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“We’re Faster Now”: 2 Products Show Avon’s Evolution

Contact Author Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor in Chief, Global Cosmetic Industry
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  • In September 2018, Anna Chokina assumed the role of global vice president brand marketing for skin care and personal care for Avon.
  • Avon’s revamped Anew Vitamin C Brightening Serum comprises 10% vitamin C, with the marketing copy declaring the product “packed with as much vitamin C as in 30 oranges.”
  • Avon’s K-beauty collection featured ingredients such as chaga mushrooms and hydrogel.
  • Avon’s K-beauty collection featured the market’s signature “eye-catching designs” and included key K-beauty ingredients such as cica.
  • Avon’s K-beauty hydrogel masks are mesh-free to eliminate common tearing issues.

The beauty industry is changing quickly and a trio of recent product launches illustrate how Avon is reshaping itself to address those changes. Even before its recent acquisition by Natura, the company had begun adopting new processes and bringing in fresh ways of thinking.

In September 2018, Anna Chokina assumed the role of global vice president brand marketing for skin care and personal care for Avon. At the time, the company was struggling with massive shifts in consumer preferences, the fast beauty market and the impact of social selling innovators.

Chokina previously served as general manager of L’Oreal Paris’ Russian business, which was the country’s top digital beauty brand. Earlier in her career she held roles with Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, where she garnered feminine care and snack category experience, respectively.

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In an exclusive interview with Global Cosmetic Industry, Chokina noted that it was an ideal time for her category, particularly amidst a massive skin care boom: “It’s a great category to be in.”

At the same time, she said, inclusive strategies have improved options for consumers and created new market engagement for brands—a key component Avon is positioned to harness.

The “30 oranges” language was designed to address consumers’ embrace of superfoods and effective natural ingredients, as well as the rising demand for wellness lifestyle solutions.

Looking forward, Chokina said she viewed her role as an opportunity to open up Avon to 21st century social selling and to apply relevant external processes gleaned from her extensive consumer goods experience.

Finally, Chokina seeks to create and market innovation that turns every Avon representative into a skin care lover and advocate on social media.

In conversation, Chokina highlighted a pair of recent product innovations that shine a light on Avon’s next phase.

1. Anew Vitamin C Brightening Serum

The beauty market has become incredibly flexible and fast-moving, Chokina said, particularly with the rise of social media and social selling on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

This velocity was illustrated with the launch of Avon’s revamped Anew Vitamin C Brightening Serum. Avon pioneered the stabilization of the key ingredient in 1986 and launched stabilized vitamin C in a serum in 1999, said Chokina. The latest product comprises 10% vitamin C, with the marketing copy declaring the product “packed with as much vitamin C as in 30 oranges.”

The “30 oranges” language was designed to address consumers’ embrace of superfoods and effective natural ingredients, as well as the rising demand for wellness lifestyle solutions.

Chokina explained that global consumers quickly embraced the product due to social media reach. Products once took six or 12 months to receive gratification from the market, but consumer responses now move far faster, a huge plus for marketing.

2. K-beauty Collection

Chokina discussed the novel forms and textures that the rise of indie brands has rendered viable; such unique or niche offerings typically weren’t possible in a pre-social-media world. Today’s skin care market has therefore become much more open to trends from around the world, particularly Korea, as well as receptive to emerging innovations in areas such as CDB beauty.

“We’re faster now,” said Chokina.

At the same time, companies such as Avon are able to leverage global footprints (Russia, Brazil APAC, etc.) to quickly disseminate innovation.

Late last year, Avon partnered with Korean manufacturer Bonne to bring “innovative formulas and authentic ingredients to customers.” The result was the company’s debut K-beauty collection, which was rolled out in Russia, followed by additional European markets.

The co-development was part of Avon’s rethink of manufacturing and distribution, which includes seeking out external innovation when it aligns with brand strategy.

“We’re faster now,” said Chokina, noting that she has begun to see some development timelines shrink from 18 to as little as 12 months. The K-beauty launch moved even faster, moving from concept to market in seven months. 

Chokina concluded that she would like Avon to “become a rocket."

(That said, Chokina acknowledged that launches comprising new technical breakthroughs can require as much as two years of development to accommodate research and validation.)

The collection was made in Korea, featured the market’s signature “eye-catching designs,” and included key K-beauty ingredients such as cica, chaga mushrooms and hydrogel. The collection’s hydrogel masks are mesh-free to eliminate common tearing issues.

Chokina noted that the collection launched online only and represented a marriage of “science and fun,” turning the consumer conversation from “’I need’ to ‘I want.’”

Critically, the strategy captured 18 to 35 year old consumers. 

What’s Ahead

Chokina concluded that she would like Avon to “become a rocket,” in part by assembling a passionate team with the right skill sets. At the same time, the executive is seeking to marry fast beauty’s flexibility and Avon’s legacy of science to accelerate growth.

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