Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Skin Care Brands Gone Good: The Results

A couple weeks ago, Glamour Gone Good issued a survey called Skin Care Brands Gone Good. The survey focused on three socially responsible campaigns launched by three different skin care brands: Dove, Clean & Clear, and philosophy. Below are our findings and some additional thoughts.

Background information on survey takers:
  • 100% of respondents were female
  • 75% of respondents are between ages 25 to 34
  • 25% of respondents are between ages 35 to 49
  • 100% of respondents use skin care products on a daily basis

Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty was the overwhelmingly popular choice amongst all survey respondents with 100% of respondents saying they would support the campaign, if they are not already doing so.

Conversely, Clean & Clear's Join the Surge program seemed to have the least impact on survey takers. While 100% of survey takers felt either somewhat or highly motivated to support Dove's and philosophy’s campaigns, none of them felt the same way about Join the Surge.

There are a few possible reasons for this. First of all, the Join the Surge campaign is targeted at teens. Given that 100% of respondents were ages 25 or above, they were clearly not the target audience for the campaign. So, it’s not a huge surprise that they did not respond as excitedly to this program as they did to Dove's and philosophy’s socially responsible campaigns.

In addition, as the survey results would indicate, our respondents were most interested in campaigns that had the strongest relationship with the charities involved in their campaigns. Along those lines, the overwhelming majority of respondents felt that philosophy’s shop for a cause campaign is most successfully supporting its charities (it clearly communicates to its consumers which charity each "shop for a cause" product benefits and it donates 100% of net proceeds to that charity.) Meanwhile, neither Dove nor Clean & Clear clearly communicates to the consumer its strategy for supporting its charity partner(s). An important question left lingering in our minds is what kind of financial contribution either brand is making to its charity partner(s), if any.

Most importantly, 100% of survey takers responded that they prefer brands that invest in multi-year, multimedia campaigns. So, it’s no surprise that Join the Surge did not excite respondents since the campaign lasted only three months while both Dove's and philosophy's campaigns have been going on for at least a few years.

Why does any of this matter?

This survey and its results were an interesting experiment that reinforced some important lessons for brands engaging in socially responsible and charitable activities. They are as follows:

1. Consumers want specifics. They want to know exactly how brands are supporting the charities around which they develop their campaigns. Slapping a logo on promotional materials with a vague ‘We Are A Proud Supporter Of’ message is no longer relevant for today’s sophisticated, savvy consumer.

2. Consumers want a long-term commitment. Heavily promoting a campaign that will only last a week or a month will not have as great an impact on a brand’s consumer base as a campaign that lasts all year or is repeated annually. People are forgetful, so it's critical to develop a campaign that is sure to leave a lasting impression. If a brand really wants to woo its consumers, it must think of its charitable campaigns as long-term relationships, not quick flings that are here today and gone tomorrow.

3. Consumers want brands to care about what they care about. All too often, brands align themselves with causes or issues of special significance to their CEOs and founders. Unfortunately, those issues or causes may not always resonate with their consumers. Meanwhile, brands that listen to their consumers and develop campaigns that truly speak to them are in a better position to increase consumer brand loyalty and boost sales of products and services tied to those campaigns. While not all brands have the resources to conduct formal market research and talk to focus groups, they can all reach out to their most loyal consumers, survey them and, most importantly, engage them in meaningful dialogue to find out exactly what moves them.

What other important lessons can we learn from our consumers when it comes to developing meaningful and successful socially responsible campaigns?

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