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The Claim Game

By: Alisa Marie Beyer
Posted: December 6, 2010, from the December 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

Among the many beauty truths and realities in the industry, none is truer than the time-tested adage that if you want your product to go into a consumer’s shopping cart, someone else’s has to come out first. And these days, getting into a consumer’s shopping cart is more challenging than ever.

According to State of the Industry by Carrie Lennard in the June 2010 issue of GCI magazine, growth in the global skin care market was down 3% in 2009 (from 5% in 2008). Further, the North American skin care market saw 0% growth in 2009, and premium cosmetic sales fell 5%. In this light, the economic challenges of the past year are clearly not over. However, in spite of these statistics, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Sure, consumers may be increasingly overwhelmed with a vast sea of seemingly similar beauty products, but the truth is, the typical consumer loves her beauty products, and she’s not willing to give up her favorites easily.

For the beauty brand looking to enter or expand its presence in this tight environment, how can you color your product and capture your target consumer’s attention—and her wallet? In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, there is still one area that speaks volumes to consumers: claims.

Now more than ever, the importance of a 360-degree competitive analysis of in-market claims is a critical component of all pre-launch marketing strategy. What is your competition claiming? What kind of claims are they making (emotional versus benefits)? Can your new product make claims equally as compelling? If you want to capture a consumer’s loyalty and keep her buying your product even in the face of slow growth, strategically analyzing, understanding and knowing your competitors’ claims is a must.

Claim, Claims Everywhere

These days, one needn’t look too hard to find skin care claims. Magazines, TV commercials, newspaper ads—claims are front and center, and often many of these claims are enormously similar. Consumers are savvy to this trend, and not only do they want to believe these claims, but more importantly, they expect claims to be more than just marketing speak. In fact, for the average consumer, discerning the difference between similar eye creams, antiaging serums or firming body lotions has become a bigger challenge than not—forcing her to either go with a familiar and trusted brand or take a plunge into the unknown. Impactful claims are one of the ways she decides where she’s going to spend her skin care dollars, and knowing these claims is now a prerequisite for all brand development.