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Consumer-driven Change

By: Alexandra Voigt
Posted: June 22, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The company has also begun doing significant sampling, allowing consumers to try products and see for themselves the moisturizing benefits of the line. The company has put the power back in the hands of the consumer by investing in them first.

Mixed Chicks, too, is utilizing consumer opinion and demand to drive marketing. The company is based on the principle of consumer demand, starting with the wants and needs of the creators themselves. For founders Wendy Levy and Kim Etheredge, the creation of Mixed Chicks was not based on sales projections or market research; it was purely personal. Neither Levy nor Etheredge were from the beauty industry, but they shared a common problem—how to control and style their curly hair. Levy had created her own blend of roughly 10 different products to achieve the style she wanted, while Etheredge was constantly on the lookout. Levy notes, “We created Mixed Chicks for ourselves and our friends based on what works for us. We saw a product, then found a market.”

The needs of the consumer base (the brand driver) were also the foundation of the marketing strategy. Rather than creating full-sized products, the brand utilized samples and word-of-mouth to create buzz. Leveraging Etheredge’s public relations connections, Mixed Chicks received a major boost when celebrities began mentioning the product in magazine interviews. “Tracee Ellis Ross mentioned that she used and loved the product, and Halle Berry listed it as one of her beauty must-haves,” says Levy.

In addition to the celebrity buzz, Levy attributes the brand’s success to the fact that the brand is not marketed to any one specific audience. “The world is mixed. This product is for anyone with curly hair. The name helped with brand identity. People can relate to us and that’s why they love the product.”

Natural Demand

Consumer demand for products with more natural and organic ingredients also among the drivers of change in the ethnic hair care market. Crème of Nature had been working on incorporating more natural and organic ingredients into the brand for some time, so the new emphasis on natural and organic in the marketplace was helpful for the campaigns to support that brand effort.