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Seeing with New Eyes

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: December 6, 2010, from the December 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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I first heard Beyer present the results of The Benchmarking Company’s survey on Women & Walmart: Seeing Through the Eyes of the Beauty and Personal Care Consumer in early 2010; and according to the research, convenience, price, value and authenticity are the rule of the day—and fall directly in Walmart’s wheelhouse. “Whether your brand is at Walmart or not, what is happening there and how consumers are spending their time and dollars inside the store is vital to the entire beauty and personal care industry,” Beyer had said upon the report’s release. “It’s easy to become out of touch with the real beauty consumer. It’s important that we get back to her.”

Bauza, credited as the woman who is transforming Walmart’s approach to beauty, called consumers’ behavior in the beauty aisle “engaging the experience,” emphasizing that serving a consumer base goes beyond simply putting products on a shelf. And part of the strategy behind bringing brands such as Hard Candy, which is now exclusive to Walmart, to its shelves involves analysis of how products truly engage consumers.

In HBA’s “Insights from the Top: Looking Ahead to Innovation and Growth Challenges” panel, Kevin Gallagher, president, Croda Inc., spoke about making deep connections with consumers. “When we see that product that seems specifically made for us,” he said, “that’s when we reach for our credit card or cash. [Consumers] are looking for that special connection,” he said.

“It’s delivering on the promise,” Ed Shirley, vice chair of global beauty and grooming, P&G, told the CEW Newsmaker Forum audience in September. “It’s looking at the consumer holistically. [In marketing], it’s about putting the product in front of the consumer in a meaningful way. Creating a higher order benefit; make the connection. If you have a big idea and a compelling way to connect that with consumers, you’ll create the sales.”

Looking for and nurturing these connections, and the changing media channels in which these connections are made, does have its implications for product development, launches and overall brand/product strategies.