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Marketing Matters: Defining Brand Traits

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: August 7, 2007, from the August 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.
In hair care aisles across the globe, companies have been positioning their brands to catch the attention of distracted shoppers, working to differentiate these brands to claim a bigger share of the multibillion dollar hair care market. And competition is heating up in the hair care sector. So what are the strategies that can help established brands defend—and even expand—their turf on crowded shelves?

Recent relaunches appear to have diverged along three lines in striving to distinguish brands. One direction focuses on packaging that reflects an upscale, premium image. A second direction emphasizes feminine design cues for a category that is driven by female consumers, and a third targets teens and twenty-somethings by utilizing brilliant, eye-catching color.
Going Upscale

PZ Cussons, Joico Laboratories and ThermaFuse have created packages that illustrate effective methods in communicating an upscale message—and have also improved functionality.

In Europe, PZ Cussons strikes a premium note with its new packaging, an upright tapering shape. In addition to the new shape, the company added functionality with a smooth front panel complemented by textured side surfaces that enhance handling when wet. And while not mass-market, Joico Laboratories unveiled one of the category’s bolder shapes for its line of professional products, which are also sold to consumers through salons and beauty supply stores. The sleek, tower-shaped bottles are sloped on one side and pinched at the bottom, giving the packaging a contemporary wing-like form. Similar innovation is found in salon-focused Thermafuse, which is now packaged in a unique three-sided bottle in a range of soft earth tones.

LPK (Libby Perszyk Kathman) was involved with the restaging of Pantene Pro-V, a global billion dollar mass-merchandise brand. That process provides some insight into the importance that Pantene placed on using innovations in design to establish a premium aesthetic while aiding in the shopping process.