BEAUTY CARE

Visual cues, comparison shopping can sway shoppers to switch brands, research finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — New research that will appear in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Marketing Research explores consumer sentiment over the extension of a premium brand outside of its typical category.

In their paper, "The Importance of the Context in Brand Extension: How Pictures and Comparisons Shift Consumers’ Focus from Fit to Quality," professors Tom Meyvis of the NYU Stern School of Business, Kelly Goldsmith of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Ravi Dhar of the Yale School of Management, found that consumers were more willing to switch their preference from a "low-status brand" (e.g., Kmart camping gear) to an extension of a premium brand that isn’t a natural fit for the product category (e.g., Speedo camping gear) when marketers add a picture of the product in question or allow consumers to compare brands rather than judge each brand separately.

"New brand extensions are often tested in an abstract setting (e.g., what would you think of a Crest facial moisturizer?)," Meyvis said. "In this market research context, consumers place too much emphasis on the fit between the brand and the product. As a result, companies may underestimate the value and opportunity of high-status brands extending into a wide variety of product categories."

Additional findings included:

  • Visual cues (e.g., pictures of the product), shift consumers’ focus to the quality of the parent brand and away from the fit of the brand when evaluating a brand’s new product offering;

  • Brand comparisons shift consumers’ preference from lower status brands (e.g., ShopRite cottage cheese) toward higher status brands even if they aren’t a good fit (e.g., Haagen-Dazs cottage cheese); and

  • Market research studies that mimic a typical shopping environment with visual information and competing brands will reveal greater potential for high-status brand extensions

"A high-quality brand that is introducing a product in a category that isn’t a good fit would benefit from marketing efforts that encourage brand comparisons," Goldsmith said. "Conversely, a lower-quality brand that is introducing a new extension may benefit from shopping environments where the product is not being compared to other brands (e.g., by placing it in an end-of-aisle display)."

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NPD: Blemish balm market poised for growth

BY Antoinette Alexander

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — BB creams, which also are referred to as “blemish balms” or “beauty balms,” have experienced significant growth in the past several months, according a new report by market research company the NPD Group.

BB creams are relatively new, multifunctional products that combine the functionality of primers, SPF and moisturizers, along with the anti-aging benefits of skin serums. In the 12 months ended in March, BB creams sold in U.S. department stores generated close to $9 million, according to NPD.



Women tell NPD that, while they expect BB creams to provide skin care and makeup benefits, they want to understand more about the product and how it works. According to NPD, about 8-in-10 beauty shoppers like beauty products that offer multiple benefits, and that rises to slightly more than 9-in-10 for BB cream purchasers. The top five benefits expected from a BB cream include natural-looking coverage (52%), moisturizes/hydrates skin (47%), nourishes/treats skin (42%), provides SPF sunscreen protection (42%) and improves skin texture (38%).



Although the incidence of purchasing BB creams currently is very small (2% of total beauty shoppers) the majority of purchasers told NPD they’re extremely or very satisfied with their last BB cream purchase, and 77% expressed positive repurchase intent. According to the report, nearly 4-out-of-10 beauty shoppers, overall, said that they would consider buying a BB cream in the future.



“About half of all beauty shoppers are sitting on the fence, saying they may or may not buy BB creams in the future. Why does that matter? Almost 7-in-10 BB cream purchasers have replaced either a makeup or skin care product with a BB cream. Even though usage is low right now, as more brands enter the market and the category grows, cannibalization could become a much larger challenge,” stated Karen Grant, VP and senior global industry analyst for the NPD Group.



“Messaging that clearly distinguishes the benefits of and usage occasions for BB creams versus other facial products could help ensure the coexistence of various products in a women’s beauty regimen. Figuring that out could make the difference in whether BB creams gain traction more broadly or not,” Grant  added.

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Rite Aid contest combines new website, social networking

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — A new campaign by Rite Aid is targeting nail polish customers.

The Camp Hill, Pa.-based retail pharmacy chain announced Thursday that it had launched the seven-week "Nail Extravaganza" campaign to engage beauty shoppers around the trend of using multiple nail polish shades.

The campaign includes a two-round contest through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest titled the "Search for the Rite Aid Nail Enthusiast," in which visitors to a special website can submit photos of their decorated fingernails and toenails.

The contest starts Thursday and runs through May 25. Contestants in the first round will be judged for originality, creativity and visual appeal by beauty industry leaders Essie Weingarten, Suzi Weiss and Julie G, while the 10 semifinalists will receive official nail-care kits for the final-round entry, and the winner will receive a $1,000 Rite Aid gift card.

"Nail art is the perfect way to add a little color to your summer style without spending too much green," Rite Aid category manager for beauty items Judy Wray said. "The ‘Search for the Rite Aid Nail Enthusiast’ contest will give all our fans, followers and Pinterest photo enthusiast a chance to have fun, get noticed and enter for a chance to win some great Rite Aid prizes."

The retailer also is incorporating the contest into its Wellness+ loyalty card program, offering $10 +UP rewards for customers who make $30 in nail purchases.

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