ST Sunday Times TOP BRANDS 2017 Be Outstanding. Nivea leads a pack of strong brands that know how to talk beauty to South African consumers
While Nivea has topped the rankings in the Beauty and Cosmetics category of the Top Brands survey for the second consecutive year, Unilever has taken control of the Consumer category, with its full contingent – Dawn, Pond’s, Lux and Dove – in the top 10.
Mathahle Stofile, founder of The Matte Project, a catalyst for conversations among black women about beauty, sees a significant trend taking shape among South African consumers of beauty and cosmetics products.
“The brands that are getting their marketing right are those that realise the majority of beauty product consumers in South Africa are women of colour. The brands that have begun to communicate in a way that includes that woman are those seeing growth. Until recently, advertisements for beauty products that were deemed aspirational or luxurious were not talking to the black woman,” says Stofile.
“A good example is that many of the international brands focus on ageing skin concerns in terms of fine lines and wrinkles. These features are not issues black skin has to worry about – our ageing factors are more to do with loss of volume and uneven skin tone. So, when a black woman sees an advert that targets fine lines and wrinkles, she assumes the advert is not talking to her.”
Stofile believes the brands that are starting to talk to black women include Nivea, Dove and Pond’s.
“These brands have even started using local models for their campaigns. Rather than famous faces or international celebrities that endorse the product, these faces are professional models who look South African; they are South African. That means women can relate to those faces; they see themselves reflected in those brands. If the face in the advert looks nothing like me, then clearly that product is not talking to me,” she says.
A significant global trend in the beauty industry is men’s personal care. With a growing range of products aimed at men’s care, and a broad offering of general care, the reputation and perception of the Nivea brand are growing ever-stronger.
Kerstin Bird, MD of Beiersdorf South Africa, maintains that staying true to Nivea’s core values while connecting with the heart of South African consumers has earned trust and loyalty for the brand.
“With over a century of skincare expertise, the heritage of our revolutionary original NIVEA Creme tin has evolved into modern products that meet evolving consumer needs. This is due to advanced global research and development capabilities that ensure the brand continually meets consumers’ changing needs,” she says.
Dawn, which ranks second in the top 10 favourite beauty and cosmetic brands, has also clearly recognised the importance of understanding the South African market.
“Dawn speaks to South African women who do a lot with little, and believes beauty is as much about the person you are as what you look like,” says Sphelele Mjadu, public relations manager at Unilever. “She is positive about the future, with high hopes and dreams of attaining a better, more successful life.”
According to Dennis Chanee, deputy-director on the Cosmetics Sector Desk at the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), retail figures this year show consumers are feeling the pinch, and while they are still spending on beauty and cosmetics, tight economic pressures are seeing them opting for less expensive brands that can still deliver what premium brands promise. Consumers are also tending to buy their products from supermarkets, and through direct selling channels. Avon, which features consistently in the top five favourite brands each year, remains the champion brand in the direct-selling market.
Another strong trend Chanee observes is the pull towards beauty products that contain natural ingredients, rather than chemical-based products.
“This movement is not only in South Africa. As an industry sector desk, we have seen this at expos in the world’s capitals, and it’s a trend we’re really excited about. South Africa is the third most-biodiverse country in the world, after Brazil and Indonesia, and we have a wealth of natural ingredients that are already being recognised internationally for the benefits they offer for the skin.”
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