Herbal Essences is a brand of hair product founded in 1971 by Clairol. In 2002, Procter and Gamble acquired Herbal Essences from Clairol, Inc. Herbal Essences is a global brand of hair-care products that distribute various different Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Coloring, Mousse, Hairspray, and Gel products (Procter & Gamble, 2012, p. 3). Procter and Gamble entered as a hair colorant and renovated the product of Herbal Essences (Matusow, 2008). In this section we will analyze the target market strategies, which Procter and Gamble used to help their product Herbal Essences grow more than 40 percent in sales globally (Procter & Gamble, 2007, p. 12).
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According to McGreog (2008), since Procter and Gamble acquired Herbal Essences their main marketing objective was to change their product and to revive their failing brand within the shampoo industry. Hence, the company wanted to market towards a more youthful audience. The brand was originally focused on women who wanted natural hair care products. It dealt with ingredients such as herbal and organic aspect of the product. Procter and Gamble wanted to reposition their hair products by creating a fun and youthful appeal while having the natural ingredients. Procter and Gamble did this so they do not lose their brand loyalists. Herbal Essences target market consists of Generation Y female users ranging from the age of 14-30 (McGregor, 2008).
Herbal Essences target markets are individuals who are going to school, entering college, and young moms. Consumers of Herbal Essences’s products share more than a common hair-care product, they share common lifestyles. In order to understand the appeal of their products, Herbal Essences continues to research their cultural and social environment. They do this by learning more about the consumer’s psychographics and behavioral characteristics. The goal in doing so is to sell more hair products by understanding the changing wants and the needs of the market segment.
The needs of this market segment
According to MediaPost (2008), in recent efforts to better understand and attract the youthful audience towards Herbal Essences, Procter & Gamble and the Beauty Business Chief, Susan Arnold had an idea to re-invent their products by completely re-branding Herbal Essences. In order to rebrand themselves they conducted their own research such as consumer surveys, market research and observing buying patterns of younger consumers. She took on the task of finding a way to build up the failing brand with a small group of people from research and development, marketing, and design. The small team worked together with branding agency Libby Perszyk Kathman (LPK) to target the market of Generation Y females (MediaPost, 2008).
As Lukovitz (2007) states in her article “Herbal Essence Snags 2007 Rebrand 100 Global Award” the team instantly started on 18 months of extensive consumer research. During the time the team emerged in May 2006 with a new target market audience tailored towards the “spontaneous, optimistic, altruistic, experiential Generation Y” (Lukovitz, 2007). Herbal Essences changed the whole product from scratch which they referred to as the “from-scratch strategy” which included a new logo, adding several catchy new product names, and adding new packaging. Herbal Essences research discovered that women like to buy hair care products within the same brand. The packaging emphasizes the shape, the new shampoo and conditioner bottles where designed to fit together on the shelf, encouraging the youthful audience to buy the product as a whole and driving up sales (Lukovitz, 2007).
In order for Herbal Essences to communicate their product to their new target market, they have used an innovative way to reflect their product upon the youthful generation. Herbal Essences uses this technique consistently throughout their product packaging and promotions. For example, the names of their products such as “Hello Hydration”, “Drama Clean”, and “Tousle Me Softly” (Herbal Essences, 2012). The name of these products reflects the tone and personality of the youthful audience which effectively appeals to their target market. Their target market likes to be aware of the latest trends in hairstyles and looks that could be obtained by using their products. Their target market wants a brand that focuses on their needs and is funky as them; a product which has an emotional connection, and makes them feel like the product is a part of their lifestyle.
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This market strategy also play a role into targeting the older part of the demographic, towards young mothers around the age of 30 who may look for hair care products for their daughters. They would be prone to buy the product since it gives a youthful and a modern vibe unlike other hair care product competitors. Herbal Essences indirectly cleverly uses the youthful appeal towards the older demographics that could also purchase their product, because they are tempted to feel younger (Lukovitz, 2007).
Herbal Essences revolutionized the way companies target their market. It moved from a failing brand into a successful brand. The strategies they applied into targeting their market changes the way companies and their products “speak to their consumers, appears to their customers, and how they might even position their products on the shelf to compete with their competitors” (McGregor, 2008).
Herbal Essences hair-care products stand out because it has been designed and formulated specifically for their target market needs. With the products of Herbal Essences, their target market can match their unique personality with their products.
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