Q&A: Sandoz’s Schofield discusses blueprint for AmLactin brand
Since Sandoz acquired the AmLactin family of skin care brands from Upsher-Smith Laboratories last December, the company has been hammering out a growth strategy for the consumer skin care brand. With its strong heritage in the fast-expanding therapeutic segment of skin care, AmLactin offers rich potential for retailers to build that portion of their business. Brant Schofield, VP and general manager of dermatology at Sandoz, shared with Drug Store News the blueprint for AmLactin’s growth under Sandoz.
DSN: How does AmLactin fit into your portfolio?
Brant Schofield: AmLactin is a new business for us, but the product category is not new for our dermatology business. We have a branded prescription business and a big generic prescription business with more than 70 reps calling on about 7,000 to 10,000 healthcare providers with prescription products. AmLactin is our first foray into the consumer dermatology business, but it is a consumer product that is promoted to dermatologists, and recommended by dermatologists. Dermatologists do a lot of different tasks. They write prescriptions, but they also recommend moisturizers and cleansers. We didn’t have a product in that area, so this was a good opportunity for us to get into that space. Dermatologists know this brand. It has been out there for a long time, but it hasn’t been promoted a lot lately. Given the sales force we have in place, we have an opportunity to get the brand back out in front of them.
DSN: What are your plans to expand its footprint?
Schofield: This brand will get a lot bigger. We are working on many innovations, including new formulations, different pack sizes and different presentations. We are going to expand the retail presence beyond where it is today. We will accomplish all of the aspects you’d expect with a consumer brand and we’ll combine that with the professional detailing we are doing. In general, we’re looking to expand our consumer business beyond AmLactin. This is just the start. It is our foothold in the business, and we can get a lot bigger. From a pure distribution standpoint, we feel the opportunity is significant to expand the places you can find AmLactin and numbers of doors within those companies. We want to get the business moving and get the turns up, and the doors will come from there.
DSN: A lot of growth in skin care is coming from therapeutic skin care. What’s driving that?
Schofield: The therapeutic skin care segment is growing a lot faster than other parts. We feel this is driven by people looking for solutions, especially those who are self-medicating and treating. People are looking for these solutions at the shelf. They want to avoid co-pays. They don’t go to the doctor every time. It is being driven also by the aging population and people with disposable income who want to look and feel better. That’s why therapeutic skin care is booming right now. There aren’t a lot of companies out promoting and sampling to physicians. I think that’s an opportunity.
DSN: What are the hero products and AmLactin’s differentiation characteristics?
Schofield: We are doing well with Rapid Relief. It is resonating well with physicians, and we are seeing a direct lift from that channel. It’s a great moisturizer.
DSN: How can retailers maximize sales in this segment?
Schofield: The power of the professional recommendation is spectacular. We’re out there with dermatologists, and they are writing prescriptions and recommending products. The patients are going into your stores for AmLactin, but they also buy prescriptions and other products and can develop into regular customers. Also, the dermatology patient tends to be more affluent, which also benefits sales.
The pharmacist is a big influencer in this space, too. People walk up to the counter and ask for advice, so it is important for them to know how this product fits into this space.
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Innovative skin care enters color cosmetics
There’s been a shift in the way Western women approach makeup. They’ve come to understand that their makeup routine starts when they wash their face, and they want more from their cosmetic products than coverage and concealing.
Sarah Jindal, senior innovation and insights analyst for beauty and personal care at Mintel, explained that color cosmetics with skin care benefits have become the new gold standard. “There’s almost no such thing as makeup without skin care anymore. I think this is inspired by what we see with the Korean beauty philosophy of ‘skin first.’ There is such a focus on taking care of the skin and using makeup very sparingly to enhance, but not cover up.”
One only needs to look at hyaluronic acid, the skin-plumping wonder ingredient, to see the direction that makeup is taking. According to Mintel, global launches of foundation using hyaluronic acid have increased 86% from 2013 to 2016, and represent about 5% of global foundation launches in 2016.
Certain brands are leading the trend, paying particular attention to integrating anti-aging and moisturizing benefits, two of the most sought-after benefits among women regardless of age or demographic, according to Mintel’s July report on color cosmetics.
IT Cosmetics has built its entire brand on products that are equal parts skin care and cosmetics. The color ranges focus on flattering shades, and the boost to the skin is what really makes the products stand out. The lip products are infused with collagen and peptides to smooth lips, and such nourishing ingredients as shea butter and jojoba oil improve the texture and hydration of lips.
Standout products can be found at every price point in drug, mass market and prestige. CoverGirl’s Vitalist Healthy Elixir Foundation has been trending on social media, and contains a vitamin-infused formula with an antioxidant and vitamin complex. La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 50 Mineral Tinted Primer has a powerful antioxidant complex and broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. L’Oréal also offers several hybrid products, including the anti-aging Visible Lift Blur Concealer.
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Brands look to reach caregivers
One of the biggest marketing opportunities for brands and retailers is reaching out to caregivers. Whether it is assisting in grooming rituals or housekeeping, finding products to help those who can’t do for themselves is a trend popping up on the radar.
It is estimated that almost 70 million people are now charged with taking care of someone, often a family member. An AARP Project Catalyst report from 2016 projected that 117 million Americans will need some sort of caregiving assistance by 2020. Compounding that is the fact that the population of Americans ages 65 years and older will nearly double by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The AARP report highlighted that 71% of caregivers are looking for innovations that support their caregiving activities.
In fact, Deborah Weinswig, managing director of the Fung Group, dubbed the “grandparent market” as a huge source of potential retail sales, with reports estimating that the number of grandparents will increase from 65 million in 2010 to 80 million in 2020.
Making products for and gearing marketing toward those consumers who need help for daily tasks will be increasingly important in the future. Fern Spadafino, executive director of Acorn Glen, an assisted living facility in Princeton, N.J., said finding grooming items to help her staff — and visiting family members — is on her front burner. “It helps maintain the dignity of our residents, especially shaving men, since that is such a ritual for them.”
Already, some companies are heeding the call. One of the most vivid examples is Gillette’s TREO shaver, designed for assisted shaving. The razor was revealed with an emotional short film, called “Handle with Care,” showcasing Kristian Rex and his father. Rex’s dad had a stroke and now needs assistance from him and others, a role reversal from his fond memories of his dad taking care of him.
According to Procter & Gamble, more than 75% of caregivers who shave loved ones and patients every three to five days potentially need a special shaver. Gillette’s TREO handles like a paintbrush, making it easier for users to give a careful shave. The blade requires less water, helpful because many elderly men are shaved away from the bathroom. Gillette is sending out TREO samples to caregivers and giving them to employees who care for others in order to get feedback prior to fully launching the product.
For those who still live on their own, several marketers are making items to make their lives easier. Swiffer, for example, targets many of its commercials to mature audiences or those with physical challenges. A prime example is a TV commercial starring Morty and Lee, who, after 44 years of marriage, ponder how much dirt they can “manufacture.” While asking for an easier way to clean, a Swiffer arrives that helps them spruce up under furniture and in high spots.
Oxo is another brand dedicated to making products specifically for an older audience. Retailers can seek inspiration from an online source called Caregiver Products that stocks everything from razor handle extensions and long-reach toenail scissors to automatic eye drop guides and long-handle combs.
Retailers are dipping their toes into the business, too. Pharmaca offers training on administering prescriptions, as well as on giving injections.
CVS proudly showed off its new look last April, firmly focused on self care. However, the store also is well positioned for consumers shopping for others. During the tour, George Coleman, VP of merchandising for CVS Pharmacy, displayed the wide array of testing kits the chain offers that caregivers can use in homes to supplement physician visits.
Sephora recently introduced classes for shoppers with cancer and those caring for a loved one on how to deal with hair and skin changes.
As Weinswig suggested, while many marketers chase millennials, there is plenty of opportunity around caring for the nation’s aging baby boomers.
I LOVE that Gillette commercial. Brings me to tears. So glad that brands are considering how to tweak their products to make them more friendly for family caregivers.