Bulbul Hooda, Head of Brand and CMO, Vella Bioscience Brings Beauty Experience to a New Category

Photo via Vella Bioscience

Here’s an age-old marketing truth: sex sells. But marketing sex, or sexual wellness for that matter, can be a tough subject to bear. When you’re marketing a taboo product, such as a sexual wellness cream, those challenges are magnified and building product awareness becomes your number one goal.

The playful tone on the Vella Bioscience website and the suggestive, but not too dirty, Instagram feed is curated by a leader with a wealth of experience. Bulbul Hooda, Head of Brand and CMO, and Vella Bioscience left a promising career with the likes of Unilever and L’Oreal to create something new — something from scratch. The product she launched sat adjacent category called sexual wellness. Vella Bioscience makes Vella Women’s Pleasure Serum, a CBD-infused cream meant to act as a version of ‘Viagra’ for women. The many challenges with marketing a product like this start with needing to create an awareness that anything like this is even available.

“This is a category that people don’t even know is something that they’re missing. There is no need-gap. You’re filling as much as building an aspiration. There is a product here that’s going to improve your sexual function. And this is something it’s a first of its kind, it’s a breakthrough. To create that I needed to have those skillsets in my arsenal. One, believing in my intuition, second obsessively knowing my consumer. The third bit is building a brand together, piece by piece and that is something I truly learned at Unilever.”

The mission of Vella Bioscience is to sexually empower every woman, which has proven to be a bit difficult to navigate on social media given community guidelines. She has created some ingenious ways to still utilize the medium of social media but convert that traffic into the mode that serves her customer best, email.

“[Social advertising issues] were definitely a small setback, learning every time we put an ad out, our website would get blocked. [Then] you [have to] wait out seven days. Thankfully we were testing this two months before launch. We do use social media both for organic community, but also for advertising. We collect email signups through our ads on social media. So we now know that we are only talking to people who are genuinely interested and therefore email marketing has, I can’t say that it has completely replaced social media advertising, but it has arrested a lot of that loss for us. It’s 30% of our revenue channel. Beyond that, we use paid search. Ads on Google, both display shopping and search words, and then what we use social media for is advertising through influencers. Influencer strategy combined with email strategy has helped us navigate the restrictions on Facebook ad blocks.“

We all know not to put all of our eggs in one basket but it’s tempting to add a few more to the baskets that are multiplying faster but don’t get greedy. Run a trial and see what you can get from paid advertising, paid search, email, or even utilize influencers. Have a mix, get creative, and work outside of digital if you have to. Get excited about marketing with Bulbul and Vella Bioscience, in the full episode of Marketing Trends!

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