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Addressing Desires of Target Consumers Through Ingredients

By: Abby Penning
Posted: July 9, 2012, from the August 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.
  • Beauty ingredients can often satisfy a range of different consumers—it’s just about how they are used and presented, as well as what claims are played up.
  • The global marketplace has made ingredients more international, meaning beauty brands would do well to learn about the ingredients that are hot in other parts of the world.
  • Personalization is a continuing trend in beauty and has even reached ingredients, although much of that personalization is from a good understanding of the desire of a beauty product’s target consumer.

Ingredients in beauty products used to be more mysterious. These days, however, the great equalizer of the Internet has given an instant information outlet to any consumers curious about the ingredients in their favorite moisturizer or hair spray or eyeliner. Beyond simply leading to increased interest in beauty ingredients and how they work, this has led to the need for beauty brands to carefully consider the message certain ingredients can convey about a product, as well as what the story the ingredients themselves can tell.

Christophe Toumit, marketing manager, personal care brands, Croda, explains, “We approach our [beauty brand] customers with solutions to their problems with a focus on the benefit of the ingredient. Some of our ingredients have multiple benefits, so we can tell more than one story to our customers.” Because, more and more, the ingredients are required to tell the beauty story. “It’s about understanding our ingredients well enough to know where they might benefit a product targeted at a specific customer or market need,” explains Anu Desikan, global marketing manager for personal care, Clariant. And Toumit notes, “Whether the market area already exists or you are uncovering a new niche, you must always start from the consumers’ point of view and address what they need and want.”

Same Ingredients, Different Consumers

A great many beauty ingredients offer more than one claim or benefit, meaning they can tell different stories or be used to market different ways. “We do have different ingredients that are set to target specific market segments, but many of them also can be used in a variety of different applications to help create the best end result,” says Desikan. “Our innovative ingredients help customers tailor their products to meet the needs of the demographic they want to target, whether that is the youth market or for baby products or anti-aging.”

“Croda covers the whole age spectrum from advanced anti-aging ingredients, mainly sold under the Sederma division, to ingredients for babies, such as mild emollients for a baby’s sensitive skin,” Toumit says. “And as manufacturers of finished products target different demographics in their marketing plans, Croda offers ingredients that can support the claimed benefits for these products.”

Moving ingredients from segment to segment or region to region does require work, however. “Certain ingredients, such as skin or hair care actives, may support specific benefits, but consumers may not always be familiar with the ingredient itself,” says Toumit, and TRI-K marketing manager Rebecca Morton notes that age ranges can be targeted, in addition to specific product claims. “Our range of specialty and active ingredients can be targeted to specific cosmetic products, but overall, they are suitable for all ages and segments,” she says. “We do have actives that can be more targeted with age specifics in mind, such as our Glossamer ingredient that may be used in formulating lip gloss or our Fision Lift for anti-aging products, but we can custom tailor the actives based on what the customer wants to target.”

Ingredients can also be discussed quite differently when they are incorporated in products for women versus products for men. Morton explains, “We have a ingredient for sensitive skin called TRIglyphix Sense that helps reduce redness and irritation for skin, and can also be used for men and women shave products. The finished product for women might incorporate TRIglyphix Sense into a fruity olfactory gel, while the men’s product might feature a foamy cream with smells of cucumber and mint. You get the same active ingredient and the same benefit—irritation and redness reduction—but the finished products are targeted to very specific demographics. Knowing this gives us the chance to experiment with ingredients and find different ways for things to effectively work.” So the same ingredient is useful for different consumer segments, but it just has to be presented differently.