mental, that goes with a well-managed diet. They cleverly illustrated it by showing a metamorphosis : a woman getting out of her round winter cocoon to show her slender, dynamic silhouette. The headline reads « Summer, here I come », the signature « the new dynamics of getting slim ».
The tool kit includes digital banners, instore posters and leaflets and print, all delivered in April. The campaign started last week, with encouraging sell-in and sharp increase of Internet traffic. Kot is now asking us to recommend improvements on their CRM. Which we will do with an excellent expert with whom we worked on Thierry Mugler, BMW and Mini.
We had to be ready for summer. The lead-time for the Kot project was 20 weeks. We had to keep it slim. Total cost invoiced by Season One, incl. full tool kit production and royalties, creative fees and strategic fees was below 75k€.


2014. Season One orchestrated the relaunch of Kot dietary products with an upscale positioning and a fashion touch. Creation by talented new Parisian hot shop Ham + Juice.


A brief now would leave you and us plenty of time to be ready for Christmas 2014 ! And we can chose together the best creative shop(s) for our task in Barcelona, Berlin, London or Paris.

Five ways to keep creativity at the heart of prestige brands

Maybe it’s the crisis, but a number of prestige brands seem to operate in a box and to lack imagination. Why and how can it be changed ?

After a wild period of anything goes (90’s, early 00’s) when masstige was invented, prestige brands felt the need to reestablish themselves as unique value providers. It occurred as the 2008 crisis started to hit. It was also a response to the proliferation of licenses, celebrities, new fragrances, etc. It was a good idea then (and it still is) to go back to heritage and DNA. But it often became a comfortable shelter and a matrix for repetitive moves. How to venture out of the box ?

  1. Use a perfectly defined brand platform integrating brand attitude and brand  culture : two items sensitive to the zeitgeist evolution.
  2. Make innovation a central part of team efforts ; media budgets ; choice in
    communication channels ; make sure more than 50% of what the consumer gets is new (product, message, channel). A brand is a living thing.
  3. Do not ask consumers for what they expect. Provide what they don’t expect
    (a marketing paradox ?). Luxury is about unheard of.
  4. Bring talented 25-35 year old in the teams and ask them a simple question :
    « if Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, or René Lacoste were 30 today and starting
    what would they do ? »
  5. Use trend agencies (Peclers, to name one) to inform you on the new
    expressions of brand platform defined in (1).

(Season One’s experiences on all five points : how to make it work ; how it succeeded)

Five reasons why luxury/fashion need more strategic planning today

Season One noted a strong demand for strategic planning ,coming from various luxury areas, yet with common insights.

  1. Because they haven’t had a lot of it in the past. No examples required there.
  2. Because capitalistic rules (shareholders’ power, need to inform and create
    trust) ask for more articulated brand plans. See l’Oréal
  3. Because important brands previously incarnated by their creator are changing
    hands and want continuity. See Mugler, Gaultier, Alaïa.
  4. Because China and emerging markets require brands to adjust their offers while
    keeping continuity : an exercise worth thinking through. See prestige watch
    and jewelry.
  5. Because new creativity is required to feed luxury’s dynamics :
    new consumers joining – new geographies, new generations, new insights.