Power of Connection: winning the beauty contest

In the fifth of our category-specific investigations, we explore effective touchpoint management for personal care and beauty brands.
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Caroline Schicketanz

Product Development Director, Insights Division

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In no other category do aesthetics in advertising play such a big role as personal care and beauty. The images spring readily to mind – the magazine ad of a perfectly made up women’s face showcasing the latest nuances of a lipstick, or a TV ad telling the romantic story of a majestically dressed couple attracted by the seductive odour of a new perfume. But is this everything you need to create long-lasting consumer impact? Kantar’s research shows it is the right mix of content and context that wins the crown in this particular contest.

Beauty is the right content in the right context

Among paid media, TV ads have been the well-established beauty queen in this category for a while: the share of spend for TV ads is more than 30% higher than in other categories. This does deliver strong absolute return on all brand metrics, but it comes with a flaw. TV’s contribution has very low cost-efficiency, largely due to excessive frequency. In contrast, magazine ads, perhaps seen as the ‘eternal second’ in this touchpoint beauty contest, deliver strongly cost-effective impact, particularly in building image associations and motivating purchase. Magazines are the perfect platform for high quality static imagery alongside other related content.

The social media boom of the last decade has obviously made competition in the media beauty contest even fiercer. So far, we have seen mixed performance among personal care and beauty brands: some brands struggle to generate positive impact whereas others – those who are more socially fluent and able to customise their content to different contexts - can see very strong returns.

Our recommendations to win the crown? It’s not one individual touchpoint but the right content in the right context across touchpoints. Well-integrated multimedia campaigns that fit different contexts, from TV to print, OOH, digital and point of sale formats, are likely to deliver better returns across all levels of the purchase funnel. Most importantly, they need a consistent look and feel that is combined with consistent messaging.

Let me share with you a beauty category fairy tale that came true. Nivea Cellular Anti-Age was launched in Australia, needing to establish awareness, consideration and trial of the new variant, as well as pushing their skincare credentials and establishing a point of difference. The campaign was developed to have one central “cellular” theme, with consistent key visuals across point of sale, TV, magazines and social content driving synergies. Kantar CrossMedia research showed that TV worked individually to build awareness, but multimedia effects across TV, magazines, point of sale and Facebook were needed to build brand perceptions and boost consideration, with each individual media playing a specific role in the purchase journey. The synergistic approach resulted in the highest return of investment of all Nivea campaigns measured. Quite a success story, right?

Keep it balanced and personal

Well-integrated media campaigns can certainly help outperform competitors, but ongoing positive personal experiences with a brand are needed to win the consumers’ attention and hearts in the long run.

Personal care and beauty brands need to balance offline and online experience very carefully. Brands should showcase their future-orientation by keeping up with virtual experiences, like virtual makeup apps, and online tutorials. At the same time, consumers will still want to interact with brands in real-life, and many will continue to seek advice and recommendations from sales experts in-store. Even new Direct to Consumer brands will embrace this via pop-up shops and innovative retail approaches. To remain relevant, personal care and beauty brands will need to invest in multimedia marketing that guides consumers seamlessly from online to offline experiences and back.

In a nutshell, the right touchpoint mix in this category needs to be planned and executed as thoroughly as the artful and eye-pleasing visuals which they will likely feature. The right balance of content across a variety of contexts is needed for personal care and beauty brands to win the crown.

For your own copy of the full personal care and beauty touchpoint analysis, please complete the download form below.

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