It’s the information age: there’s no fact or figure that escapes our grasp and when it does, it’s revealed with Wikileaks-style fanfare. Why? People are more aware of the world around them than ever before, and the consumer marketplace is no exception. Whether it’s independent research, medical journals, or social media, customers are more intuitively savvy. Compare shopping is just the beginning. As a result, brands are trying to be as intuitive and transparent as possible to help attract consumers by encouraging their highly researched buying power. While there are many exciting trends coming out of this reactionary development in retail, here are three ways to help brands stay relevant and bring new interest to this very multi-tiered beauty category.
Packaging is playing a huge part in the way brands continue to satisfy their existing customers and attract new ones of all ages, men and women alike. Size, materials and new color-palettes are being used to stand out amidst competition and help underline the personality behind newly launched products and even old favorites. Each season brings a new crop of launches (spring, summer, fall and Holiday) but brands are also investing in recurring collections to keep customers coming back. Personal services that are tailored to consumers help make them feel as if the product being offered is genuinely targeted to them to help their unique problems. Great examples are face-mapping skin care (Dermalogica), color matching for makeup (CoverGirl’s FABLAB, Sephora Pantone Color IQ, and L’Oreal Paris Beauty Genius App) and makeup campaigns that create universal palettes for top sellers like L’Oreal’s Collection Privee. Personal touches such as Zodiac signs and city compass coordinates are also being introduced into makeup and personal care items to make items feel individual.
There’s also a new appetite for direct mail products: Glossybox, Birchbox and Baublebar (with Benefit Cosmetics collaboration) bring “customized” products right to your door. Taking that a step further, online brand function is quickly being redefined: blog brands are turning to e-commerce to offer readers more than just information and news (eg. Into The Gloss’s Glossier product launch). Brands are also using effective editorial tactics to entice consumers, such as cheeky product names and conversational marketing display copy, such as “I Feel Dirty” for a face mask that promises to purify. All of this increasingly enticing branded content combined with clever social media marketing and new e-commerce models allows brands a whole new level of engagement with consumers.
Companies are investing in products to give customers lux for less than they expect. The “you-get-what-you-pay-for” idea is gone and replacing it is a universal understanding between brand and consumer that it’s possible to get quality for an affordable price. New premium-feeling packaging and innovative ingredients are creeping into mass-market products and niche brands are offering rare and artisan/organic/vegan-friendly items catering towards a higher-end feel. Luxury brands are also stocking shelves at mass-market drugstores (Duane Reade, Shopper’s Drug Mart and Boots for example). These stores are investing in shop-in-shop displays, stock areas and personal care cashiers. Loblaw’s grocery store launched the Joe Fresh skincare line and drugstore Boots has its No. 7 line of skincare, makeup and beauty accessories at affordable prices. Consumers are driven to these in-house products because of their premium feel, allowing them to feel special without sacrificing cost savings.
While the most intangible of the three trends, empowerment holds the most potential for brands. A select few personal care brands have realized that their tried-and-true campaigns might not be attracting the customers that are actually buying their products. Age-old brands, while they continue to be household product names, seem to have a false sense of self and their own identity. Old Spice is a great example of a brand that was able to acknowledge the separation between their marketing targets and their core consumers, adjusting their packaging and advertising spend to better target Millennial males.
Youth and teen-specific product launches (Shiseido’s Ibuki and Dermalogica’s Clear Start skincare lines, for example) allow brands to connect with the customers that actually buy their products more directly and even empower the consumer. Products are being created out of the empowerment trend as well: at-home beauty tools are seeing huge popularity from those hyper-researching consumers who want dermatologist-office results without having to book appointments or pay spa prices. These innovations allow consumers to take solutions in their own hands—literally, with brands such as Tria, Tanda and many others created to help a laundry list of beauty woes. Ingestible beauty is also another category that has created new interest via the “beauty from the inside out” theme. As such, beauty vitamins and “skin pills” have seen a lot of popularity. Nature’s Bounty launched its Hair, Skin and Nails line of supplements and gummy vitamins. A new brand Glisodin has a whole range to help with skin issues before and after cosmetic surgery—now that’s proactive.
Through personalization, premiumization and empowerment, in-store retailers and e-tailers are beginning to address growing demand for innovations in personal care with products that seem intuitive, luxurious-yet-affordable and frankly, more personal. A heads up to all the personal care brands who haven’t yet taken head: these three trends are essential in helping your brand hold onto market share and continue connecting with your consumers despite an unpredictable economy and over-crowded market.