Torn between excluding fluff ingredients vs. adding them for marketing

I want my products to focus on minimalist, science-based formulas. So here's the thing: My heart tells me to go for formulas where every single ingredient has a purpose. However, my brain is telling me to add claims ingredients because, well, they sell. 

I'm not trying to sell to everyone. In fact, I'm targeting the advanced skincare lover--those who read ingredients lists and have a little bit more knowledge on skincare. But somehow, I can't help feeling those claims ingredients will make the product look a little more attractive. Even I fall for them. Any thoughts on this?

Comments

  • I would suggest you have someone help you with a Business Vision & Brand Guidelines. Based on your target audience and what you come up with in this branding guideline, the questions you ask will be answered. Important to be consistent in your brand messaging.
    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  • I don't have a whole ton of experience in selling products but with the little knowledge that I do have, I would say that adding claims ingredients usually pays off in the long run. 

    While those who are more informed may not care if there are no claims ingredients in your formula, they surely won't mind if any are present. As for people who are not as informed, the claims ingredients should help you attract their attention from your competitor's products. 

    I would say that adding claims ingredients usually pays off.
  • mikethair said:
    I would suggest you have someone help you with a Business Vision & Brand Guidelines. Based on your target audience and what you come up with in this branding guideline, the questions you ask will be answered. Important to be consistent in your brand messaging.
    Will look into that. Thanks!
  • natzam44 said:
    I don't have a whole ton of experience in selling products but with the little knowledge that I do have, I would say that adding claims ingredients usually pays off in the long run. 

    While those who are more informed may not care if there are no claims ingredients in your formula, they surely won't mind if any are present. As for people who are not as informed, the claims ingredients should help you attract their attention from your competitor's products. 

    I would say that adding claims ingredients usually pays off.
    That makes a lot of sense, I never thought of it that way. With claims ingredients, though, do I have to focus on them when marketing a product ("With honey and aloe extracts to soften your skin!")? I feel it would be very misleading to do so and I don't want that for the brand. From a consumer point of view, is it enough that these claims ingredients are found on the list without having to announce it?
  • If you are going for the "advanced" skincare consumer with "minimalist, science-based formulas", you probably already have something in mind about what the products do for the skin and how they do it? If so, you shouldn't need to add claims ingredients like honey and aloe for the sake of adding them. You should work on selling on the "science" if that's what you think is giving your products an edge.

    I'm an advanced skincare consumer who reads ingredients lists, and I wouldn't fall for any marketing based on honey and aloe. To me, it sounds like a Garnier Ultimate Blends sort of thing!
  • Science based formulas are great and becoming more and more popular, even in the natural arena. References to clinical studies are still 'Claims'!
    Dr. Catherine Pratt
    (B.Sc with HONS I , Ph.D Analytical/Organic Chem and Microbiology), Cosmetic Chemistry IPCS)
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    You're not going to fool an educated, discerning consumer who is skilled at reading LOI's with claims ingredients.  In fact, you will just call your credibility into question if you focus your marketing on the claims ingredients instead of the true functional ingredients. 

    Nothing wrong with putting in Honey and Aloe, just don't focus on them in your marketing ... sophisticated consumers will just gloss over those and they may help attract some less sophisticated consumers.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • DeedeeUkuleleDeedeeUkulele Member
    edited December 2019
    If you are going for the "advanced" skincare consumer with "minimalist, science-based formulas", you probably already have something in mind about what the products do for the skin and how they do it? If so, you shouldn't need to add claims ingredients like honey and aloe for the sake of adding them. You should work on selling on the "science" if that's what you think is giving your products an edge.

    I'm an advanced skincare consumer who reads ingredients lists, and I wouldn't fall for any marketing based on honey and aloe. To me, it sounds like a Garnier Ultimate Blends sort of thing!

    Okay, that settles it. The truth is, thinking about having to add claims ingredients just gives me a heavy feeling, so I'm glad to hear your input. Thank you!
  • DeedeeUkuleleDeedeeUkulele Member
    edited December 2019
    You're not going to fool an educated, discerning consumer who is skilled at reading LOI's with claims ingredients.  In fact, you will just call your credibility into question if you focus your marketing on the claims ingredients instead of the true functional ingredients. 

    Nothing wrong with putting in Honey and Aloe, just don't focus on them in your marketing ... sophisticated consumers will just gloss over those and they may help attract some less sophisticated consumers.
    I thought about that. Why would an educated consumer believe in my formulas when I'm touting the benefits of the latest exotic extracts? But the other side of me is also asking, are there actually enough advanced consumers out there?

    I guess my problem is, do I want to impress advanced consumers or, while I'm at it, attract everyone else? From a marketing point of view (especially for a new brand), I really have no idea what to go for. The more I think about it, however, focusing on science-based formulas is what will probably make me stand out, especially in my local market that's saturated with chemophobic products.
  • Science based formulas are great and becoming more and more popular, even in the natural arena. References to clinical studies are still 'Claims'!
    Got it. Better than no studies at all!
  • If you are going for the "advanced" skincare consumer with "minimalist, science-based formulas", you probably already have something in mind about what the products do for the skin and how they do it? If so, you shouldn't need to add claims ingredients like honey and aloe for the sake of adding them. You should work on selling on the "science" if that's what you think is giving your products an edge.

    I'm an advanced skincare consumer who reads ingredients lists, and I wouldn't fall for any marketing based on honey and aloe. To me, it sounds like a Garnier Ultimate Blends sort of thing!
    I’m with @helenhelen, I don’t understand why you don’t focus your marketing on supporting the science. “Claims” tends to suggest that there’s more promised than is provided. If you’re using science-backed ingredients, marketing those is your best bet. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited December 2019

    This is a good question. The quick answer is you should add claims ingredients if it will make your consumer more inclined to buy your products. If you don’t know what will make your consumer buy your products, you need to find that out.

    Now, the longer answer.

    The reality is that having “minimalist, science-based formulas” is not unique. Anyone can make formulas like this. The Ordinary makes products like this & they have storefronts & a big social media footprint. Also, lots of brands already claim they are “science-based” too. These are not unique selling points.

    Lots of brands add claims ingredients as a unique selling point. Some brands like Pantene focus on one (Panthenol) while other brands like Aveeno focus on a special blend of ingredients. These companies have big enough advertising budgets that they can "own" the ingredients by becoming identified with them. You probably can't.  And while none of these ingredients affect the formula performance much, it helps them tell a story.  And without a story, there’s no compelling reason beyond price to buy your products.

    It’s pretty hard to stand out in the cosmetic marketplace. The most recent successes have been achieved by brands that are “personality” driven. People don’t buy Kylie cosmetics because of the ingredients in the products, they buy for the personality behind the product. Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant, Tata Harper, are all brands that have fine enough working products but are really personality driven. They talk more about what isn’t in their products than what is in them.

    In my opinion, you’ll be most successful if you first develop the personality behind your brand. Create a character who people admire & respect. That character should have an ethos & beliefs that consumers can buy into and adapt to their own worldview. Would that character put honey and aloe in the formulas? 

    You really can’t make your products stand out in terms of performance (unless they’re really bad). You can make them stand out with a unique ingredient or special ingredient blend, or you can make them stand out because they were invented by a personality that the consumer admires.

  • I am wondering what is wrong with Aloe and honey? why would those ingredients be off putting?? Please explain?? Ha...
    Dr. Catherine Pratt
    (B.Sc with HONS I , Ph.D Analytical/Organic Chem and Microbiology), Cosmetic Chemistry IPCS)
  • Perry said:

    This is a good question. The quick answer is you should add claims ingredients if it will make your consumer more inclined to buy your products. If you don’t know what will make your consumer buy your products, you need to find that out.

    Now, the longer answer.

    The reality is that having “minimalist, science-based formulas” is not unique. Anyone can make formulas like this. The Ordinary makes products like this & they have storefronts & a big social media footprint. Also, lots of brands already claim they are “science-based” too. These are not unique selling points.

    Lots of brands add claims ingredients as a unique selling point. Some brands like Pantene focus on one (Panthenol) while other brands like Aveeno focus on a special blend of ingredients. These companies have big enough advertising budgets that they can "own" the ingredients by becoming identified with them. You probably can't.  And while none of these ingredients affect the formula performance much, it helps them tell a story.  And without a story, there’s no compelling reason beyond price to buy your products.

    It’s pretty hard to stand out in the cosmetic marketplace. The most recent successes have been achieved by brands that are “personality” driven. People don’t buy Kylie cosmetics because of the ingredients in the products, they buy for the personality behind the product. Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant, Tata Harper, are all brands that have fine enough working products but are really personality driven. They talk more about what isn’t in their products than what is in them.

    In my opinion, you’ll be most successful if you first develop the personality behind your brand. Create a character who people admire & respect. That character should have an ethos & beliefs that consumers can buy into and adapt to their own worldview. Would that character put honey and aloe in the formulas? 

    You really can’t make your products stand out in terms of performance (unless they’re really bad). You can make them stand out with a unique ingredient or special ingredient blend, or you can make them stand out because they were invented by a personality that the consumer admires.

    Thank you! I appreciate your input on the matter, Perry.

    I'm inclined to go with science-based formulas because here in my country, local products tend to focus more on "all-natural" and "organics," and most of them tend to be badly-formulated (e.g., no preservatives, etc.). I did some research and it seems a growing number of consumers here are looking for better formulated alternatives. It's a small segment, but it's there and it's growing so I'd like to tap into that.

    However, your idea on creating a personality is very interesting. I'll have to look more into that and combine the concept with my philosophy of going science-based.
  • JPSJPS Member
    Perry said:

    This is a good question. The quick answer is you should add claims ingredients if it will make your consumer more inclined to buy your products. If you don’t know what will make your consumer buy your products, you need to find that out.

    Now, the longer answer.

    The reality is that having “minimalist, science-based formulas” is not unique. Anyone can make formulas like this. The Ordinary makes products like this & they have storefronts & a big social media footprint. Also, lots of brands already claim they are “science-based” too. These are not unique selling points.

    Lots of brands add claims ingredients as a unique selling point. Some brands like Pantene focus on one (Panthenol) while other brands like Aveeno focus on a special blend of ingredients. These companies have big enough advertising budgets that they can "own" the ingredients by becoming identified with them. You probably can't.  And while none of these ingredients affect the formula performance much, it helps them tell a story.  And without a story, there’s no compelling reason beyond price to buy your products.

    It’s pretty hard to stand out in the cosmetic marketplace. The most recent successes have been achieved by brands that are “personality” driven. People don’t buy Kylie cosmetics because of the ingredients in the products, they buy for the personality behind the product. Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant, Tata Harper, are all brands that have fine enough working products but are really personality driven. They talk more about what isn’t in their products than what is in them.

    In my opinion, you’ll be most successful if you first develop the personality behind your brand. Create a character who people admire & respect. That character should have an ethos & beliefs that consumers can buy into and adapt to their own worldview. Would that character put honey and aloe in the formulas? 

    You really can’t make your products stand out in terms of performance (unless they’re really bad). You can make them stand out with a unique ingredient or special ingredient blend, or you can make them stand out because they were invented by a personality that the consumer admires.

    This is excellent advice. Thank you!
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