The total value of the BrandZ Personal Care Top 15 has increased +1% in the last year, as brands tackled challenges including disruption from new niche brands, currency fluctuations, and pressured margins owing to couponing and price promotion. The sector’s total brand value remained unchanged between 2015 and 2016.
In a commoditized category with extensive choice, brands attempted to differentiate themselves by responding to more diverse needs and ideas of beauty with personalized products and customized advice. L’Oréal, for example, launched its True Match range of 33 foundations at the Golden Globe Awards. Brands also aligned themselves with customers’ values. The Strong is Beautiful campaign from Pantene Pro-V (+5%), featuring martial artist Ronda Rousey among others, continues to celebrate diversity and the idea that beauty is more than skin deep, while Shiseido reinforced its purpose and reputation as a brand that does right by its customers and its employees. In the US, Dove (+6%) employed political satire in its Alt Facts campaign, which listed ‘alt facts’ about its deodorant such as its ability to increase the user’s IQ.
Many brands sought to expand their reach by extending their appeal, diversifying into new sub-categories and targeting new audiences. For instance Lancôme, a classic brand generally preferred by an older audience, introduced Juicy Shaker lip gloss to appeal to younger women, while Gillette (-1%) developed products aimed at the growing older consumer demographic.
As consumers became less brand-loyal, and social media became even more influential, beauty brands took steps to become more customer-focused. L’Oréal Paris, for example, teamed with five online beauty bloggers in the UK to form the L’Oréal Beauty Squad, with the aim of forging deeper connections. Brands used technology innovation to make consumers’ lives better and improve product accessibility: L’Oréal Paris and Lancôme both developed ways for consumers to buy directly from a mobile ad, blog or YouTube tutorial, for instance.
The BrandZ Personal Care Top 15 are facing threats from innovative niche start-ups, such as Too Faced, which are benefiting from people’s willingness to switch brands and have the ability to move nimbly and meet expectations of greater personalization. Local brands such as Boots No.7 (UK), Wardah (India), Avene (France), Fair and Lovely (India) and O Boticário (Brazil), along with retailers’ own brands, also pose a threat to global brands due to their precise understanding of local needs.