ghd – The MCA Management Awards 2005

ghd’s turnover shot up from £5m in 2003 to £85m in 2006; it topped the 2006 Sunday Times Fast Track 100 table for private companies; it was launched in 15 international markets; attained UK Top 100 Cool Brand status and in 2007, the business was successfully sold for £160m.

In 2001, three men from Yorkshire discovered revolutionary hair iron technology in the USA. They imported the technology, and began trading from one of their homes in Ilkley. This was the start of the ghd journey.

As the business started to warm up, ghd approached Propaganda. They wanted advertising that positioned ghd as “the original and best.” But, when we launched our brand Discovery, we realised that there could be much more to the ghd story than just a burst of advertising.

Propaganda challenged ghd’s brief because we could see its massive potential. It could go beyond ‘hairstyling’, and into the world of beauty and fashion. It could be transformed from a product to a brand.

Discovery revealed that the words used to describe ghd almost had a religious overtone. People using ghd ‘worshipped’ it, others ‘believed’ it was capable of ‘hair miracles’. This inspired our brand strategy – ‘A New Religion for Hair’.

Our objective – position ghd as the first ‘hair beauty’ brand and convert positive perceptions into brand loyalty.

Next: Distribution with a difference! In the face of rapid growth, Propaganda suggested that distribution be reined in and limited to salons. We were certain there would be sustainable benefits to making it exclusive. A £2.6 million campaign on TV, billboards and in the press, positioned ghd as a miracle-worker for women.