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Take Your Color Business to the Next Level

By: Alisa Marie Beyer
Posted: March 22, 2013, from the April 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

For most beauty industry insiders, consumer product testing is one of those understood must-do’s before a brand (chiefly skin care) is fully ready to enter the market and begins to build a loyal following. And considering that 95% of new product launches fail each year, it’s easy to understand why testing is so critical to both product and brand success.

However, as consumers continue to gain knowledge and sophistication about the kinds of changes beauty products can—and cannot—bring to the skin, they are casting a more critical eye on product claims, and importantly, they are expecting not just their skin care to bring product testing claims to the table, but makeup and color cosmetic products as well.

More Than Just a Pretty Face

So, you are a beauty brand with a complete portfolio of cosmetic products in dozens of pretty colors and shades. Why should you invest in consumer product testing?

Beyond this testing giving you intimate access to your target consumer, testing your products also will give you the opportunity to garner powerful testimonials, such as “I absolutely adored this lipstick. It really lasted for a full five hours, through drinks, having dinner and even a good-night kiss at my door!”—which can be used across all platforms: packaging, marketing, social media, and on and on.

But potentially even bigger than testimonials are the consumer usage claims that are born via the product testing process—claims that can be used to leverage and secure your position in-market with consumers and the industry alike.

For example, where in the past color cosmetic brands were able to get away with uninteresting generic claims such as “long-lasting wear” or “fade-proof”—which don’t tell a compelling story or engage the consumer—now brands are raising the bar with far more specific claims, such as “24-hour cream gel shadow,” “8-hour lip color” or “10-day wear.”

Also, color brands are beginning to offer clinical claims such as, “In one week, 88% had smoother lips.” It may seem like a small point of difference, but when it comes to consumers’ reasons for choosing one shade of pink lipstick over another, the beacon consumers are flocking toward is validated proof, and that proof is the point of difference that puts the odds in your favor.

Tell a More Colorful Story

Additionally, as more and more beauty brands and products flood the market and vie for space on already overcrowded shelves, isolating your brand’s point of difference is becoming critical. Trouble is, creating that point of difference is becoming equally as challenging. Ingredients, technologies and breakthroughs are alarmingly similar, and everyone is turning to the same pool of innovation for points of differentiation.

Add to this the fact that innovations for color products have historically always lagged behind skin care anyway, and it quickly becomes very obvious why testing of color cosmetic products is a key strategy to ensure your new color product truly stands out against today’s stiff competition.

Like the elements of a great movie or your favorite best seller, the information gleaned from a consumer product test lets your brand tell a better product story. Will that lipstick really last for 2,000 kisses? Does your lip gloss truly keep a mirror shine for 18 hours? These are the kind of exciting, unique points of difference that consumers are seeking and want to hear, so tell them!

Not so long ago, the biggest difference between one lipstick brand and another was shade range or texture. Consumers also weren’t looking for the same level of performance from their color cosmetic products as from their eye creams and anti-aging serums. Now all of that has changed, and consumers expect their makeup to offer additional benefits to their skin beyond just color.

Product testing on your color cosmetic offerings provides the platform to tell your story in a bold, impactful, compelling way that will catch her attention and keep her loyalty. You already think your products are unlike any others. Tests will give you the proof.

Show Your True Colors

Finally, consumer product testing just makes sense—and cents. Although the economy is seeing an uptick, financial concerns and budgeting are still very much top of mind for the majority of consumers, and discretionary spending is still being considered carefully and thoughtfully. In addition to wanting color cosmetic products that deliver more than just color, consumers are seeking reasons to not only believe in your brand but to keep believing in your brand on a repeat basis. The claims garnered during product testing can provide your brand with just such a difference.

It's About the Economics!

You might be familiar with the three elements of color selection: regulations, stability and esthetics but what about economics? Chapter Five of Coloring the Cosmetic World: Using Pigments in Decorative Cosmetic Formulations will give you insight into the most economical way to reach the color point in a decorative cosmetic product line.

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