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Road to Relevancy: Sensory and Tactile Routes
By: Abby Penning
Posted: June 7, 2011, from the June 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.
page 4 of 5For Croda’s ingredient and product development, Moses explains, “After reviewing market trends and determining the trends we expect to see for an area in the future, we can synthesize a product based on our knowledge of the chemistries involved, and then we will conduct instrumental testing on the product. We also develop formulations, conduct focus groups and perform salon validation to ensure our products are relevant for consumers. Our focus is on creating products that deliver a consumer perceivable benefit—so from synthesis of new ingredients to our salon work, the needs of the end consumer are always foremost in our thoughts.”
All elements of a product need to be considered before any brand offering can make a significant impact in the marketplace though, and that means research and testing. Majeed notes that Sabinsa’s development process often involves R&D researchers, biologists, chemists, packaging designers, marketers, production staff and distributors to create “a 360-degree view of an ingredient’s life cycle and its impact. Our business development team works in cooperation with clients in personal grooming industries to understand and feel the pulse of the buyers, understand the preferences, attitudes and behaviors of end users, and help them develop messages and images that compel consumers to purchase these products. The team also tries to understand the dynamics of the market and identify potential partners. Additionally, the technical and regulatory teams provide market research and information on brand and product management in the hair care sector for facilitated and effective functioning of all the groups within the organization.”
Having a unique selling proposition that consumers equate with your brand is also important. “We want to create a different sensory and tactile experience for consumers with our products,” Durham explains. “It shouldn’t be gimmicky—our products need to be things consumers want to buy at the outset, and then want to buy again because of the benefits they provide.”
To help ensure its customers are getting the most of its products, Urban Therapy provides consumer education as part of its marketing efforts. “We’re developing our website to show a full list of what’s in each of our products, and then also provide an explanation of why those ingredients are in there,” says Durham. “Online, we want to have significant presence. As a small brand, we have to be innovative with our ingredients, our products, our packaging and with our marketing. Online, I feel like you can compete with any product. With some of the large, multinational beauty companies, we can’t compete with them in print ads, but if we make our online presence really great, we can look just as good as them and do every bit as well as they do.”
Tollerson agrees with the need to connect to consumers directly, discussing Creme of Nature’s online presence. “We talk to our customers a lot via social media, and they are very honest with what they need and are looking for in products through that,” she says. “It’s a very authentic conversation about what they like and don’t like, and is a great gateway to help us understand what consumers are looking for.” The Creme of Nature brand also recently began working with a dermatologist to help communicate with its customers. “Dr. Fran Cook-Bolden [a dermatologist] is an expert on hair and skin care for people of color, so we try to have her meet as many customers and answer as many questions as possible,” Tollerson says. The brand features this collaboration through its social media outlets and online videos, which are currently in development. “It’s an excellent way to provide consumers with education on the product,” Tollerson notes.
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