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From Concept to Market with ICMAD

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | September 30, 2009

Learn about the key factors to ensure a successful launch and beyond.

When it comes to beauty, it’s all about innovation, development and distribution. No wonder then, that the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD) special workshop, “ICMAD: Building Your Company from Concept to Market: How to Develop, Nuture and Grow Your Brand,” attracted a big crowd during HBA Global Expo.

Here's what you need to know in order to get the customer to try and buy.
ICMAD’s mission is to represent, foster and educate the growth and profitability of entrepreneurial companies in the cosmetic and personal care industries worldwide. This year, the non-profit trade association took conference attendees through the steps of building a brand from a fabulous launch to enduring relevance and success on the store shelves. Moderated by Pamela Viglielmo, owner, The Gramercy House, and vice president and education committee chair, ICMAD, the event featured a variety of personal care product staples as examples of concept-to-market success.

Kendra Kolb Butler, vice president of marketing and communications, MD Skincare LLC, opened the conference with a presentation on four critical steps for a successful product rollout:

• Target Your Customer
• Develop Your Story and Point of Difference
• Launch Your Product and
• Maintain the Momentum

“We live in the age of internet technology; as marketers, we are so lucky!” exclaimed Ms. Kolb Butler. She noted that companies have more forums (such as social networks and chat rooms) to understand their demographic.

Kelly Kovack, principal founder, Purpose-Built LLC, offered an alternate view on how to take a look at your brand and see any possible weaknesses. Identifying the “intangible assets” of your products and connecting to the consumer are both key, according to Ms. Kovack. As for the tangible, such as packaging, “your box is your billboard,” said Ms. Kovack. Color, copy, components and the logo are all important “packaging levers” to a winning product.

And then there’s the topic of brand longevity. Kiehl’s should know, as the company has been in business since 1851! Cammie Canella, vice president, global education and consumer reforms, explained how “core values” such as science and service help make or break a brand.

Alison Raffaelle, founder/president, skin care/cosmetics company Alison Raffaelle LLC, also presented at the session. Her section was a case study on how to keep your product relevant and ahead of the beauty curve. Realizing her passion for beauty at a young age, Ms. Raffaele experimented with looks and crafted her early technique behind the makeup counter of the family business, Raffaele’s Pharmacy. She later on worked as Bobbi Brown’s head assistant and as her first national makeup artist/international trainer.

Ms. Raffaele’s own client list includes such celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Giselle Bundchen to name a few. In 2000 she launched her first brand, Skin Alison Raffaele; in February 2008, Ms. Raffaele launched the evolution of her brand with the paraben-free Alison Raffaele Cosmetics line. Ahead of the beauty curve, indeed.

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