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Color Cosmetic Packaging and Today's Consumer

By: Nathalie Nowak
Posted: January 28, 2014, from the January 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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For the masstige and mass end of the spectrum, premiumization is also a factor—as is cost reduction. Leading suppliers offer a full range of decoration options, such as metallization, to deliver a premium look without the cost of all-metal packaging. Holographic film on all sides and sputtering, a metallization process that first came on the scene in the electronics industry, are other choices that appeal to mass and masstige brands.

Changing the lipstick bullet shape is another solution that addresses the need for something new. Ideas such as airtight elliptical- and teardrop-shaped bullet lipsticks, with guided mechanisms, which work well for softer formulas and precise application, have been developed. One model even combines the lip liner and lipstick in the same bullet.

Lip gloss applicators and mascara brushes also can be contemporized. Research shows consumers continually seek fresh new applicator and mascara application experiences via new shapes, textures and tactile sensations. In one case, a series of applicators, each with a novel tip that looks and feels different, have been developed. (For more on color cosmetic packaging innovation, including applications for mascara, lips, foundations and more, read "Without Compromise: The Intricacies and Innovations of Color Cosmetic Packaging".)

Into the Hands of the Consumer

The reality is that many consumers buy a color cosmetic product because they fall in love with the packaging. The savvy brand owner will explore all possible technologies, shapes, features and designs—as well as decoration and surface treatment techniques—and weigh the technical and cost considerations.

However, they also need to investigate new ways of getting their products and brand identities into the hands and hearts of target consumers. Today’s sampler is no longer a freebie or a giveaway. Rather, sampler programs are now cleverly and effectively integrated into the overall launch program. The idea, of course, is to induce trial.

Thus, we see the increasing importance of the beauty box. Consumers subscribe and receive monthly boxes packed with luxury brand, trial-sized beauty products. This trend is becoming geographically diverse, with offerings being sold from France to South Africa. More and more brands now invest in this new communications tool. (Learn more about beauty box sampling in the article "Getting the Most from Your Sampling Subscription Partnership” in the November 2013 issue of GCI magazine.)

In addition, leading beauty brands are using the power of social media to promote new products and get ever closer to their consumers. As I write this, L’Oréal Paris USA has more than two million Facebook “likes.” Maybelline has twice that number. Burberry has nearly 17 million. That is quite a nice online constituency.

Beauty Across Platforms

The package is the brand in its most tangible form, and the type of differentiation achieved by the pairing of savvy brand owners and world-class suppliers makes an impact that builds brands in the beauty industry. But differentiation takes many forms: the architecture of the package, the formulation, the application gesture, the pack’s aesthetics and on and on.

Differentiation in today’s color cosmetics market also refers to the means of distribution and consumer contact. Is the product found in a brick-and-mortar store? Online? Via social media platforms? In a monthly beauty box? Or can it be purchased on a subway platform? Seemingly, it is only a matter of time before “non-traditional” becomes the new normal. (To read more about the new “norms” in color cosmetics, read “Color Cosmetics in the Midst of a Makeover.”)

Nathalie Nowak, who has held senior management positions at both consumer and B2B product makers, is executive vice president of marketing, innovation and development for Albéa Group. Albéa is a leading company in the packaging sector, offering a wide range of solutions for the cosmetic, perfume, skin care and oral care markets. With its headquarters in France, Albéa employs 16,700 people and operates 46 industrial sites throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia.