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By: Jeff Falk
Posted: March 8, 2011, from the March 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.
page 3 of 6
GCI: What role does formula customization play in creating strong consumer/brand connections? Are you working on these customizations with addressing a need (addressing split ends, for example) in mind or with serving a consumer type in mind?
Soontjens: In some markets, brand loyalty is minimal, and that points out a strong need for directly addressing consumer needs. Lack of brand loyalty may occur in developing or emerging markets, where products are not sophisticated or highly differentiated. In this case, some consumers switch brands because they are trying to find the "perfect" product. Brand switching can also happen when consumers feel they need to make periodic changes because their hair becomes overly accustomed to a single product, which they perceive doesn't perform as well over time.
As products become more sophisticated and tailored to individual needs or preferences, one might expect consumers to show greater brand loyalty because of better performance. So yes, Dow Corning definitely focuses on customizations based on specific needs. Because many specialty silicones are multifunctional, that's a significant advantage for us. We can provide formulators with materials that offer combinations of mild to intense conditioning, shine, improved combing, moisturizing, color and heat protection, enhanced strength, or volume. Within that framework, we make certain we guide our customers in selecting the right silicone-based solutions for their applications and economic considerations. If we can help our customers develop successful products that motivate brand loyalty, we've served not only those customers, but consumers as well.
GCI: What has been the most dramatic impact of e-commerce on supplier/brand owner partnerships? How has it affected already global brands - is there a new paradigm for reaching and serving global markets/consumers?
Bausch: From a [brand owner's] perspective, e-commerce has reshaped the supplier/customer relationship by allowing suppliers to become valued business partners through increased efficiency and convenience.