Branding Innovative Science

How TULA Demystified Probiotic Skincare Technology to Become the Hottest New Skincare Regime

Possibly one of the most challenging hurdles to clear for an online retailer or emerging health-beauty product is explaining to potential customers the power of the product, how it’s different from everything else on the market, oh and be able to translate that message to something clear and digestible in essentially 15 seconds or less. Within the landscape of our short attention span culture, a highly saturated market, plus the constant bombardment of marketing messages featuring the latest “must-have” products, it’s no easy feat to attain brand recognition as a new or emerging beauty company and/or online retailer.

As an emerging brand, you’ve got one opportunity — and a short window — to make your mark and convey to a consumer a) what you do, b) why you’re the most awesome at it, c) create a sense of urgency and desire for your product, and d) how your product is going to uniquely satisfy a need, sometimes one that the consumer might not have been aware of until this very moment. For a company just starting out, this can seem overwhelming at best and near impossible at worst which is why oftentimes emerging companies pour a significant amount of dollars into digital marketing like ad buys to win greater visibility and brand recognition. That’s not necessarily the wrong approach. But here’s the thing, while the right SEO strategy and thoughtfully chosen search terms might drive people to your website, what happens when they get there? Are you prepared to effectively and quickly communicate — through language, visuals and design — your product offering to your target audience? And finally, are you able to share product knowledge in a way that will boost engagement and get a customer curious enough to explore or try your product?

A stellar idea and/or product will catch fire and resonate with an intended audience IF it becomes known and the brand story is shared with the wider public. Powerful, clear and smart brand positioning, design, and marketing can go a long way to set you apart from your competitors thereby accelerating the growth of your company. The first step of course is easy-to-understand concise messaging to convey who you are, what you do, your reason for being, how you do what you do and/or the power of your product that sets you apart from the competition. The next and critical step is formulating a brand voice, tone, and look to convey what your company is about and make your product(s) easily identifiable to create consistency and impact.

The brand

One such example of a brand that was able to increase their visibility and sales through successful brand positioning, packaging and design is TULA. TULA, known as one of the fastest growing indie beauty brands of 2017, is an innovative skincare brand with the mission to help women and men feel more balanced, beautiful and confident through their products and community, TULA engaged the CROSBY team to translate our visual identity to a new category launch. What makes TULA’s product line so unique is their innovative science and approach to skincare. Founder and creator Dr. Roshini Raj has discovered a way to harness the strength and power of probiotic cultures to rebalance and rehydrate the skin in a topical form in combination with ingested supplements.

The results and efficacy of the product was immediately impressive, the technology behind the development revolutionary and progressive, however, the challenge in translating this new line to a consumer unfamiliar with probiotic skincare was becoming an impediment to growth. TULA needed to close the knowledge gap between what consumers knew about the benefits of probiotics when ingested vs the benefits with topical application, plus the amplified positive results of combining them both. No one was yet talking about applying probiotics directly to the body to see radiant skin. In order to empower more consumers to learn about the benefits of this new approach to skincare and get them to feel comfortable with the products, changing the mindset was essential.

The challenge

As we began working with the TULA team, we quickly realized the key to early and wider adoption of the TULA skincare line would be in educating an uninformed market and/or consumer. In 2016, the Kombucha craze was in full effect so the majority of the market (US online customers) understood the concept of introducing healthy cultures and bacteria into the body to maintain a balanced amount of healthy or “good” bacteria. Yet, the concept of putting probiotic lysates on your skin was at its infancy. In fact some would argue it still is, although TULA is quickly and surely shifting consumer perception. We identified the largest barrier to entry to be brand recognition — as it related to the brand name, tagline, packaging — and also the ability to effectively communicate the innovative science behind the original and patented TULA skincare formula.

The science

TULA is one of a handful of companies in the beauty, skincare, and supplements sectors who are in the process of continual innovation and renewal. TULA created a skincare formula based on microbiome technology which works with an individual’s own skin and biochemistry to balance, treat and/or enhance the the skin’s surface flora. Essentially activating those good for you bacteria to balance the skin and strength the skin barrier function. This type of approach to health and wellness is quickly becoming more recognized and adopted by those looking for healthier and more natural alternatives to their skincare regimens. By recognizing science as a helper and a way to simplify both the ingredients used and the methods towards developing innovative skincare products, TULA has both a unique viewpoint and a clear differentiated product in the market.

The approach

With a collaborative approach, CROSBY and TULA worked to create brand language which could explain sophisticated microbiome technology in a way that was easily digestible, exciting and desirable for a new customer regardless of where they were on the microbiome education spectrum when first learning of the product line. We kept the focus on updating the packaging design and tagline copy to have the strongest and most immediate impact on product adoption and sales.


The early TULA packaging had a bit more of a sterile and cosmetic feel — that made sense as the brand was heavily focused on being crafted and rigorously by skincare specialists. Lifestyle wasn’t the focus then.

CROSBY’s packaging exploration options, reviewing structure and color, for TULA’s probiotic supplements line.

We wanted the new design to better represent the clean, natural, balanced approach to skincare that TULA identified with and the brand message that was shared with customers. So we worked on developing an overall brand visual language that conveyed balance, felt friendly and accessible yet also invoked themes of innovation and sophisticated science, in a way that wasn’t alienating or overtly edgy. It was a balancing act — no pun intended — between conveying authenticity, warmth, and accessibility without watering down a powerful and innovative skincare technology.

CROSBY’s packaging exploration options, reviewing structure and color, for TULA’s probiotic supplements line.

This project walked the line of not only visual design but also function design with a little bit of innovation framework strategy. It’s also not just about marketing and getting people to your site. And, it’s also not about a beautiful brand. It’s about conveying a value proposition through both.

TULA’s final packaging in the wild.

If you’re interested in partnering with CROSBY, you know where to find us.

To see more of the final design we moved forward with, check out TULA.

[1] According to Chartbeat, 55% of consumers spend 15 seconds or fewer on a website