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Science with the Glamour: Ingredients' Brand Impact

By: Abby Penning
Posted: April 4, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The ingredient stories can be as varying and vast as the number of beauty ingredients themselves. “Since our ingredients provide a performance benefit that supports the promise of the product, we let our consumers know what each ingredient does,” says Bewley. “We also try not to hang our hat on just one ingredient in a product. The reality is that the performance of a product is rarely the result of just one ingredient. Instead, it is a complex formula where the synergy of ingredients are what delivers the result.”

Straight Talk

With all the great opportunities to include ingredient stories in product stories, brands also have to be smart about how they integrate and offer this message (or messages) to their customers. “Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about what goes on their skin, making communication easier about the science behind ingredients. Typically we seek to educate the consumer on where the ingredient comes from, the safety of the ingredient and what the ingredient does, which consumers can easily relate to,” says Wittenberg. “We focus on the ingredients that best support the product’s benefits.”

“You always have to tell the truth,” Bewley emphasizes. “The consumer wants a product that is going to solve a problem. Although the scientific information can be great to support a product’s claim, at the end of the day if the product doesn’t deliver on that promise then the consumer will be disappointed.” And Gabriele reiterates the importance of letting consumers know about the quality and effectiveness of a product and its ingredients. “Effectiveness is something that consumers are increasingly looking for as part of their skin and hair care regimens,” she says. “She may purchase a product once based on promotions, but she will not repurchase if she doesn’t perceive a benefit. And in the age of so much information readily available online, she may not even purchase initially if common opinion states that it is not effective.”

What is the best way to ensure a customer is getting the right message, however? “We have to speak more about the skin benefits instead of the mechanism of action or product origin or the different tests that shows the efficacy,” says Lacasse of Unipex’s approach. “We must speak the same language as the consumer, talking about ‘What does it give to the consumer?’ e.g., reduction of wrinkles, improvement of skin imperfections, prevention of sun burns—these types of claims.”

Rogers notes that at AkzoNobel, “We have taken an approach that involves a more graphic and pictorial explanation” to get the right message across, and Bewley says, “We provide Eufora stylists with extensive education that teaches them how to talk to their clients about the products in a way they understand. Since our products are salon professional, we always recommend explaining which products are right for the customer and why.”