Selective make–up brands: what have we learnt so far?

Philippe JOURDAN, University Professor and CEO of Promise Consulting / Panel On The Web was the Keynote Speaker at the Makeup in Seoul exhibition, the first international exhibition of makeup that was held in Seoul (Korea) on 13 and 14th march 2014. On this occasion, he spoke on the theme: “10 years of International Studies in the World of Cosmetics: what are the key lessons for selective make–up brands?

MakeUp in…™: A few words to start with, on you company!

Philippe Jourdan: Promise Consulting is a consulting and market research firm that combines the expertise of Promise (consulting) and of Panel On The Web (online studies) with marketing services, in the field of the evaluation and the optimization of the brand value. Thanks to a novel approach, we offers an alternative to the barometric studies or tracking: our Monitoring Brand Assets® tool is based on a survey of the customer-based brand value of all competing brands in a given market, using 18 key brand performance indicators) With the data collected, both managers of manufacturers and retailers’ brands have an immediately operational reading of their levers for growth. To this must be added the support of a modelling process and of a web-based software that allow for a detailed analyses of available data by marketing teams: the marketing action plans can be simulated, compared and tracked overtime. Complemented by the competitor’s own strategies, to anticipate competitor actions in a “wargames” type logic, hitherto reserved for the strategy and now extended to strategic and operational marketing.

MakeUp in…™: What observations have you made from these studies on make–up brands?

Philippe Jourdan: thanks to the variety of studies conducted on behalf of major international brands, we own the largest database dedicated to cosmetics. More than 250 brands studied in 30 countries around the world, a total of 400,000 interviews conducted with female buyers of selective perfumes, skincare and make–up products. There are underlying levers for growth in the make–up industry that provide a response relying on an unquestionable statistical approach: the nationality (American European or Asian), the specialization (multi-specialised or pure player), the core business (beauty vs. fashion), the “haute couture” labelling are potentially levers for growth in terms of awareness, image, and ultimately sales. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the conclusions apply to all segments (perfume, skincare or make–up) and to all geographical areas (Europe, America and Asia), due to the weight of cultures, history, attitude towards the beauty and the body.

MakeUp in…™: image is a tremendous lever to sell more in the beauty industry but are the image levers comparable in perfume, skincare and make–up?

Philippe Jourdan: Image in perfume is dominated by the characteristics of top luxury, of being a well-established, iconic or prestigious brand. In the United States, a touch of femininity ads to the above, a characteristic well attributed to Chanel. Statutory and symbolic dimensions outweigh logically the others in perfume.

When compared with the 2 other segments of the beauty market, skincare is the one where the product-related image attributes (effectiveness, sensory quality, high quality, etc.) are the most assertive. They rank within the top image attributes of the leading brands in each country (with some differences in Korea).

Image in make–up is a perfect synthesis of the lessons learnt from perfume and skincare. If the product-related attributes are important (“high quality”), the statutory dimensions (“used by celebrities”, “used by make–up artists”) and the symbolic ones (“an iconic brand”) are also well represented regardless of the country.

MakeUp in…™: Korea, the new frontiers for makeup brands?

Philippe Jourdan: Korea, and even more its capital Seoul, have considerable advantages for the development of the make–up industry, from a national and a regional perspective. First, this country of 50 million people is known for the amount of care and attention devoted by both women and men to their physical appearance. Beauty routines, and even more make–up ones, are particularly developed. Moreover, an unparalleled industrial talent must be added, whose assets also benefit national make–up brands: creativity, innovation, precision, aesthetic sense–in both formulation and packaging–and a craze for style, fashion and trends allow a broad spectrum of local brands to express themselves on a growing market. International brands are not lagging behind, far from it, as there is a strong desire for “haute couture” brands (Chanel, Dior, etc.) and make–up artists brands (Mac). Female buyers of selective make–up brands in Korea represent alone a reservoir of around 8 million women, who purchase an average 13 products per year, that is an annual volume of 104 million products. As in other Asian countries, products for the complexion are particularly well represented (35%), followed by lip make–up (27%), eye make–up (24%) and nail make–up (14%).