French women’s favourite selective make-up brands: their aspirational ranking

Promise Consulting Inc., a consulting and marketing research firm, specializing in the measurement of the “brand value” and one of its entities, Panel On The Web present the 8th part of their monthly barometer on the most desirable brands* in partnership with the Huffingtonpost.fr (*brands valued for their products or services but also their values, universe or their asserted cultural positions).
For this eighth edition, in addition to the desirability index of French women’s preferred selective make-up brands (12 retained in total), Promise Consulting Inc. and the Huffingtonpost.fr have also measured the reputation of these brands. A choice that is not trivial, at a time when a new EU regulation on cosmetics will be coming into force as of July 11 this year.
This study was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1012 people aged 18 and above, between 19 and 23 April 2013.The desirability index of a make-up brand is calculated by the difference in scores, measured using a Likert scale with 7 points (and converted in the form of an index), between respondents who consider the brand as “ideal/close to their ideal”, and those who consider the brand as “not at all/far from their ideal.”

“The desirability index is one of the 18 key indicators of the Monitoring Brand Assets model (an measurement tool of the brand value deployed both in France and abroad by Promise Consulting Inc.) and that is used to evaluate one of brands’ key growth drivers, beyond the immediate commercial performance,” emphasised Valérie Jourdan, President and CEO.

The desirability index thus calculated allows for a relevant and comprehensive analysis as it takes into account both the highest and the lowest appreciation, and not just the highest or the lowest. Ultimately, the desirability index turns out being predictive of French women’s both current and future behaviours and expectations.

The premium to fashion houses?

Chanel (57%) outperforms competitors in this study. If this legendary brand knows how to rock the heart of French women, it can first be explained by its DNA, synonymous with French luxury and elegance, but also by more than a century of history. More than a brand, Chanel is part of the French national cultural heritage. In parallel, Chanel has always managed to make judicious strategic and marketing choices. Thus, the high-profile Brazilian top model Gisele Bundchen of German origin, lent her face for the new line of make-up for the 2013 collection “les beiges”, just like the Franco-Swedish model, the icon of the women’s press, Sigrid Agren, for the collection “Avant-Première”. To that end, the “Avant-Première” collection perfectly illustrates judicious strategic choices: As a tribute to the red carpet looks and inspired by classic movies, the Chanel customer can thus identify herself with her favourite stars. History, marketing and varied collections are Chanel’s winning assets.

Dior (49%), on the heels of Chanel. The flagship brand of LVMH also capitalizes upon its history. This monument of fashion will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2016 and chose for this spring to pay tribute to one of the favourite colours of the designer Christian Dior: Pink. Beyond the pink colour, the “Chérie Bow” collection draws its inspiration from the theme of ballerinas and bow-ties. Finally, Dior places great emphasis on innovation by proposing the “Lip Glow Dior Addict Dior Chérie Bow Edition”, a gloss that reacts to the level of moisture on the lips; a key dimension in R&D, hydration being at the heart of women’s cosmetic concerns.

Yves Saint Laurent Beauté (42%) is lagging slightly behind Dior (49%) and Chanel (57%) but still manages to climb on the third step of the podium of this study. Belonging to the L’Oréal group since 2008, Yves Saint Laurent Beauté has mostly relied on the expertise of its Creative Director Thomas Lenthal and on its Fashion Designer Tom Ford between 2002 and 2005. Today, Yves Saint Laurent has managed to develop an effective and consistent marketing policy, particularly with the choice of its muses. The brands relies on time and does not change its ambassadresses for each release of a new collection, like Jourdan Dunn, the face of “Touche éclat” or Jessica Chastain, representing the fragrance “Manifesto”. This year, Yves Saint Laurent has set its sights on Cara Delevingne, the icon of young people. Could the brand be trying to revitalize its image with this target group?

Perfumers in the heart of French women

Lancôme (41%), is in fourth position just behind Yves Saint Laurent Beauté (42%) failing by very little for the third step of the podium. Created in 1935 by the perfumer, Armand Petitjean, Lancôme has belonged to L’Oréal for almost 50 years now. A luxury brand of its own, Lancôme now wants to create a link with its customers, particular through its website or its Youtube page. Hence, the famous brand with the rose has a page dedicated to make-up tutorials, a nod to the “do it yourself” that animate the blogosphere. In parallel, from Isabella Rossellini to Penelope Cruz, including Julia Roberts and Juliette Binoche, Lancôme has been choosing, since the 90s dark-haired muses. These ambassadresses stay natural, with virtually no or no cosmetic surgery at all: A strategy that enables the brand to stay close to the everyday woman.

Guerlain (39%), capitalizes nearly on two centuries of history. The oldest French perfumer, the brand was created in 1828 rue de Rivoli in Paris. In the field of cosmetics, Guerlain’s reputation is second to none. The brand from the LVMH group proposes real bestsellers like the bronzer “Terracotta”, the “rouge G” for the lips, the powder “Meteorites” in the form of pearls or in a compact, the “kohl” pencil for the eyes…

The skincare universe is playing its card well

If cosmetics brands from fashion houses enable French women to access the world of luxury, a number of women want to combine skincare with beauty during their cosmetic purchases. This is why anti-aging treatments have currently become so popular. Thus, Clarins (40%) monopolizes the 5th position of this study and Clinique (25%), the 7th rank. Clarins positions itself since the opening of its first beauty parlour in 1954 as the European leader in beauty. For its part, Clinique regularly communicates its “Dermatological” brand DNA: Ingredients in its products 100% fragrance-free, formulated with moisturising and nourishing agents or subjected to allergy test. This trend, which consists in coupling a make-up effect and a skincare care effect is expected to increase in the coming years and boost the innovations of many brands.

Pure players in make-up still occupy a promising niche

If brands in the luxury, perfume or skincare world are very popular among French women, a 4th type of actor seems to remain in the background in this study by addressing a specialized clientele. Thus, Make up For Ever (5%) only appears in 10th position. With the lowest brand awareness of our ranking (77%), Make Up For Ever remains nonetheless a cosmetic company with a high growth potential. Created in 1984, Make Up For Ever was at the time a professional brand dedicated to the world of entertainment. Acquired in 1999 by LVMH, this pure player in make-up is now seeking to reach the general public and for this, relies on the aura of its Artistic Director Mrs. Dany Sanz, a reference in the microcosm of make-up and a former teacher at the Chauveau Academy. The brand is currently reinforcing its expertise through the MAKE UP FOR EVER ACADEMY that is collaborating in particular, as part of a partnership, to the show “The Voice” on TF1, the French TV channel. A segment that plays on current trends, the off-key ,nature of its communication, the strong personalities that chair at the artistic direction, a partnering with highly publicized events and parades in the world of Fashion… and who now attracts customers for whom make-up is synonymous with pleasure.

“The world of make-up brands is a fascinating world, a key to the world of luxury. In France, but also in the whole world, it is now part of a strong competitive dynamics prompting marketing and communication professionals to develop, along with Artistic and R&D departments, all their talents. While luxury brands draw their legitimacy from both their image in ready-to-wear and perfumes, but also in the high quality of their products, skincare brands for their part, rely on a obvious synergy with their recognized expertise in the fields of hydration, anti-aging and correction of skin imperfections. Finally, professional make-up brands have managed to stand out thanks to the personality of their Artistic directors and to an off-beat and uninhibited picture of make-up.” concluded Prof. Philippe Jourdan, founding partner of Promise Consulting Inc./ Panel On the Web, an expert in consumption behaviours, Editor in Chief of the Revue Française du Marketing and author of the book published by Dunod: “A nouveaux consommateurs, nouveau marketing : zoom sur le Conso’Battant