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Specific Needs Drive Technology

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

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Stylists make recommendations based on personalized regimens; brands understand this and add value to products by tailoring to individual needs. “Products designed for specific needs—such as color care, curly, straight and volume-specific formulas—are driving the technology,” said Van Stamey, CEO, ThermaFuse. Additionally, trends create the need for fresh offerings that appeal to the short attention span of the consumer.

The Need for Fresh

Today’s transient culture has evolved into a brand-agnostic society, and, as a result, products have a short life cycle. According to the Natural Marketing Institute, consumer brand loyalty was down from 51% in 2005 to 44% in 2006. Consumers are more willing to try new products, particularly those perceived as the most innovative or coolest offerings.

“A demonstration of the power of brand-agnostic status can be seen in retailers such as Pac Sun, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Sephora, which experienced double-digit sales growth in 2006,” said Maryellen Molyneaux of the Natural Marketing Institute. “They are able to adapt to the changing trends of consumers with a strategy that protects them against brands that fall out of favor.”
This sense of consumer adventure can translate into increased retail business if a salon keeps its offerings fresh. To find novel products, salons turn to the brands with technically savvy innovations.

“As marketers, we strive to find the balance between the technical discussions for the stylists and the product and lifestyle conversations that appeal to the consumer,” said Green. “When we are successful in communicating both of these directions, we can fully arm the stylists with the tools and communication materials they need to enhance both their service business and their retail business.”

New technologies, including active ingredients and delivery systems, play a part in how products perform to meet consumer needs. Brands use these advances as criteria in determining the course for further development. Additionally, these product choices must pay tribute to consumer needs as well as a particular salon’s menu, allowing the stylist to offer the product in conjunction with a service.