After a bid for millennial wallet share fell short, skin-care brand Perricone MD has launched a new strategy in order to turn around sales.
The relaunch stems from the result of a qualitative and quantitative consumer study the brand underwent with an outside partner in March 2017: It learned its extensive range of 180 products was confusing to customers, that most millennial customers were not looking for advanced anti-aging products yet, and that the brand was not emotionally identifying with its customers.
As a result, the brand has discontinued 23 underperforming products and reduced prices across its collection, upgraded packaging and its e-commerce site to make product navigation easier, targeted an older customer, and moved away from its dermatologist-founder story to focus instead on product performance.
The effects of the relaunch are rolling out to retail partners, including Sephora and Ulta, in the coming weeks, and are currently live on the brand’s website.
“Our repositioning is about speaking to our core consumers and the emotional connection she has because of the efficacy of the products,” said Robert Koerner, chief marketing officer for Perricone MD, adding that founder Dr. Nicholas Perricone is still involved, but “the founder positioning of the brand — while very new and different in the ’90s — is not unique anymore.”
And while some brands aim for earned media value, consumer engagement or brand awareness with their relaunches, Perricone MD is only looking to drive sales.
“Product sales is the only metric [of success] we are looking at,” Koerner said. The brand, which is privately owned, declined to provide any financial details.
Core consumers are age 40 and above, and the brand has rolled out a new campaign focused on female scientists in medicine, engineering and chemistry, in order to create an emotional connection with female consumers by highlighting successful women in the sciences. The shift in consumer focus from millennials to Baby Boomers and Gen X is notable, considering many brands dip lower in their target age groups. Perricone MD found its products were addressing aging problems that millennials had yet to experience, such as wrinkles and age spots, and therefore it was difficult for customers to see results, Koerner said.
But, the older demographic still represents a lucrative market, as over 50 percent of the U.S. population will be over 50 in 2018 and will increase their spending by 58 percent over the next 20 years, compared to 24 percent for Americans between 25 and 50, according to market research firm SIS International.
In addition to updating its marketing and messaging, the brand is also updating its website and packaging in the hopes that it will make the shopping experience easier. The website previously featured an “outdated” skin quiz, according to Koerner, but it now has a “skin consultation tool” that asks more nuanced questions about what areas are of concern to customers, such as sagging eyelids or skin discoloration. The brand also introduced a color-coded system on its labels, such as orange for its smoothing and brightening products, pink for antioxidant multitaskers, and green for delicate and sensitive skin. The idea is that when customers are shopping by themselves at retailers, they will be able to immediately understand what a product’s purpose is, considering there are dozens of products in the brand portfolio to choose from.
“[Color-coding] was initially a small suggestion, but it became a large part of the repositioning,” Koerner said, adding that all these changes are about reaffirming the brand’s roots in product efficiency and science-based outcomes.
“In 2018, it’s a way to cut through in this market and build and rebuild an emotional connection with [customers] who didn’t have one with us before. The market has changed so much, you have to find a new way to do this.”