Helen of Troy

Transitioning a holding company to an operating company

What started out as a small, family-run wig store in downtown El Paso back in 1968 has now evolved into a publicly-traded multinational designer, developer, and global marketer of consumer brand-name housewares, health and home, and beauty products—to the tune of $1.5 billion in annual sales. From Vicks to Braun, Honeywell to OXO, and Hydro Flask to PUR and Hot Tools, you’d be hard pressed not to find Helen of Troy brands in households around the world. In 2017, as the company approached its 50th anniversary, Helen of Troy partnered with TenTen to modernize its brand, shifting perceptions away from individual product brands into a cohesive corporate brand that all employees and investors could rally around.

Challenge

In 2013, Helen of Troy set forth on an ambitious transformation. Led by new CEO Julien Mininberg, the company wanted to shift from a passive holding company to a more integrated operating company. One with more shared services. More alliances. And more fresh thinking flowing back and forth between employees at the product brand level. Problem was, after so many years of being in the background, the Helen of Troy corporate brand had very little equity outside of El Paso. People had allegiance to the brand they worked for, not the holding company.

Insight

While cultural and operational initiatives were underway to bridge the gap, Helen of Troy’s brand was terribly outdated. Employees needed a cohesive narrative they could grab onto to—a story that described who the company was and why bringing everyone together under one brand was more powerful, and more effective, than the sum total of the individual product brands. And the company itself needed a new look and feel. Not just as a mere change of symbol, but to symbolize that a new Helen of Troy was rising—away from its disjointed past to a more unified, connected future.

Solution

We worked closely with the CEO and engaged senior leaders from different parts of the business to define and distill what the Helen of Troy brand stands for. The resulting brand essence, “Elevating lives, soaring together” served as the foundation for all subsequent visual identity, messaging and activation workstreams. Since this was the first time the company had gone through such a rebrand in half a century, we made it easy and accessible for them to figure out—only empowering them with the tools and guidance they needed to tell their story effectively and translate it to over 40 locations and 1,500 employees worldwide.

The company’s new logo—with its modernized name style and framing device—allows the Helen of Troy corporate brand to celebrate and support its leading consumer brands. With this approach, the corporate brand borrows equity from the consumer brands, but never gets in the way of their day-to-day operations. The flexibility of the system is simple and accommodating, providing the tools necessary for both novice and power users to put the brand into action from Day 1.

Results

The new brand launched on July 18, 2018 with a CEO presentation and a series of TenTen planned and coordinated global town hall launch events, right-sized for every location. Our broad activation plan accounted for all aspects of budget, timing and geographic diversity. These events were met with standing ovations by employees, who said not only were they proud of the work, but for the first time, truly felt like a part of something bigger than their own product brand. Shares of Helen of Troy on Nasdaq are now trading for $130.50, a $15 per share increase since launch.

What we did

Activation planning

Design system extension

Employee engagement / training

Implementation / production

Launch planning

Program management

Signage

Visual Identity