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Marketing Matters: Values Shape Purchasing Styles

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: March 5, 2007, from the March 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Natural and organic ingredients are gaining influence and becoming more prevalent in the marketplace as consumers become more educated on the effects of the elements applied to their skin. But more than the ingredients in the products themselves, it is a consumer’s culture—and the values and rituals therein—that help to shape an individual’s selections in the bath and body categories.

Hispanic culture and values vary greatly from country to country within Latin America, and again within Latina subcultures in the U.S. In our current caseload, we have observed that sun care products, hair care products—up 281% from 2005 in Brazil alone, according to Euromonitor—and a product segmentation phenomenon are all driving bath and body categories in Brazil and Argentina, while Mexico is seeing growth in products specifically marketed for hair removal.

Central and South American women tend to be very focused on hair type. As a result, they look for shampoos, conditioners and styling products that are specifically geared toward dry, oily or frizzy hair. Procter & Gamble has capitalized on this segmentation by offering niche-specific hair care products in the Pantene Pro-V and Head & Shoulders lines. Additionally, P&G’s Wella Lifetex, Koleton Care and SP families are providing Brazilian and Argentinian women with UV filter protection in shampoo and conditioner, while Wella SP’s Express Cream and Cream Spray are assisting in repairing any hair damage from sun exposure. L’Oréal hair care products also have a strong presence in Brazil and Argentina.

Customer Service Hallmark

For bath and body needs, South American women have a variety of options. Purchasing choices for women in Brazil provide an interesting example of these options. Besides mass retailers such as Carrefour—the world’s second largest retailer behind Wal-Mart, with stores in 30 countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia—and Lojas Americanas, Brazil’s largest nonfood retailer, women in Brazil shop at O Boticário, a homegrown retail franchise. The chain’s 2,000-plus retail stores in Brazil offer a variety of moisturizers, lotions, gels, deodorizing bar soaps, deodorants, body oils and sun protection lotions. Additionally, individualized customer service has become a hallmark of the purchasing experience at O Boticário.