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Relevant and Compelling

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: June 7, 2011, from the June 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

The success of beauty brands entering or expanding their presence in today’s market depends on capturing the attention of target consumers. And, according to Alisa Marie Beyer in The Claim Game, claims still speak volumes to consumers. Claims are front and center, Beyer wrote, but many of these claims are very similar. Impactful claims influence a consumer’s spend; therefore, they must be compelling. Consumers expect claims to be more than empty marketing speak, and a claim that truly connects with target consumers’ needs and concerns keeps them excited and willing to purchase. In short, claims must also be “real.”

Unique Selling Propositions

Many claims are based on the products’ inclusion of the latest and greatest ingredients and technologies and leave out unique selling propositions (USPs)—those stories that have the potential to connect with target consumers at a deeper level. The key is utilizing both in the brand message while, again, avoiding empty marketing speak. “[Technical claims and USPs] should be working in tandem,” says Karen Young, founder and CEO of The Young Group. “There’s so much hype out there, it’s tough to know what the real story is. Hyperbolic claims are self-defeating.”

As the list of performance claims continues to grow longer—even for products that are, at their heart, basic—and multitasking products continue to become more popular in certain consumer groups, how does a brand owner unearth their true USP?

“Authenticity plays a key role,” says Liz Grubow, vice president and group creative director of LPK Beauty. “It is not just about the claim, but why does she believe the brand has the ability to deliver on it. Why was your brand created in the first place, what consumer need or desire was satisfied? Leaning into a brand’s history and being true to what the brand stands for is key in communicating performance, expertise and value in the tone of voice that is unique to your brand and believable to your consumer.”

Being True to Brand DNA

There’s no denying a compelling claim is key to connecting with a consumer, but making a claim that’s not true to the brand’s DNA is a poor choice for a brand’s long-term prospects.