Significant benefit segmentation of an existing product category is the No. 2 way to achieve news-making, successful introductions. The No. 1 way is to create a new category of business; i.e., Revlon Blush-on, the primer category and eyelash enhancers. The more news-making it is, the more that new product/category needs quick competitive introductions, preferably with “twists,” for the advertising and the education process to aid in building a consumer base.
All too often, we see that some companies, notably prestige, are embarrassed to copy lower-price products, regardless of their success. Often passed off as a fad or just unimportant, they miss out on a huge customer base of satisfied consumers, and an opportunity to expand their own consumer franchise. And while they dithered, Bare Escentuals used the No. 2 way to success—segmentation of an existing market—to build its staggering presence and “create” the minerals market, and along the way, expand the makeup user base. It was followed, again too slowly, by a slew of mass companies—closing the opportunity-door to traditional prestige distribution.
Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em
But what happens when a large segment of the population doesn’t really like the product, and one’s own product people and research say that it’s “too dry, too strong, or too anything?” When products fall into the love/hate category that should ring the “great opportunity” gong in your head. A prime and eternal example is Estée Lauder’s Youth Dew, which built an empire with enough people who simply loved it! Maybe that’s the reason that fragrance sales are down, fragrances are created via research numbers and not by passionate “noses.” Remember, both hate and love are wildly spread by the web. When Revlon introduced ColorStay lipstick in the 1990s it was hated by many marketing professionals. Despite its success, most every company that tested it discovered that testers didn’t like it. And you know how ColorStay re-built that company. The consumers who loved the wear found ways to offset the dryness, usually a gloss topcoat. Then, savvy followers created dual-type packaging to counter the dryness. All this in the face of the many who said that mass consumers will never go for a two-step product. The message here is throw out conventional/ traditional wisdom; really new benefits drive consumers—and they are the ones who build sustainable businesses.
So now we have Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm ($8.99) and Maybelline Colorsensational Lipstain ($6.99) versus CoverGirl Lipstain ($7.99-8.99), the product that (No. 2 above) successfully segmented the lip color category with a new look, and long wear story, supported by a new delivery system. Without competition, it has enjoyed its “hit” status, even though dryness is an issue. Here, glosses also came to the rescue. Now, as other “majors” finally enter the market, it behooves them to advance the benefits and expand the category that is still small—one company does not a category make. So here come the herds.But, only Revlon’s product includes a lip balm in the basic container, and thereby adds product satisfaction in use, high value, convenience and a 2-in-1 price! So here’s a rule to remember: When you are not No. 1 in introduction, include a real competitive, dissonance-making benefit. And, if the introductory product has some potential “hate-factors,” fix it when you first enter the market; increase the benefit factor.
TheAdAudit scores tell most of the story, but there are some significant plusses and minuses for discussion. The headline’s job is to target/excite the audience, and in the case of a still very new product category, build/educate the market to its unique benefits. Just stating the name of the product does not make for great or motivating headlines! When you are first, intrigue, excite, involve target (need/look) with emotion, and make sure that it’s readable! If you are a follower, add competitive advantage/ benefit. If you don’t have one or more, (perceivable/promotable), start over.
Although its total score (92.03) is excellent, Revlon’s“New Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm” Headline is the weakest segment of its audit, especially since its competitive-advantage balm is barely readable.For Maybelline, it’s just “the name is the headline,” with a subhead in barely readable type. CoverGirl’s headline is extremely weak, especially in view of the need to present its gloss news as a companion product:“2 steps to a 3-D lip look.”Process is not a benefit!
Visual Impact scores for both Revlon (96.30) and Maybelline (91.80) were in the powerful segment, with a real breakout for Revlon—an exciting visual projection of action, product and romance benefit, and shade selection. In terms of the battle of the celebrities, do you think that marketers believe that if“my celebrity has a higher‘Q’ rating,” that it is a competitive advantage?CoverGirl’s specific color and shine look (81.85) was focused more on the celebrity than the product, per se.
It is in the Copy segment that all three ads could have done a better job. None really did much to build the market—thereby mistakenly assuming that everyone knows all about generic lipstains. At least Revlon Just Bitten (89.80) is a good, beauty look-benefit name, but the ad should also project the quality of its new wear/feel benefits (to reach/convince the “haters”), and to create dissonance with the stains already on the market. Maybelline (78.60) does an effective job of describing the look and feel in small reverse type, but it says nothing about wear! Quick! Cover the product shot. You could use the very same copy for a sheer lipstick! And for its name, it would have been far better to have a competitive benefit word before the generic, Lipstain. Co- verGirl’s copy (62.38) describes the two-step process and benefits—nice words, but not much news. Consumer Appeal wraps it up with an improvement for CoverGirl (80.20) in that previous and current users will perceive the gloss benefit.
New business categories are not every day events, and they are certainly highly needed these days. To grow, they must be built with good targeting, real-benefit news, real and/or imagined, plus some emotion for icing. Think of the millions of new users growing into the beauty market each year! They must be educated and excited with products and looks to claim as their own. They will need to frame their own personal beauty imagery. Brand and product advertising should help that process. It’s vital that each brand do its own framing—don’t let the wild, wild web do it for you.
TheBrandAudit and TheAdAudit are Grayson Associates’ proprietary testing techniques to determine the success potential of new product concepts and execution, and print advertising—prior to approval. For both new and existing products and advertising, the audits analyze their strengths and weaknesses against key competition. TheBrandAudit “keys to success” are based upon analysis of Product, Positioning, Consumer Appeal, Competition and Marketing Potential. TheAdAudit measures Headline, Visual Impact, Copy and Consumer Appeal. TheBrand & AdAudit appears bi-monthly. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org