L’Oreal is one of the leading cosmetics companies worldwide with a strong base in the United Kingdom. The company rides on the portfolio of 27 unique international brands that covers a wide range of cosmetics and product categories and meets the diverse needs of consumers worldwide. It is important to note that cosmetics industry is very competitive with several alternative products from leading cosmetic companies such as Lush, The Body Shop, Proctor and Gamble, Unilever, and Avon among others (Young, 2000). It means that for L’Oreal to effectively compete and curve a niche for its Biotherm Homme brand, strategic marketing communication has to be undertaken. Biotherm Homme is the premium skincare brand for men (Loreal.co.za 2014).
Market and Brand Analysis
In the recent past, there has been a rise in demand and sales of prestige skincare products for males. Initially, prestigious cosmetic products such as expensive anti-ageing serums, eye creams and high-end bath products were considered to be exclusively for women. It is really changing and current study shows that men are also buying these types of prestige beauty products, thus, there is huge potential for growth in this area. In the UK, for instance, the sales of men’s prestige skincare products is worth £26m a year, having grown by approximately 4 per cent in August 2013 (NPD Group, 2013). Such change in trend presents an opportunity for L’Oreal to increase their male products and particularly the Biotherm Homme brand. Presently, women’s skincare products account for 95 per cent of the market while men products only 5 per cent. The big difference is attributed to the nature of women; that is, they love to indulge themselves and as a result spend on super premium skincare costing £100 or more per product. Equally, the high demand for women’s skincare products influenced the skewed supply and has led to the growth in the women’s skincare market by approximately 15 per cent every year.
Despite this dominance by female products, there is a steady growth of male cosmetic products as indicated earlier. As a result, there is great opportunity within the men’s market of premium beauty that L’Oreal needs to tap before the competitors and to increase the number of products for men.
Aims of the Study
The aim of L’Oreal is to be the market leader in selling male premium beauty cosmetic products, particularly the Biotherm Homme brand. The marketing communication plan is therefore to assist the firm gain a deep understanding on how the consumer’s perceptions and attitudes hold in the UK’s cosmetic industry and how these attitudes and can be influenced through the marketing communication strategies employed by the firm, to increase the consumption of L’Oreal products for males and grow the males’ cosmetic markets.
- To develop a marketing communication strategy that will effectively market and improve the consumption of Biotherm Homme brand by approximately 8 per cent within 12 months in UK.
- To determine the marketing communication strategies that will make L’Oreal be the market leader in producing and selling male premium beauty cosmetic products in the UK market and beyond within.
Scope of the Study
The study will cover the cosmetic market of the United Kingdom. The study seeks to understand factors that influence consumption of cosmetic products, especially for the males. Considering this aspect, the paper will concentrate on the marketing communication strategies that potentially influence consumption of the cosmetic products and can certainly help L’Oreal cosmetic Company improve its sales of male products.
Marketing Communications Strategy
Marketing communication strategy is essential in generating thoughts, leading to emotions, behaviour, and finally physical reactions among the male consumers to consume Biotherm Homme brand. Marketing communication by L’Oreal cosmetic company should be geared towards creating a belief or influencing the consumers’ state of mind, to feel the products and form the desire to associate with the products or company. For this to be done, the company must identify the target segment and outline the product positioning strategies (Pike 2008).
Target Segments for Biotherm Homme Brand
Biotherm Homme is a brand meant for male cosmetic users. It is a segment that has been ignored for a long time and that presently present promising opportunity based on the latest trends in the UK in which more males are becoming interested in male prestige cosmetic products. Targeting this segment to make them have L’Oreal as their ultimate brand for male product will potentially increase the sales for female products (Finch 1984). It is because males are likely to influences their wives and daughters to shop at one place. Therefore, succeeding in tapping this segment will potentially have a ripple effect, thus increasing the overall sales. Choice of target segment is also influenced by the ability of the company’s to efficiently serve the market. Also, supply of the cosmetics products is influenced by market segmentation, with new entrants or existing cosmetic suppliers developing and selling products that meet specific consumer segments needs and sales channels (McDonald & Dunbar 2004). In this case, L’Oreal has the capacity to serve the male cosmetic market in the UK and had the ability to increase the supply to match the growth rate.
Segmentation is also based on the demographic factors. L’Oreal cosmetics provide products for all age groups; for males in their teens to older men who need old age creams. The products for males range from hair products to normal skin care products including skin moisturizers used after shaving. For L’Oreal, segmentation is also in packaging where the products are packed in different sizes tagged with different prices to allow all people to purchase irrespective of their social class (Brandon 2012). Such type of segmentation allows the firm to set the prices that will effectively penetrate the market in the next 12 months. The segmentation will aid identify the heavy and regular users, and to build loyalty (Wedel & Kamakura, 2000).
The company rides on the banner of natural, quality, non-chemical and ethical products that are not tested on animals to indicate the safety standards when using the L’Oreal. The brand will be positioned as a natural product generated from mineral thermal spring waters that was discovered from Pyrenees Mountain in the southern part of France. The Biotherm Homme contains plankton drawn from mineral water which is a key to healthy skin and positioned as a potent skin rejuvenator (L’Oreal.com 2012; Brandon 2011). Further, the company will also be positioned ecologically and environmental sensitive company that manufactures and sells chemical free products, pollution free and conscious of ethical considerations of not testing on animals (Idowu & Brian 2004). The positioning slogan that L’Oreal has to adopt in marketing the Biotherm Homme brands for the next 12 months will be ‘Biotherm Homme, the natural and potent male skin rejuvenator, only from L’Oreal.’
Biotherm Hommes Proposed Communications Strategy
Marketing communications is a very important aspect of business that allows organizations to engage, communicate and dialogue with their stakeholders (Fill & Jamieson 2011). For Biotherm Hommes cosmetic brand, L’Oreal proposes to use Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) strategy that combines five marketing communications tools majorly employed to deliver messages to target audiences. They include advertising, public relations, sales promotion, direct marketing and personal selling (Anne-Maria 2013). In this case, the integrated marketing communications is proposed based on its efficiency in reaching diversified group of people better than traditional strategies that involved one strategy at ago (Cui & Choudhury 2002). In addition, the integration incorporates all features of marketing while maintaining the ethical, legal, environmental, and social context of marketing activities and programs.
Justification of the Proposed Strategy
Effective marketing communication ensures that only the right messages are conveyed to the target segment and through the right communication channels. The effectiveness of marketing communication is determined by the achievement of the marketing objectives that may comprise of increasing awareness of the company’s products, increasing preference, and product loyalty to generate high sales volumes as well as profits (Duncan 1996). The IMC strategy to be adopted in the marketing of Biotherm Hommes brand is justified since it guides the marketers in identifying and understanding the target audience, developing key messages to address potential audience, differentiating L’Oreal from the competition, and guiding the choice of communication channels that can effectively reach the target segment (Borţun & Purcarea 2013).
IMC Strategy guides Identifying and Understanding the Target Audience
Different tools of marketing reach different audiences at different times. There is a group of people who can easily be reached through mass advertising, while there are others who value direct marketing, internet marketing through social media, public relations or sales promotions (Belch 2010). It means that the marketer needs to full understand the target markets before deciding which combination of tools to use that will reach the targets. Under this concept, there are ten basic aspects marketers and companies can consider clearly defining and segmenting their target markets and audiences. They include identifying who buys the male prestige cosmetic products, the media they use frequently in order to choose the same one, whether they are predominately for males or females, what is the general perception and attitude the target market hold toward the male product, what is the age group of those targeted or consuming the product, their education level in order to know the language that can be used in the communication, the spending habits of the target group, their product needs, the geographic location and distribution whether local, regional, in the cosmopolitan cities, or in the rural areas, and the lifestyle indicators of the targeted people (Dibb & Simkin 1991).
Differentiating from the Competition
IMC strategy calls for the identification and understanding of the competitors in order to design a marketing plan that will effectively neutralise their impact and position the brand into the minds of the potential target consumers (Bothma 2003). Understanding the competitors involve identifying the strengths of their products and their marketing strategies to be able to effectively counter their presence. In this case, L’Oreal must understand the products offered by Proctor and Gamble, Herrco, Bellapierre cosmetics, Shiseido, Unilever, Avon and Revlon among others that operate in the same market, targeting the same consumers in the UK. Such information will help L’Oreal to understand how the competitors position their male products so as to counter their weaknesses to their advantage (Young, 2000).
Developing Key Messages
Marketing messages are designed based on the media to be used in relaying the information. For instance, mass advertisement need precise messages delivered either through sounds or images of famous models, while internet marketing may contain much detailed information same to the sales promotions. In this case, it involves developing marketing contents that effectively connect with the exact needs of the target audiences (Cui & Choudhury 2002; Percy, 2008). The contents of the marketing communicators need to consider factors like culture, religion, perceptions, and attitudes of the audiences when designing that emphasize the main focus points. It is the point, when the slogan ‘Biotherm Homme, the natural and potent male skin rejuvenator, only from L’Oreal’ will be implemented.
Selecting Communication Channels
The IMC strategy will also guide choice of communication channels to be used based on the message designed to relay the information. The five communication channels commonly used in the UK are mass media advertising, direct marketing through trained staff, sales promotion and campaigns, public relations, and personal selling (Ann, Lynne & Julia 2011). It is basically because all the four tools of marketing communications can easily be recognised in the facial skin care product sector, with the ability to registering a direct and recognizable influence on consumer behaviour.
Implementation of the IMC Strategy
Elements of the Communications Mix
As states earlier, implementation of the IMC will be done through a marketing mix of paid advertising, public promotion, public relations activities, personal selling, and social media. Some of these tools will be used simultaneously in order to create adequate impact (Blakeman, 2007). The contents run through all the tools will be identical and unambiguous.
A Schedule of the Tools and Media to Be Used
|Communication tool||Time Period||Purpose||Cost|
|Mass Media Advertising||2months interval
National TV stations, radio stations
-The designed messages and the slogans developed will be run on national TV and radio stations mostly during the prime hours, especially in between prime news intervals.
-The time period is paid for since most males who are the target segments in the UK tune to broadcasts.
-Mass advertising will be the first to be implemented and will be run for 2 months consistently in the beginning, then after every three months for two weeks.
-Images of celebrities will be placed on billboards to show the moisturising effect of using Biotherm Homme.
-The purpose of this tool is to position Biotherm Homme as the ultimate prestige cosmetic product for males.
Advertising on TV £227,500 (30seconds spot)
£1,625 per week
|Sales Promotion||Trained staff
-First, the tool will be run concurrently with the mass advertisement. It will involve sales and marketing teams moving round the most populated cities within UK, explaining the distinct features of Biotherm Homme. It is done concurrently with advertisement to make audiences link the image with real product.
-To create an impact, the product will be sold at discount for those who buy during the promotion to give the sceptical customers a chance to test before they build their confidence.
-The tool will be used interchangeable with the mass advertising.
|Approximately £500000 per annum|
|Internet Marketing||Throughout the year||
-It will run concurrently with the mass advertisement through the company websites and blog posts that give consumers room to give feedback.
-The purpose of this tool is to offer detailed information that cannot be attained through mass media and to reach the group potential consumers who spend much time on social media.
-It will also involve referrals through Facebook and Twitter, and trending messages in WhatsApp among others (Persuit 2013).
-Currently, online marketing and selling accounts for 7% to total L’Oreal sales and is growing at 26%
|Personal Selling||Sales team||-It will take place at the cosmetic stores by trained sales teams in the UK supermarkets to help walk in customers make their mind on consuming the product (Gilbert & Jackaria 2002). It will take place on a daily basis in the distribution stores.||Free due to involving the same employees on payroll|
|Public Relations||Top management||
-To be done by top management teams by organising public talks to discuss the ingredients of the product that makes its unique and chemical free.
-The tool should be used quarterly. In addition, marketing activities and programs.
-The purpose of this is to paint the company as being ethical and conscious of the environment and to influence public opinion.
|£ 200000 per annum|
Evaluation of the Marketing Communications Plan
The effectiveness of this marketing communication plan will be measured by the percentage increase in sales volumes of Biotherm Homme brand realised after the start of the marketing activities. The feedback gained from members of public through forms filled and dropped at the outlets will also be used to evaluate the level of public awareness on the L’Oreal product. In addition, the response received during the sales promotion activities, especially when selling at a discount will also be an adequate measure of the effectiveness of the IMC strategy.
For L’Oreal cosmetic company to effectively market its Biotherm Homme male brand to the target segment, it is necessary for the company to adopt IMC strategy that combines the media advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion and campaigns, public relations, personal selling and internet marketing. The plan has outlined the schedule that will ensure that the objectives are met within 12 months.