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Successful DTC Requires Brands To Offer Solutions

Selling direct to the consumer online remains a huge opportunity for brands, and one that is likely to transform the industry, but brands need to do more than just sell to consumers. Instead, they must offer solutions to their specific needs. Glossier, in the cosmetics category is a good example of how brands should rethink their consumer relationships. The brand is positioned strongly towards millennials, focusing on social media to build engagement by offering a sense of community and personalization, and by offering solutions. It has on offline store, in New York, geared to encourage visitors to share their experience online. The growth Glossier and other dynamic are generating demonstrates the potential impact of a better consumer focus.

"‘To’ or ‘For’ Consumers? Shifting Perspectives for Driving Growth", Consumer Goods, May 29, 2018

Cosmetics For Women Of Color Provider, Mented, Raises $3m

Direct-to-consumer makeup brand Mented, which focuses products for women of color, raised $3 million in seed funding from CircleUp Growth Partners. Founded in 2017 by Harvard Business alumni KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson, Mented sells lipstick, lip gloss, eyeshadow, nail polish, and cosmetics accessories with neutral shades that fit the skin tones of women of color, broadly defined as black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian women. Mented plans to use the funding to expand its staff, diversify its products, and fund marketing strategies. The firm plans to have a product for every cosmetic category by the end of next year. The investor has a series of DTC investments, including Hum Nutrition, Kosås, and Pop & Bottle.

"Mented, A Makeup Brand By And For Women Of Color, Receives $3M From CircleUp Growth Partners", Beauty Independent, May 29, 2018

Hims Provides DTC Solution For Men Suffering Hair Loss

Direct-to-consumer wellness startup Hims provides a range of products aimed at American men worried about hair loss. Some 85 percent below the age of 50 experience thinning hair to some extent. The Complete Hair Kit costs $44.00 a month and comprises Finasteride pills, a shampoo, a bottle of Minoxidil, and 30 Biotin Gummies. The items can also be purchased separately. Buying the complete kit or Finasteride pills separately involves an additional $5 for an online medical examination with a licensed doctor. Finasteride is currently allowed in only 18 US states. Hims's products cost up to 80% less than the products sold at retail stores.

"A men's wellness startup is redefining how guys approach hair loss by making modern treatments affordable and accessible", Business Insider, May 29, 2018

Beauty And Personal Care DTC Startups Attract Venture Investments

A review of venture investments into direct-to-consumer (DTC) startups shows strong interest in businesses focused on beauty and personal care. Crunchbase estimates that Harry's, which offers male grooming products, has most funds raised of the startups it reviewed, at nearly $475 million. This compares to $164 million raised by Dollar Shave Club up to the point Unilever acquired it in 2016. Glossier, which launched in 2014 after the success of the beauty blog, Into The Gloss, has raised $86 million. Many of the companies seek to disrupt established businesses much the way Warby Parker changed eyewear. Launched In 2010, Warby Parker has raised a total of $290 million with the latest round of $75 million carrying a $1.75 billion valuation.

"Mastering The Consumer: Top 15 D2C Startups By Funding", Wiredfocus Tech News, May 28, 2018

Hello Products Toothpaste Makes Progress With Natural Formulation, Minimalist Packaging

Oral care in the U.S. is dominated by three well established brands, Colgate, Crest and Sensodyne, but some smaller brands are getting traction. Hello Products has a natural formation without triclosan, an FDA-banned antibacterial chemical, or saccharin. Both of its non-fluoride and fluoride versions are also be without glutens, parabens, microbeads, artificial flavors, and dyes. Packaging is simple and striking. The adult toothpaste has a minimalist black tube with white lettering. The company claims to be the #2 natural toothpaste product and this year expects sales of $20 million.

"Taking On The Toothpaste Giants: How One Entrepreneur Built A Fresh $20 Million Brand", Forbes, March 29, 2018

Misleading Sensodyne And Alpecin Ads Banned – U.K. Watchdog

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned Sensodyne True White toothpaste and Alpecin Caffeine C1 adverts, following a review revealing that the claims made were misleading. Colgate Palmolive initially lodged a complaint against Sensodyne, prompting producer GlaxoSmithKline to present supporting studies. The ASA found no evidence to support the claim that Sensodyne True White was more whitening than standard toothpaste that did not make a whitening claim. Similarly, evidence provided to support Alpecin’s claim as a hair loss-reducing shampoo, by manufacturers Dr. Kurt Wolff., was rejected. 

"Misleading adverts for ‘whitening’ toothpaste and a shampoo which boasted of beating hair loss have been banned", Mail Online, March 28, 2018

Henkel Seeks To Leverage Big Data To Identify Efficient Opportunities, Sets Ambition Goal

Henkel seeks to leverage big data to reach ambitious efficiency goals. By 2030 it aims to triple its efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint globally by 75 percent. Critical to its efforts is an Environmental Management System (EMS) that it implemented in 2014 in collaboration with Schneider Electric. The EMS captures over 3,000 data points across a wide range of the company’s global production network, including metrics on consumption of electricity, fossil fuels, compressed air and water. Through capturing data centrally the company is able to identify best practice. The company estimates its Laundry & Home Care unit could reduce energy use by 24 percent.

"Reducing the environ­mental foot­print through Big Data", Henkel, March 28, 2018

L’Oréal skincare device wins patent case in shorter trials procedure pilot

The Patents Office has ruled that the L’Oréal patent and one of its community registered designs were infringed by RN Ventures’ “Magnitone” electronic brush for deep cleansing of face pores. Another L’Oreal company, the exclusive licensee of L’Oreal’s rights in the UK, was the second claimant in the case. The case used the shorter trials procedure pilot scheme introduced to the High Court in October 2015 and will be available until September 2018.  The case is of interest because it used the shorter trials procedure in considering one patent and two registered designs involving significant cross-examination with regard to expert evidence. The shorter trials procedure is intended for commercial and business cases not requiring extensive disclosure, witness or expert evidence. It aims to reduce costs and shorten trials to three to four days.

"L’Oréal wins skincare device case using shorter trials procedure pilot scheme.", Lexology United Kingdom , March 27, 2018

P&G brand chief to major digital players: Prove marketing investment leads to sales

Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard called on big digital players to prove that marketing investment results in sales and not just excess frequency. He revealed that P&G cut $200m from its digital ad budget last year after new data showed that average view time for an ad on a mobile newsfeed was just 1.7 seconds. The multinational consumer goods giant also reduced spend on “long tail” marketing after re-evaluating its approach to programmatic. Citing the opportunity for full integration of media, shopping and data, Pritchard noted that P&G maintained its overall media investment with e-commerce players such as Amazon as well as Alibaba, Tencent and JD in China, where the company’s focus is increasing. P&G also plans to change the way it works with agency partners in order to align with the company’s new direction of more brand entrepreneurship and less project management. 

"P&G’s Marc Pritchard on the next frontier of digital: We want to know our investment results in a sale", Marketing Week, March 27, 2018

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