Jo Malone: Marketers should remember the ‘5Is’

Jo Malone had little marketing experience when she started her eponymous brand but says her advice when building a business is to remember the ‘5Is’ – inspiration, innovation, integrity, ignition and instinct.

Jo Malone Jo Loves

Jo Malone has founded and built up two successful fragrance brands. The first, the eponymous Jo Malone, she launched back in 1991 before selling to Estée Lauder in 1999. She left that business in 2006 having taken a year out after being diagnosed with breast cancer and having chemotherapy, but returned to find a business where she could “no longer feel her character”.

The deal with Estée Lauder stipulated that she must take a five-year break from the beauty industry, during which time she couldn’t even buy something from a beauty counter in case it appeared to be an endorsement.

But this hiatus gave Malone time to develop and hone her second business, Jo Loves. With it, she has taken a different approach to selling fragrances, with the shop looking more like high-end cocktail bar where shop assistants present products in martini glasses.

READ MORE: Jo Malone on refreshing the retail experience

Malone has managed to build two hugely successful businesses despite having no marketing experience. Headlining the first day of the Festival of Marketing, she admits that when she was starting out she “didn’t have strategy, marketing and advertising, we were shopkeepers”. But having spent her childhood in markets helping her dad sell, she says she understood that “the story and how you sell it is as important as the product itself”.

Yet Malone believes there are five key things marketers must remember if they want to build a successful brand. She highlights the ‘5Is’ – inspiration, innovation, integrity, ignition and instinct.

If your instinct tells you to do something and the rest of your team think you’re wrong I would say go with your gut, go with your instinct, go and discover.

Jo Malone, Jo Loves

The first three are easy to explain. Malone thinks that without inspiration and innovation it is impossible to be creative. And Oprah Winfrey advised her 30 years ago that “building a brand on integrity and truthfulness” was really important.

“She told me, if you own everything you do and stand by your identity and personality, you will always feel a fulfilled person,” she explains. “That’s integrity, the core of who you are. Don’t pretend to be something you are not. Be who you are.”

Malone believes successful brands also need “igniting moments”. She describes one of hers as the moment when she was at home painting and realised she could use that in her new business as a way to change how people think about wearing fragrance.

Many of her Jo Loves products come with brushes which are used to apply the fragrance, rather than the traditional spray.

Jo Malone Jo Loves
Fragrance tapas is the latest innovation from entrepreneur Jo Malone

That approach also applies to understanding when something great has come along and grabbing it with both hands. Within months of launching Jo Loves, she had a distribution offer from Sephora, which she knew she had to take.

“The Sephora moment was the roar of the engine and if we didn’t run with that and sign the deal the moment could go. You have to really capture that ignition moment,” she says.

Finally, she advises marketers to always rely on their instinct. She says she has pulled product launches at the last minute even when her whole team is telling her there is nothing wrong because it doesn’t feel right.

“What is in that bottle is so important. It is your relationship with your consumer for the next 10, 15 years. Don’t get it wrong. If your instinct tells you not to do something, don’t. And if your instinct tells you to do something and the rest of your team think you’re wrong I would say go with your gut, go with your instinct, go and discover; even if it’s wrong,” she says.

Hide Comments2 Show Comments
  • mireille wick 12 Oct 2017 at 4:21 pm

    love the wisdom in that piece; we tend to forget that gut instinct from which many successes are born

  • Rebecca Kennedy 13 Oct 2017 at 9:57 am

    Great article but careful with ‘you’re’ / your in the final paragraph and big Quote bubble

  • Post a comment

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here