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The Truth of Change and Passion

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: July 9, 2012, from the August 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

The beauty industry is “quite strange in many ways,” Carol Bagnald, regional commercial director, London HSBC, told the audience at the CEW(UK) 2012 Beauty Summit in London—noting it’s an industry that’s both mature and emerging, making it “well-placed for the future.”

And she’s not the only non-industry analyst who finds the global beauty industry strange.

I frequently receive calls from firms looking for entry into beauty and general news media outlets working on coverage, and the basic underlying question is how the industry remains relevant, vibrant and growing (both in sales and new product launches) when the overall economic picture and other factors would seem to dictate that it should be in steady decline? (For these conversations, by the way, I leverage the knowledge that I learn from you.)

One element is fairly evident even to those not in the industry: consumers’ passion for their favorite products and brands, as well as their hunger for what’s new in beauty. The other, I think, is not so well-recognized beyond our own industry circles and a few hard-core brand fans, and that is the passion of the industry itself—both brand owners and suppliers—for creating that which continues to excite and connect with consumers. In fact, it’s what successful beauty businesses have been built upon since today’s iconic brands were young.

Introducing his panel discussion at Luxe Pack New York 2012, Marc Rosen, designer/president of Marc Rosen Associates and advisor to GCI, spoke about learning the keys to a brand’s success—product, package and promotion (advertising)—from Revlon founder Charles Revson—the Three P’s. Rosen explained there was a fourth Revson took as a given: passion. It was about getting the consumer to viscerally understand the product concept and identify with and respond to the advertising and the package.

In today’s world of growing markets, increasing competition and social media, it’s not enough to be passionate for what we create. We also have to be passionate about engaging with consumers—exploring ways to connect with and in shared passions with consumers.