To promote its updated Skin Caviar Remastered collection with Caviar Premier, Swiss luxury skin-care brand La Prairie is investing in a new influencer, pop-up and in-store strategy. This has been a five-year endeavor for the brand and will be La Prairie’s biggest product launch of the year.

Available today, the new assortment suite features three hero products: Skin Caviar Luxe Cream (which starts at $485), Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Sheer (which starts at $485) and Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask (which starts at $375).

These new skin-care products aren’t meant to replace the existing caviar-infused La Prairie lineups already available, many of which are 30 years old, but instead to grow an already successful franchise — the company has seen more than 15 percent growth in sales each year in its caviar products. Still, it was more about R&D and pushing an ingredient storytelling message further than necessarily a bottom-line decision, said Elizabeth Lamont, La Prairie vp of marketing for North America.

It’s hard to deny the business opportunity, though. In May, German personal-care company Beiersdorf, which has owned La Prairie since 1991, raked in $2.16 billion in first-quarter revenue, which was a 6.5 percent increase. This revenue beat other beauty and personal-care rivals Unilever, which owns Dove, and Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Clearasil. That growth was driven largely through La Prairie — Beiersdorf also owns Nivea and Eucerin. Sales for the luxury skin-care brand jumped 56 percent year over year. According to Euromonitor International, Beiersdorf was ranked eighth in the world for beauty and personal care in 2017, while Unilever was ranked third and Reckitt Benckiser was 28th.

This is in line with overall industry trends, which saw the skin-care category grow 9 percent and contributed 45 percent of the prestige beauty’s total $17.7 billion gains, according to NPD Group.

La Prairie president and CEO Patrick Rasquinet largely attributes that increase to the brand’s high-performance products and luxury service. It’s also focusing more on online growth: To create buzz around the new launch, La Prairie is using all of its media dollars this year in the digital space, with 40 percent of its total year’s media investment focused on the Remastered collection, said Lamont. This is La Prairie’s largest campaign of the year in terms of investment and number of tactics leveraged.

The influencer play
Like heritage brand Shiseido, which invested heavily in influencer marketing for its recent color cosmetics launch, La Prairie is looking to the space for new relevance. The brand has partnered with luxury influencer Tina Craig (aka BagSnob) on a series of Saks Fifth Avenue panel discussions around the country. The talks, which will chronicle Craig’s own personal relationship with the brand and skin-care advice, will be open to the public and be promoted on La Prairie’s social media channels and email.

While La Prairie is looking to increase its millennial client base — currently it is slightly under-penetrated, tallying in at about 15 percent of direct customers and 20 percent at third-party retailers — Lamont explained the Remastered relaunch and influencer activation is about attracting that older, 30- to 35-year-old millennial. Craig is in her mid-40s.

“You have to consider our price point and that we offer very sophisticated skin-care products that target aging concerns,” she said. “Those issues are already manifesting in an older customer, so using a 25-year-old influencer wouldn’t make sense for us.”

To round out the influencer marketing strategy, La Prairie has enlisted nine other influencers in North America — including celebrity stylist Cristina Ehrlich, designer Zac Posen, contemporary artist Beau Dunn and fashion blogger Lainy Hedaya — to start promoting the Skin Caviar Remastering relaunch on their social platforms starting Sept. 4. “These are people who are experts in their own arenas who have a social presence, versus others who are solely social-present,” said Lamont.

Those influencers will also be on hand for the brand’s upcoming fall Caviar private dinner series, which will run from September to November in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Vancouver, Houston, Boston, Toronto, New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Unlike the Tina Craig talks at Saks Fifth Avenue, which are open to the public and meant to entice new customers, these 15-person dinners at locales like New York’s Eleven Madison Park and San Francisco’s Eight Tables are meant to offer existing, local top clients an elevated experience for their loyalty.

The offline path to purchase
La Prairie will also be opening two two-week pop-ups in New York City’s Oculus during October and Miami’s Aventura Mall in December, timed to Art Basel. The 1,600-square-foot interactive installations are not meant to be selling opportunities for La Prairie but rather to educate customers about the brand. For those who want to shop the products, customers can visit local stores nearby like the Brookfield Place Saks Fifth Avenue and the Aventura Mall Bloomingdale’s. These pop-ups will be promoted to La Prairie’s social media followers and email subscription base and will also leverage the Oculus and Aventura Mall’s reach, as well.

Because the Oculus, specifically, has over 250,000 commuters pass through each day, according to The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, it serves as prime real estate for La Prairie. Prospective clients will be able to sample the Skin Caviar Remastered products, as well as try complimentary skin-care services, like its Art of Perfection rejuvenation treatments.

This service and sampling strategy is something La Prairie does in select retail environments, and sampling is on the rise for the company: It has increased free product samples for the year by about 25 percent. To bring the Oculus- and Aventura Mall-like experiences to even more cities, La Prairie will be setting up 15 “hotspots,” or smaller pop-ups, in retailers like Bloomingdale’s.

“We want to be visible in high-traffic environments, allowing people to discover the full Skin Caviar collection. Our mission isn’t just to sell product, and you can’t underestimate physical communication tools,” said Lamont.

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