Expert's Opinion

The Consumer Trendscape

By Cheryl Swanson, Toniq | February 11, 2010

Cheryl Swanson of Toniq shares trends and insights relevant to the Household and Personal Products Industry.

Starting in 2010, we at Toniq are cleansing our palettes of the negative fear-based thinking that permeated (much of) 2009. Societally speaking, we are poised to look towards the future, craving stability, comfort and a sense of renewal. (That H1N1 fear subsided pretty quickly, no?)

The consumer trendscape for 2010 reflects this positive change and runs the gamut from skin care advances to Fun-Frugality. In each of my Expert's Opinion columns, I will outline a trend relevant to HBA and include ideas to help you apply this thinking to your brand.

Personal care marketers beware

Personal care marketers like P&G, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive need to be prepared for the oncoming consumer rejection of parabens, petroleum, ammonium sulfates and other chemical "baddies" as they did with trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup and MSG in packaged and fast foods.

Once the social networks are mobilized against these ingredients, companies need to be ready with natural and efficacious alternatives. As fast fooders from McDonald's to Taco Bell have been compelled to post ingredients and caloric totals, while developing more balanced menus, so too will personal care brands be forced to heed the growing consumer demand for transparency, accurate labeling, resourcing data, efficacy claims, etc., while true organics will continue to gain market share.

As reported on this site, even the organic sector of the market is imposing tighter restrictions.

“Brands that are using the word organic improperly should be on notice that USDA enforcement is imminent,” according to Ronnie Cummins, executive director of the Organic Consumers Association.

The take away? Be transparent and leverage honest ingredients in your products. Heck, the McDonald’s around the corner is now plastered with fruit graphics. How can you apply this real-ness to your brands?

About the Author
Cheryl Swanson founded Toniq ( after leading several design firms to world-class status with her emotions-based, visual approach to brand strategy development. At Toniq, she continues to evolve her strategic expertise by seeking new ways to connect with consumers.

Swanson’s years of trend tracking, design management and research have coalesced in a theory of Brand Effervescence™ an innovative approach to brand building. This image-based approach is a synthesis of cultural anthropology, consumer trends research, marketing and design, and a study of the psychology of symbolism and color.

Toniq has used this process successfully for leading consumer packaged goods product development, retail and on-line brands, including: Target, Unilever, Lycos, Kraft Foods, Gillette, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Pepsi, Con Agra, and Nestle Purina to create or redefine brand personalities and visual positioning recommendations for new products and established brands.