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The Pivotal Elements

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: February 12, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

Twice during the past few years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with Enterprise Ireland, an Irish government organization responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. The latest opportunity brought me to Dublin in January for the creative expo and trade show Showcase, which brings together a variety of Irish brands and artisans and, as the event name indicates, showcases them for global retail buyers.

In addition to walking the show floor, facility and lab tours were arranged (I ended up on Irish television at one), and I had the chance to meet with the owners and executives from Irish Breeze, Ovelle, Voya, Fragrances of Ireland and Human & Kind.

Brands at any given beauty industry trade event typically share certain goals and market positions or offer similar product types—luxury color cosmetics looking for North American distribution, as one real-world example. So I was struck by how very different the goals and objectives of the Irish brands I met through Enterprise Ireland were. These brands held very different marketing positions and had very different consumer targets and retail goals. Some were okay with small footprints in foreign markets and maintaining very controlled retail relationships while others were going for broader retail strategies toward expanding their share in both mature and emerging markets, or just about to emerge markets. The brands with the real global ambitions were attacking diversified markets concurrently, something that Euromonitor International’s Rob Walker says is a key for companies with global goals.

The strength, depth and diversity of a company’s emerging market footprint will become ever more critical to global market share, Walker writes in “A Tipping Point for Beauty.” For those who have already expanded into emerging markets, it’s time to look at the next wave of emergers—going beyond the BRICs. Euromonitor has identified the MINTs (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) as hot spots for beauty care to 2020 and beyond. In fact, with an emerging middle class that’s aspirational in its purchasing habits (the core of beauty’s opportunity), Mexico could overtake Brazil as Latin America’s biggest economy.

Regardless of the market, connecting with consumers is the key—and today that means better and more informed insights into your target consumer, listening to their wants and reflecting those back to them. Most consumers are not consciously aware of it, but their product choices are rooted in their desire to advertise their personality to the world, writes Alisa Marie Beyer in the Marketing Matters column “Is Your Packaging Saying Hello or Goodbye?” And packaging plays an integral role. It is critical you use packaging and the marketing message on the packaging—pivotal brand elements—wisely so that your consumer goes from a browser to a loyal, emotionally connected customer at the very first glance. Carefully crafted and thoughtfully designed packaging, writes Beyer, takes the very essence of your brand, distills it down to the vital core and then creates the foundation of an emotional connection with your consumer that must translate into deeper interest and, ultimately, a purchase.

We’d love to hear your stories about retail strategy, connecting with consumers and any other brand efforts you’ve got underway. Please feel free to share at www.facebook.com/GCImagazine or email me at jfalk@allured.com.