Culturally, at that time, the apothecary was not only a place for health consultations; it was also a space for social conversations and networking. Granado became a social point for politicians, diplomats, bankers and writers and soon gained prestige and influence—so much so that in 1880 it became the official pharmacy to serve the emperor Dom Pedro II and even had the imperial crest stamped on its bottles.
The company was owned by the Granado family for more than a century, and even though its equity had always been alive, its branding potential had been dormant for the last few decades. In 1994, Christopher Freeman, an English entrepreneur, acquired the company, and since then Granado has rescued much of its buried history—which now is reflected visually in its product design and proudly showcased in its vintage retail environment.
Cultural heritage is Granado’s most valuable asset. Think of apothecary brands such as the American Kiehl’s and Caswell-Massey and Santa Maria Novella in Italy. Like Granado, these brands differentiated themselves from others of similar positioning because they sustained their history and cultural heritage as their fundamental pillars. In the course of its existence, the same pillars have sustained Granado as the apothecary brand of reference for personal care products with therapeutic benefits in Brazil.
Granado’s original flagship store has occupied the same space for 139 years, and ever since, even with its “ups” and “downs,” the company has been consistent and careful not to distance itself from its roots.
Authenticity has led consumers to perceive quality and trust the brand. Granado honors its relationships with personalized service at point of sale and fosters loyalty by creating partnerships that lead to long-lasting brand-consumer bonds.
“Because the company praises the high quality of its products, it believes in captivating consumers through experimentation. Partnerships have been made with maternities (baby line, baby’s first bath), pediatricians, five-star hotels, dermatologists, etc.,” states Sissi Freeman, Granado’s head of marketing.
Fashion magazines have started to rave about Granado. In addition to selected magazine advertisements, the company has managed to create a lot of buzz around the brand with public relations initiatives and indirect celebrity endorsement.
Inevitably, Granado has been expanding its distribution and product lines across categories, and so far it has been able to stand by the exclusivity of its old-style apothecary. Relative to other brands, its price strategy remains competitive, varying from mid-to-high prestige point range yet still in line with its market positioning.
The brand Granado continues to segment and expand its portfolio to appeal to a larger customer base and aims to continue spanning genders and generations. A raft of new products in different categories—including specialty bath, skin care, baby care and even a pet care line—have been developed.
Expanding at the right time, to the right places and at the right pace are critical steps Granado must continue to follow to stand by its exclusivity. A trustful brand stands “by” what it stands “for,” so focus and careful expansion across categories is also made necessary for the sake of evolving and not drastically changing.
Thinking outside the Bottle
Granado as a company has also successfully ventured into the fine fragrance world. It launched its first fine fragrance in 2007 in partnership with Brazilian fashion designer Isabela Capeto and Phebo Perfumerie—Granado’s perfumery brand division founded in Belém in the Amazon region in 1930.
The bottle is an artsy red button-faced doll inspired by Isabela’s extensive use of embroidery in her collections. Unexpected and eye-catching, the final piece transcended its fine fragrance boundaries to become a fashionable collectible décor item.
The power of design “branded” Isabela Capeto’s fragrance with such visual distinctiveness that it successfully cut through fragrance clutter in stores, giving it a shelf presence and a unique positioning in prestige retail.
For Granado, the success of its first prestige fine fragrance is reassurance that the company has the equity to keep propelling its fine fragrance business forward.
Maintaining Equity with Minimal Redesign
As competition heightens, the need for a strong and identifiable brand is greater than ever, and Granado acknowledges this fact when it executes its product lines.
The company has been careful to maintain intact all visual elements that comprise its products’ identity. Products such as the foot powder Granado Polvilho Antisséptico (1903) and Granado glycerin soap (1915) haven’t changed significantly from a design standpoint and remain among the company’s core products. Both the soap and the talc are representative of Granado’s positioning, image and overall brand attributes.
Polvilho Antisséptico, for example, changed minimally from 1903 to today’s version. The product’s icon, signature, shape, colors and name symbiotically convey the same overall aesthetics the product embodied when it was first launched.
Sissi Freeman explains, “106 years after its launch, Polvilho is still the company’s best-selling product. The foot powder combines antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties that are effective to this day.”
Granado is merited for redesigning its products’ authenticity, which conveys a sense of continuity for both the product and the brand.
The Brand’s Past Is also the Brand’s Future
Granado’s brand equity lies in a combination of beauty and wellness legitimized by the science, tradition and heritage of the old-style apothecary.
The company and the brand Granado have been able to convey their deep-rooted Brazilian apothecary heritage with a retro flair and capitalize on the vintage trend in a way that resonates with consumers across generations.
Granado has homeopathically allocated resources to modernize and increase distribution and awareness without affecting its brand equity and fundamental pillars. As long as the brand stays true and authentic to its original roots, it will continue to stand by the exclusivity and cultural status that the brand inspires today.