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The Beauty of Naturals--Your Buying Public

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the April 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Truth 11. The media can be a tastemaker. Most of us saw the report a few months ago in which the Chicago-based Smell and Taste Institute’s study results revealed that the scent of grapefruit can lead men to perceive women as being an average of five years younger. Never mind the particulars or the reproducibility of the results. The public now believes that grapefruit scent makes women look younger. I haven’t seen any studies, but I imagine there’s been a run on all things grapefruit scented.

For better or worse, CNN, Time magazine and other media representatives are our primary sources for medical, scientific and consumer information. Once a study makes headlines, it quickly becomes part of the public consciousness. This can work for and against the personal care and spa industries. You should constantly ask yourself: “Is the media working with me or against me, and how can I harness that power?”

Truth 12. Tell consumers a story. The Keebler Elves in their hollow tree, Cap’n Crunch defending the SS Guppy from Crunch Berry pirates, Juan Valdez questing for the perfect coffee bean—everyone loves a product with a back story. Spa and personal care offerings are no different. Are you selling a story? Do you know the stories behind your products? A story, among other things, is crucial to creating an emotional connection between consumers and your offerings.

Recapping the truths

So, what do the 12 truths tell us? In order to reach today’s sophisticated naturals consumers, you must address the whole person—spiritually and emotionally—while delivering functionality. In doing so, you must reach all consumers—from shortsighted teens to fussier cultural creatives. Give them guilt-free indulgence and a sense of self-determination. Educate them directly and through the media. Tell them a story about the origins of your products or services. This is the path to success in naturals.