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Marketing Matters: Professional Skin Care Comes Home

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: August 5, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
Olay

Olay realized that little room is available at point-of-purchase to explain to women the features and benefits of its products and wanted to take a proactive role in helping women with a customized routine suited to their needs.

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Vichy is a leading skin care brand in European pharmacies offering soothing Vichy Thermal Spa Water with the latest ingredients stemming from dermatological research. Vichy’s home kit, the Peel Micro Abrasion Rejuvenating Resurfacing Kit, was developed and designed by dermatologists for the consumer who has photoaged wrinkles and uneven skin. The complete treatment includes four steps—microdermabrasion, peel, neutralizing soothing solution and ongoing antiaging follow-up care. The kit contains three treatments to be used over the course of three weeks followed by an antiaging regimen after each application for three additional weeks post treatment.

Pharmacist Jean-Charles Lissarrague founded Roc in France in 1957. Roc quickly became the skin care leader in France and Lissarrague brought his antiaging expertise to the U.S. in 1999. He has continued to build on his unique understanding of the skin aging process to develop effective skin care solutions. Collaboration with dermatologists produced a Resurfacing Facial Peel Kit, among other products.

Consumers are becoming more receptive to in-home products, in part, because of the product packaging, which is slowly moving from a less medicinal to a more professional, but approachable look and feel. MD Skincare’s packaging is a selection of cohesively branded white bottles and tubes. Functional pump dispensers grace the tops of many of these bottles, which portray a friendly and familiar, white lab coat persona. Perricone’s products have a clinical, medicinal personality with an apothecary feel. Murad’s tagline “Where skin care meets health care,” and the simple and modern bottle shapes, convey a clean and fresh impression in a decidedly professional manner.

In addition to a strict attention to detail in product packaging, Murad also took notice of how the product is merchandised at store level and found that space for information on the shelf is often limited. The company initiated an online effort as part of its marketing strategy in an attempt to be a direct resource to consumers. This interactive online evaluation tool provides personalized information about how to properly care for skin. Visitors provide answers about skin type, skin concerns and lifestyle, including personal habits, brand usage and gender. After completing the online evaluation form, users are directed to a page that briefly explains the products available from Murad in a three-step regimen. The system then generates a complete, personalized report that itemizes each skin care problem. Murad’s products target the specific problems and puts the founder’s theories to practice.

Procter & Gamble’s Olay has a similar online tool that has captured the attention of thousands of consumers. The brand realized that little room is available at point-of-purchase to explain to women the features and benefits of its products and wanted to take a proactive role in helping women with a customized routine suited to their needs. The Web site leads customers through a series of questions that help them determine which of the Olay products and/or regimens will be most effective for them. A printed report is available on demand so that the consumer can take this to the store to assist on their next shopping trip.

The U.S. Impact on Asia

At the same time U.S. consumers adopt European brands and trends, U.S. glamour trends and behaviors are influencing Asia. China is fast becoming a land of opportunity for sophisticated, professionally enhanced skin care products. Due in part to a younger demographic, higher disposable incomes and growing interest in Western beauty trends, Chinese consumers are past the basic skin care regimen of cleansing and moisturizing.