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Marketing Matters: Defining Brand Traits

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: August 7, 2007, from the August 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 4 of 4

To further enhance the brand expression and to relate more directly with its target consumer, Herbal Essences was segregated into 10 collections of products based on end results, with evocative descriptors such as Body Envy, Dangerously Straight or Totally Twisted. Each collection was identified by a bright, vivid color that distinguishes all of the products in that collection.

Color also played a part in helping the brand deliver in unexpected ways to “delight” the consumer. One such strategy uses an unanticipated color interaction between the bottle and the product. In the Body Envy collection, for example, the bottle appears orange but is actually a color fusion of yellow product and translucent magenta bottle. When the product is dispensed, it provides consumers with a fun, surprising experience.

The previous packaging presented other challenges as well. The bottle was a dated shape, heavily influenced by old-fashioned apothecary glass and out of step with contemporary women. The overall silhouette also had round shoulders and a mushroom cap that suffered in consumer comparisons with the competition’s integrated caps.

Therefore, shape was identified as a powerful packaging asset for signaling a fundamentally new brand to Herbal Essences’ target, and was given significant consideration during redesign. The final design was a curved feminine-inspired shape that created a nested shelf pairing of shampoo and conditioner, which visually suggested using the product in tandem. This complementary shape integration was accomplished in a cost effective manner by adding an integrated two-color toggle cap that allowed the same bottle to be used upright for the shampoo and upside down for the conditioner.

Whether premium, feminine or youth-oriented, all of these recent restagings underscore the increasing importance of distinguishing a brand in a crowded marketplace. That challenge will only be magnified as new brands continue to enter the market and existing brands expand their offerings.