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Best Brand Decisions—Consumer Defined

By: Abby Penning
Posted: March 7, 2011, from the March 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

When developing or refining a beauty brand, the most essential guidelines to follow are those that the consumers define—what products they want and how they want them. And often the best way to find out what consumers want is through consumer market intelligence.

“Consumer market intelligence for the beauty industry consists of consumer demographics and the buying habits therein,” says Rosilyn Rayborn, founder of Smackages, a beauty and makeup trends website. “Brands must analyze a consumer’s complete path to purchase from discovery to fulfillment and beyond to identify where their specific products fit into this path to purchase.”

Applying the knowledge gained from market intelligence can help direct a brand to pinpoint the desires of its target market and capitalize on that knowledge with any new products or line extensions, because it’s all about understanding what the consumer wants. Jane Henderson, global president of the beauty division for market intelligence provider Mintel International Group, says, “Consumer market intelligence is only as good as the questions you ask or the data you collect. For beauty, understanding the three I’s is key—innovation, impact and internationalization. Understanding behavior traits and forecasting consumers’ buying habits is critical.”

Whether a brand is just starting out in the marketplace or has a long track record of successful products, introducing something new always requires targeted consumer insight. “Relying on consumer intelligence is very beneficial to beauty brands. It enables brand owners to make informed decisions when planning their strategies,” explains Rayborn. “A slight miscalculation can cost a company money, mar its reputation and even give its competitor the upper hand, so when making these decisions, they must be backed by some logical data to be as informed as possible, and market intelligence drives those very critical decisions.”