While there are many haircare products out there that cater to some of our hair needs (and frustrations), there are few that can check off all the boxes. Enter Prose. We sat down with Rashi Birla, VP of Brand and Creative at the direct-to-consumer hair care brand, to hear her approach to their first-ever national brand campaign launching this month and serving as a key pillar in the challenger brand’s overall vision. Read on to find out more about Rashi’s creative work on the campaign along with why she started working with Prose, how her creativity has been impacted by motherhood, and what she recommends to today’s aspiring creatives.
Why did you decide to work with Prose?
When I first met Prose’s co-founders, I immediately knew I shared their vision and belief that brands need to go beyond offering consumers a so-so product in shiny wrapping. I wanted to help bring a truly effective and personalized product to consumers that would give them their best hair. I was also blown away by the vision to use the Prose brand as “a force for good”—a brand that would be sustainable, give back to the environment and support local communities.
How did you come up with the concept for Prose’s first-ever national brand campaign?
The concept was a partnership with our incredible creative agency, Red Antler (they created Prose's original branding). As this is our first 360 campaign, we wanted to achieve two things: 1) explain how Prose’s personalized hair care offering works and 2) highlight how Prose is setting a new beauty standard by rejecting the limited options of mass haircare and celebrating the hyper-individualized possibility of truly personalized products, while educating consumers that "no one has hair exactly like yours." This mindset really served as the driving motivation behind the campaign.
On the creative front, we are introducing the brand to a large, national audience so we wanted to make sure consumers understand Prose [is] a brand that is backed by product performance, developed by experts, and a luxurious experience. We needed to make sure those brand pillars came through in the creative.
You were also behind the creative for another Challenger brand we have featured in the past – Recess! What is something you strive to convey in your designs?
“In the end, I want the Prose product to cut through any design ‘noise’ and really speak for itself.”
I have always believed in design that is simple, understated, and conveys a feeling. And of course, being aesthetically pleasing doesn't hurt! This is the same mindset that I strive to apply to Prose’s creative. In the end, I want the Prose product to cut through any design “noise” and really speak for itself. I believe in designing for different mediums, so while our website design, custom bottle labels, and packaging take a more minimalistic approach, we give ourselves more creative freedom with the art direction, special landing pages, and content creation.
How are you thinking about Prose’ long-term creative strategy and what the ecosystem looks like post-pandemic?
When the pandemic first hit, it was important for us to take a step back and ask our customers what they wanted to see from the brand. We started to offer content that was much less branded. It wasn’t a time to push our own agenda. We were diligent about making sure that every [communication] that went out was visually and verbally empathetic.
From a long-term strategy perspective, we've built a multi-faceted brand and we have the ability to flex different aspects of the brand that will help us continue to be agile when it comes to our creative and external communications. I think consumers are going to expect this of us, and all brands, moving forward. We continue to push diversity and inclusivity across all of our marketing channels. We now have the tools and experience to approach cultural topics with a heightened level of empathy and timeliness. Through this new lens, we will continue to be a source of inspiration and education for our customers.
What have you been up to lately and what’s in the works for you?
“…I’ve realized that being a mom has further fueled my drive to be creative.”
At the beginning of July I gave birth to a wonderful baby boy. He’s my first! So for the last few months, I’ve been embracing and enjoying being a first-time mom. I’m looking forward to going back to work and reconnecting with my team. We have a lot of projects in the works so I’m excited to get back and pick up where I left off. Over the past few months I’ve realized that being a mom has further fueled my drive to be creative.
What’s one learning from your past career life that you carry with you today?
I’ve learned that a lot of a brand’s success lives in its relationship to the customer. A brand’s persona and story are not only what a brand tells its consumers …but also what its customers reflect back to the brand. The two are not always congruent with each other. The best brands don’t just push what their brand is supposed to be onto their consumer, but [they] also infuse their brand with the voice and perspective of their consumer.
What’s one eye-opening thing that you’ve learned about the Prose customer?
When I first started at Prose, I didn’t realize how much people geek out about the details of their hair. Given the in-depth nature of our consultation, our customers tend to become intrigued not only with their products, but with hair education overall. This is why we’ve made education a core pillar of our brand. Our content team dedicates a lot of content to breaking down each Prose product, offering tips and tricks on how to use our products, ingredient education, styling advice, hair health, etc.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Most opportunities don’t always look like opportunities. They are disguised as something else and the most successful people are able to recognize and seize an opportunity no matter what it looks like.
How would you advise aspiring designers to pursue their careers in today's world?
Make as much stuff as you can. I don’t think most people are born to be brilliant designers and creatives. The best designers are the ones who just keep practicing, project after project, day in and day out. I use the word “stuff” because it really can be anything—the goal is to just keep making.