Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, May 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 10 MAY 2018 FROM THE EDITOR Is Less Really More? Back in our January/February 2018 issue, I wrote about how lifestyle and beauty compa- nies such as Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop or any number of brands sold in Sephora stores are getting into the business of selling dietary supplements. While most of these brands are selling nutricosmetic supplements that work from the inside out, what's on the outside—the supplement packaging—is also very impor- tant to this audience especially. Often (but not always), packaging that appeals to the lifestyle or beauty set is less cluttered and more streamlined—in short, an aesthetic that is a natural extension of the brand. Libby Rodney, chief strategy of cer for market researcher Harris Insights & Analytics (Rochester, NY), whom I inter- viewed in my earlier article, spoke about how some of these brands purposely forgo overloading their labels with product information. Instead, they prefer to provide information to customers elsewhere—such as, say, on a brand's lifestyle blog. "What they're doing is putting all of that detail and the 'why purchase' in other elements of the marketing," Rod- ney says. "T ey're not looking at [packaging] as 'my only sell is when you pick up this product.' T ey're looking at it like, 'Hey, I've created this fan base with you, and I'm going to send you this e-mail about [the product]. I'm also going to talk about it on my podcast, and I'm going to put little elements of why it's ef ective on my Instagram.'" "T ey think about it more holistically," she continues. "How do I slowly convince you that this is the right product for you, versus featuring every product implication or ef- f cacy element on the packaging." T ose constant, gradual touchpoints can build a powerful sense of trust that cus- tomers bring with them when it comes time to purchase. Also, just because these customers may prefer simpler labels doesn't mean they aren't concerned about what's in the product. On the contrary, Rodney says, these custom- ers are doing the research to f nd out what's in the product before they purchase, and they'll often get that information from the brand itself, through alternative media streams as mentioned above. In fact, "that minimalism in pack- aging and less detail is actually seen as something that's more trustworthy, because something that's overly detailed makes customers think that there might be 'f ne print' in- volved" that might disadvantage them, Rodney says. "So, you might just paralyze the person, and they walk away from the experience." T is approach is dif erent than that of "legacy supple- ment brands," says branding and design expert Yadim Me- dore, founder and CEO of Pure Branding (Northampton, MA). "T ose supplement brands…have built their brands around structure/function and features and benef ts. It's a battle of value and equity of a 'lifestyle' brand versus the legacy supplement brands that are about merely solutions and that lead with the science." T e old way isn't always the best way, though. Ultimate- ly, Medore says, many brands make identical claims that end up neutralizing each other. "Over the past 20 years, we've identif ed classic pitfalls that supplement brands fall into time and again—they lead with science, they believe their technology dif erentiates them, they believe their so- lution is the best and highest quality," says Medore. "T ese are all merely cost of entry, and when every brand is mak- ing these same claims, it's just noise." Lifestyle brands that "know what their brand stands for" may have the advantage here. "T ese fashion or hip celebrity brands come with a fully evolved and dif erenti- ated positioning that speaks directly to their constituency," says Medore. "A lifestyle brand, at its core, is one that seeks to inspire, guide, and motivate—and, in its largest sense, inspire a movement that def nes a way of life. T ey position their supplements as part of that lifestyle. T ey don't need to lead with the science"—although, he adds, a company better have the goods (the science and the ef cacy) to back its product. "T e issue is not about how much or little the scientif c evidence is included in the packaging," Medore continues. "It's how it's positioned in relation to gaining the trust of the consumer. We know from our research that credibil- ity ultimately comes from the brand meaning, and not the science. T e science just adds assurances." In general, he says, "T e clarity of a successful lifestyle brand allows us to connect with it beyond the clutter of competing claims and features and meet it more authentically." T e emergence of lifestyle brands in the supplements space could ultimately end up giving legacy brands a need- ed push to look within. "I see this as positive disruption," Medore says, "which will force legacy supplement brands to really examine what is the meaning of their brand." Jennifer Grebow Editor-in-Chief

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