The Beauty and Personal care industry is complicated. Brands, large and small, bombard consumers with promises of new fixes to old problems with better performance, better ingredients, and better deals. This dynamic has created a consumer addiction to newness and discounts, and is perpetuated by both the consumer’s desire for beauty and fear of missing out. The majority of consumers lack the tools to navigate the multitude of options available, resulting in a perpetual cycle of trial and diminished brand loyalty.
The best offense for brands and retailers trying to succeed in this space is a hyper-focus on their Brand Evangelist, built on a deep understanding of the guest. Believing this to be true, in February of 2016, we embarked on an ethnographic study that generated over 2,000 pages of content for how consumers feel, believe, behave, and interact with the Beauty and Personal Care industry. Our goal was to understand the “why” behind purchasing behavior, to then help our partners design a better “how” to succeed.
Our research identified three key areas to translate our findings into actionable insights: Mindsets, Purchasing Journey, and Key Influencers. Put together, the research can be applied in a Mindset Methodology to evaluate and inform brands how to succeed at selling beauty and personal care in the new age of retail.
Mindsets articulate how a group of consumers feel, think, value, and approach a given subject. Understanding Mindset alignment to a brand helps define product standards, messaging, placement, and how to influence purchase. Mindsets also provide a path to create or find Brand Evangelists and encourage loyalty.
Patterns identified in our research as differentiators for Mindset types included:
• HEADSPACE: Amount of thought given to outward appearance
• KNOWLEDGE: Of industry, products, ingredients, and trends
• ROUTINE INTENSITY: Dedication and involvement of regimen
• EXPERIMENTATION: Frequency of product trial, trends, and new looks or styles
These patterns resulted in four identified Mindsets: Bold, Empowered, Functional, and Conforming. Each Mindset group exhibited differences in product expectations, methods of discovery, loyalty, price sensitivity, and purchase journey.
Technology has killed the traditional “purchasing funnel”. Instead, after a need is triggered, consumers are expanding their search to find the perfect product to suit them. With so much information at the click of a button, becoming an empowered and educated consumer has become the expectation prior to purchase. The result is that purchasing pathways are not linear, but a loop, with research occurring pre-purchase (ACTIVE EVALUATION) up to the moment of purchase (CLOSURE).
During ACTIVE EVALUATION, nearly all observed purchases in our study included some form of 3rd party validation via direct recommendation or product reviews. This subsequently requires a positive enough POST PURCHASE experience to incentivize positive recommendations to then influence future purchasers. In short, consumers no longer listen to what companies say about themselves, they listen to what consumers are saying about the product or company in question. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Winning in the “loop” mentality poses a new set of challenges for how brands should prioritize efforts and spend. Understanding Mindsets can aid in this prioritization, as each Mindset exhibited a nuanced approach to the purchasing journey. Sources of information, time spent within each stage, and influencers of purchase all varied by Mindset.
Key Influencers impact the ultimate decision to buy. Our research uncovered four influencers: Performance Needs (ex. sensitive skin), Life stage (ex. impact of parenthood), Identity (ex. Naturals, Multicultural), and Seasonality. The value is in understanding how to maximize the benefit or overcome limitations posed by the most relevant key influencers to the brand and consumer in question. In general, each relevant key influencer impacted each of the four Mindsets universally.
FROM RESEARCH TO ACTION
We believe research is only as valuable as the actions it creates. Let us help you:
• Understand your WHY by identifying your brand’s Mindset
• Define your HOW that’s aligned to your Mindset’s expectations of product, pricing,
frequency, and purchasing journey
• Determine WHAT tactics to employ in order to create Brand Evangelists
For access to the full report and/or Mindset Method Workshops please contact: Britta Chatterjee