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The Imperative Relevance of Ethnic Hair Care

By: Liz Grubow and Elle Morris
Posted: June 22, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Hair care continues to dominate the ethnic beauty market, owning 56% of ethnic-specific sales in 2009. However, these rising sales figures do not reflect satisfaction within the market. In fact, they seem to indicate the opposite. There is little satisfaction with hair care and beauty products. Ethnic consumers are more likely to purchase many different products in an effort to find one that is effective. According to the Essence Smart Beauty Panel, women of color want a brand they can trust, that reflects their own personal style, offers high-quality ingredients and actually works to address their specific needs.

In 2015, ethnic consumers will account for more than 120 million people in the U.S., and brand marketers must anticipate and embrace the needs and changing dynamic of this beauty consumer to be successful. This will require a more intimate understanding of exactly who this consumer is, how she thinks, what is important to her in terms of values and community, and how that relates to her hair care regimen. Once brand marketers understand who this consumer is, they can begin to shape a product vitally relevant to her life.

Liz Grubow is vice president and group creative director of LPK Beauty. In her 20-plus-year career, Grubow has helped develop and manage brand identity programs for some of the world’s most successful beauty brands—including Pantene, Olay, MAX Factor International and Cover Girl.

Elle Morris is the vice president and general manager of LPK Beauty, overseeing its general business management and serving as chief customer officer. She provides strategic oversight on businesses in the categories of hair care, feminine care and beauty. Morris has worked with partners in North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe to develop an understanding of beauty’s power across cultures.