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'Own' brands can help make chains a beauty destination.

Global retailers long ago recognized the enormous potential for creating differentiation and loyalty with consumers by leveraging their "own" private brands. The potential for higher margins while offering consumers better value creates a win-win situation.

As many consumer insights studies have shown, consumer adoption of private brands typically is easier with nonemotional categories such as paper and plastic and becomes more difficult with emotional categories such as baby and beauty. The barrier to entry in beauty suggests a need for an exclusive, innovative private brand choice to attract consumers and earn their trust.

Beauty can be a challenge, since there is constant change in the beauty space with the introduction of new brands, new line extensions, new ingredients and new technologies, which is complicated by multiple channels of trade, from prestige and mass to direct-to-consumer, online and more.

All of these choices can often be confusing for consumers who are no longer sure of what makes sense for them to buy. Additionally, consumers are not as brand loyal as they have been in past years, but instead are now addicted to innovation that helps them in their search for solutions. The "hope in a jar" phenomenon goes beyond skin care into multiple beauty categories.

To address this challenge, European retailers have created a "house of exclusive beauty brands," such as Boots and Superdrug in the United Kingdom, Migros in Switzerland, Carre-four in France, and Mercadona in Spain.

These beauty space leaders are offering exciting, exclusive product lines that are first-to-market but are also affordable. Savvy shoppers get it and respond by devoting a greater share of wallet to these retailers.

This past year U.S. retailers have increased their exclusive beauty brand development with different strategies, including the six that follow.

International leverage

Walgreen Co. began the year by launching the Boots No7 brand in all of its flagship stores and extending the Boots brands throughout the year into additional formats.

Taking best practices tips from the Alliance Boots playbook, Walgreens invested in a full merchandising campaign and beauty adviser support to ensure success for the Boots No7 brand.

New items in current category

CVS/pharmacy continues to support its proprietary brand, Nuance, with 23 innovative line extensions in the current categories of hair care and skin care.

These new products provide an opportunity for new beauty consumers to discover the brand or for current users to try new formulations. Each new item has a natural ingredient that drives the reason to believe.

Moreover, CVS has provided additional marketing communication support focusing on the compelling natural ingredient story.

Essence of Beauty, another CVS private beauty brand, was restaged in late 2013 with new packaging, on-trend complex fragrances and a new marketing campaign. This beauty brand has been a successful and affordable bath and body brand that originally offered consumers an alternative to the more expensive national brand products.

New items in new category

Target Stores has been a longtime innovator in the beauty space, and has always been willing to try new beauty brands and concepts. Target's first and longest-standing designer-collaborator, Sonia Kashuk, began working with the retailer in 1999 and launched a successful makeup artist brand that was expanded in November 2013.

The new 24-SKU bath and body collection includes body butter, hand cream, shower gel and perfume available in four scents: Red Promisia, Purple Seductia, Pink Innocencia and Yellow Alluriana.

The line ranges in price from $4.99 to $19.99 for an eau de toilette.

Building on ingredient trend

Argan oil is one of the hottest ingredient trends in beauty. A global trend that started in the prestige beauty class of trade with the Moroccan Oil salon brand has exploded into brands, line extensions and new products.

Launched exclusively at Rite Aid Corp. this June, the Oil Essentials brand from Emilia Personal Care is a total solution product line of six luxurious multipurpose beauty oils for hair, face and body.

The Oil Essentials product line is made with natural and sustainable blends of eco-certified essential oils and fortified with an advanced antiaging Luxmeadow E complex. The line is also free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates and synthetic colors. This line appeals to women of all ages.

Walmart launched a premium, natural product line in the sun care category called Safe Harbor. This line builds on the natural trend and consumer desire for multiple product benefits.

Available starting in the 2014 summer season, this brand breaks through the sun care brand and private brand clutter to provide an affordable mineral-based antiaging complex alternative.

Safe Harbor's broad-spectrum sunscreen line is free from chemical UV filters, is rich in antioxidants and other natural nutrients, and contains certified organic ingredients. Safe Harbor is also hypoallergenic and paraben free and is not tested on animals.

Mainstreaming prestige

In March 2014 Target once again broke traditional barriers by executing a new beauty strategy to appeal to its diversified guest population.

Bringing in prestige beauty brands that already enjoy consumer awareness and sales and making them available at a more affordable price point has been an effective strategy for the company.

One such brand, Carol's Daughter, has been on the market for 20-plus years and boasts an almost cult-like following. Target launched it both in-store and online with 21 hair care SKUs ranging in price from $9 to $15.

Target will be the exclusive retailer to carry the Carol's Daughter Sacred Tiare collection, which is designed to simultaneously stop breakage and smooth frizz, and features sulfate-free shampoo, fortifying conditioner, hair mask, leave-in conditioner, styling cream and smoothing serum.

Products in the line range from $12 to $15.

Use influencer marketing

Ongoing marketing is pivotal for exclusive beauty brands to drive awareness and trial to new and current users.

Originally launched in 2012, the b-leve beauty brand is found in such fine grocery retailers as Giant Eagle, Spartan, Stater Bros, Big Y, Hy Vee and Cobom.

In 2014 the beauty advisers at Giant Eagle, who are true brand advocates for the b-leve brand, executed a successful sampling and gift-with-purchase promotion. With a product range including hair care, face care, bath and body, and beauty tools and bath accessories, there is a lot to talk about. Beauty mavens are believers in b-leve as a multibenefit beauty brand, and they continue to try new products in the 100-SKU line.

Creating a convincing consumer choice in beauty has to go beyond national-brand-equivalent products and into more premium offerings. Many retailers in the United States have started this brand development with different strategies.

The white space for beauty is very individual and expands beyond basic essentials. The key for U.S. drug retailers is to create a destination or collection of exclusive beauty brands that meet the needs of a broad range of consumers, particularly women, and yet remain true to their distinctive retail positioning in the marketplace.

Continuous innovation and marketing support for these brands is the final essential ingredient for long-term success.

Laureen Schroeder is the global director for health, beauty and baby at Daymon Worldwide. She can be contracted at
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Title Annotation:PERSPECTIVES: FRONT END: TSE 2014
Author:Schroeder, Laureen
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Aug 25, 2014
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