Project Management: Product Research
The right fit
An important part of my project was establishing which product my envisioned brand would be offering within the beauty and personal care categories. I already knew that I wanted to create a skincare brand because of my previously developed a brand proposal developed in my Business & Entrepreneurship module. As a consumer, I enjoy shopping for serums the most, they are my favourite because they contain the highest concetratation of active ingredients and also often work as a multi-purpose product. So, I decided to research about the overall popularity of each skincare product category in to see whether serums would be a commercially appealing offer for the brand’s first launch.
I conducted an Instagram pool on my business led skincare account where I quizzed consumers about three important needs regarding their consumption habits:
1. What was their favourite skincare product to shop for.
2. Which category of skincare products they are most likely to have multiples/spares of.
3. Which category of skincare products they find easier to introduce new additions into their existing routines.
The results showed that consumers, like myself, consider serums to be their favourite skincare product. Additionally, answers implied that serums have the biggest potential for repeated purchases and are the one product which consumers feel the most inclined to introduce into their existing skincare routines. Therefore, informed by the primary data gathered I felt confident that starting the brand with serums was the right decision for me as it presented large commercial interest.
Looking into market trends and consumer needs, I observed that some of the common threads amongst successful beauty brands included: an eco-positive attitude, efficiency without compromising skin health and a socially responsible and inclusive brand mindset (Cosmetics Business, 2019). Therefore, I decided to develop my brand ethos and product formulations having those three pillars in mind, which resulted into the three word mantra “minimalism, expertise and purpose” and the slogan “skincare that is meaningful.”.
The message behind BRIXI’s brand proposition is creating a positive and responsible consumer experience associated with cosmetics consumption. The means of gratification being fulfilled when purchasing one of our products should be equally directed to their utilitarian purpose as it is to the brand’s commitment at promoting environmentally friendly practices and mindful consumption habits. The way to better demonstrate these values was through looking into eco-responsible materials for packaging as well as opting for a small and highly curated line that could show consumers they don’t need to purchase numerous redundant products to achieve their skin goals. These initiatives are successful at promoting our environmentally conscious mission not only in the product development phase like many brands already do, but it raises our equity value by attempting to re-educate consumers about the need for a decrease in over-consumption. Furthermore, I knew that in order for the brand to be completely inclusive it also had to think about formulation restrictions that some consumers might have. Therefore, I chose that all products wold be vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free and biocompatible.
After choosing an appropriate category of skincare products to launch the brand with, I had to decide the formulation details and unique selling points that these goods would offer to consumers. I made the decision early on that I wanted the brand to compete in the category of “accessible luxury” or “premium” skincare, dominated by the likes of Drunk Elephant, Paula’s Choice and Summer Fridays. I wanted to emulate their business style mainly because those are the brands that I personally trust and like to shop from, I perceive them to equally effective as large industry names such as SkinCeuticals or Dr. Barbara Sturm yet much more accessible in price. Thus, that meant that my products had to retail somewhere between £40 to £70 each, which is the average price for a serum amongst the mentioned brands.
I knew that after deciding my product category I needed to establish what would the products be and do in order to stand out in the market and appeal to consumers. I found this to be one of the most challeneging parts of research to conduct, since I do not have experience or access to a cosmetics chemist or board certified dermatologist and had a very limited understand of product formulation. Thus, in order to overcome this challenge where my skills were insufficient, I decided to do what I know best and start by researching about my competitor’s product offerings and look into common skincare concerns amongst my demographic (primarily Millennials and Gen Z).
Bright Skin (Serum #1)
The first product I decided I wanted to develop was an idea coming from my own skincare needs as a Gen Z skincare consumer and enthusiast. I had spent a large portion of my teenage years battling a severe case of cystic acne, which to my good fortune eventually went away as I used the right medication, but not without leaving some nasty scarring behind. Therefore, my biggest skincare concern today is in relation to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is often caused by the acne. Therefore, I decided to investigate whether my personal concern happened to be a possible common trend amongst within consumer my age.
After investigating, I came to find out that hyperpigmentation is in fact a very common concern. Secondary research findings show that post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is particularly common amongst people dealing with acne prone skin, also, anti-pigmentation dermatologist procedures have shown to increasingly popular after summer time, when sun protection is not followed thoroughly leaving sun spots behind (Quinn, 2019). Also, to develop my hypothesis further I decided to consult with my skincare Instagram audience about whether they felt as if hyperpigmentation was a concern of theirs, results from the pool proved that it was.
Glass Skin (Serum #2)
For my second serum I took a different route and decided to look into what was trending on social media for inspiration, which plays a pivotal role amongst Gen Z consumers decision making process (Saunter and Shin, 2019). I had observed in the past few months how the natural, glowy and effortless makeup look was very popular and how that had transitioned into an interest for skincare amongst beauty bloggers. Therefore, I analysed a possible correlation and market opportunity between the desire for glowy skin and the need for products that could help achieve that look. The trend in itself is entitled “Glass skin” and it originates from K-Beauty and it became popular in the West largely due the influence of social media (Shapiro, 2019).
Currently, the hashtag #glassskin on Instagram has over 350K posts and it is not uncommon to find influencers and makeup artists trying to replicate this trend. Once again, to make sure that there is a definite need for a product in this category I conducted a consumer oriented dedicated skincare Instagram account and responses were largely positive.
Fresh Skin (Serum #3)
It was very important to me that this first range of products actually addressed big skin concerns and that it was thoroughly thought out to meet the needs of my envisioned audience. So, for the third and last serum I once again looked into my own consumer needs, but also thought about the one skin concern that affects people from all ages or genders, which is acne. On the contrary of popular belief, acne is an issue not exclusively associated to a pre-pubescent phase, adult acne can also be quite common and difficult to treat (Rodgers, 2017).
Therefore, I thought that an anti-acne product was a compulsory requirement to include in the line since it had the potential to branch out to a cross-generation audience. However, to ensure that it was this would be right addition to the range I conducted one last consumer pool to see whether the need was real and fortunately, once again the results proven my research to be accurate.
Cosmeticsbusiness.com (2019). Cosmetics Business Forecasts 5 Global Beauty Trends Of 2020 In New Report. [online] Available at: <https://cosmeticsbusiness.com/news/article_page/Cosmetics_Business_forecasts_5_Global_Beauty_Trends_of_2020_in_new_report/160773> [Accessed 14 August 2020].
Cultbeauty.co.uk. (n.d.) SUMMER FRIDAYS | CC Me Serum. [online] Available at: <https://www.cultbeauty.co.uk/summer-fridays-cc-me-serum.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw4f35BRDBARIsAPePBHx3wQJNWWnf3o3cztlzReXMXUw1g2uTUoVl4pXnvqoz7jwxSibrlQaAhU2EALw_wcB&ef_id=Cj0KCQjw4f35BRDBARIsAPePBHx3wQJNWWnf3o3cztlzReXMXUw1g2uTUoVl4pXnvqoz7-jwxSibrlQaAhU2EALw_wcB:G:s> [Accessed 15 August 2020].
Paulaschoice.co.uk. (n.d.) C15 Super Booster | Paula's Choice. [online] Available at: <https://www.paulaschoice.co.uk/c15-super-booster-full-size-7770.html?aw_account=1510415071&aw_campaign=1452919897&aw_adgroup=60343051641&aw_creative=278158830693&aw_dev=c&aw_target=aud-321032980018:pla-296550565349&aw_type=search&aw_keyword=&aw_matchtype=&aw_pos=&utm_content=shopping_brand&gclid=Cj0KCQjw4f35BRDBARIsAPePBHyBjOPp6zHkgL3P3aJ_WYfU6-9mOU0D6ajwWf8mA9gPZdo1RfJ_F0MaAmgcEALw_wcB> [Accessed 15 August 2020].
Quinn, J. (2019). Top Fall Skin Concerns Dermatologists Always See. [online] Skincare.com. Available at: <https://www.skincare.com/article/top-skin-problems-dermatologists-see-each-fall> [Accessed 14 August 2020].
Spacenk.com. (n.d.) Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. [online] Available at: <https://www.spacenk.com/uk/en_GB/skincare/treatment/serums/c-firma-day-serum-MUK200021920.html> [Accessed 15 August 2020].