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Beyond the Moon

By: Donna Barson
Posted: August 26, 2008, from the September 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Of course, companies have to replace the preservatives, artificial coloring and other non-natural ingredients with alternatives agreeable to the consumer. To paraphrase a popular saying that holds true in this scenario, inspiration is 99% desperation, and manufacturers and marketers are finding inspiration all around them. Fruit and vegetables are popular choices for finding ingredient alternatives. Naturcosmetics’s Styx brand, for example, offers natural hand balm made from 100% pure vegetable ingredients. The sea has contributed many natural ingredients as well, algae and sea salts are among the most recognizable.

Make no mistake about it, the ability to market products as pure and natural is significant, and will grow in significance when the definition of natural is standardized (an effort that has gained momentum during the past year). Then, companies that comply with the definition are going to be able to trumpet their natural status over those that don’t measure up to the standard.

If you doubt that last statement, then why is Target currently rolling out Erbaorganics, an organic skin care line for mothers and infants? Does it possibly have something to do with Wal-Mart’s creation of organic beauty selections in 350 stores nationwide? And why is Publix launching some very green supermarkets in Florida called Publix GreenWise? Might it have something to do with shaving the competition’s potential marketing edge? For marketers, the stakes have never been higher. Since future generations will probably seek out more natural products because of the increasing emphasis on the environment, the battle goes beyond today’s consumers to those of tomorrow.

Marketing a product as natural poses a huge challenge. While there are still problems to be worked out—the standard definition of natural, the shortened shelf life of natural products due to current limitations of natural preservatives—the wise marketer should move onto the natural stage now before it gets so crowded they aren’t noticed. It would be the natural thing to do.