When we think of beauty, images of heavily made-up women and glossy photos come to mind. But when you scratch beneath the surface, you see that it’s a business. And like all businesses, there are codes and rules that will ensure it’s success or failure. But, sometimes, these businesses think their immune to them. After all, they appeal to a different, more aspirational mindset. So much of beauty sells dreams, not functions. Right?
But these dreams or aspirations are damn important! So if a business doesn’t figure out how people tick, what they aspire to be and where they shop, and where they actually live, then it’s all for nothing.
A recent article revealed this loud and clear. It compares the success of Estee Lauder and L’Oreal vs the increasing sales demise of P&G beauty brands. Without repeating the whole article, the gist is that the former both recognize that different customer segments need different products for their skin and beauty needs. That’s a marketing 101 rule, right? And they continued to evolve as the trends and their segments’ needs changed. This meant major purchases of brand or lots of effort paid to R&D.
The other major difference is that L’Oreal, in particular, made great strides in creating critical distribution channels to appeal to new customs (e.g., African consumers) and new outlets like salons.
While these business rationales make perfect sense, I want to add another element. The brands take beauty seriously, I mean really seriously. Estee Lauder and L’Oreal create beautiful communications around their brands, recognize their customers really care about the science of their products, and is focused SOLELY on beauty. We pick up on that. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we want to believe that the companies behind our products are just as — or even more passionate — about what they create and market to us.
Passion. That’s the key to serious business.