The natural cosmetics industry is plagued by greenwashing. Organic Monitor (www.organicmonitor.com) research shows that the industry is blighted by a high incidence of false marketing claims, mislabelling and consumer confusion. Indeed, a growing number of brands are making claims, such as contains natural extracts, made with certified organic ingredients, paraben-free, no synthetic fragrances, etc.
With growing consumer distrust in marketing claims and product labels, pure natural & organic brands are now focusing on marketing communications and distribution. Some like Weleda are highlighting their 90 year history to show that they have not just jumped on the ‘naturals bandwagon’. Other brands – including Korres and Comvita - are emphasising native ingredients to set them apart from the growing pack.
Distribution is also coming to the fore. Pioneering brands realise that they cannot compete with the marketing muscle of newcomers like Garnier and Beiersdorf. To set them aside from new natural lines of these multinationals, they are focusing on distribution. For instance, Dr. Hauschka has adopted a selective distribution strategy whereby retail outlets are carefully selected and targeted. Education is a core part of this strategy, involving the training of store staff on the Dr. Hauschka concept.
Aveda’s success is also based on distribution. The pioneering brand has built an international presence by focusing on hair salons and spas. Rather than natural ingredients, the company highlights its corporate ethos and sustainability actions in marketing literature.
Concept stores are also becoming en vogue. Many brands have realised that dealing direct with consumers is the best way to inform customers of their products. A frontrunner is the French brand Melvita; it has opened a network of concept stores in Asia, North America as well as in Europe. The brand emphasises its organic origins and ‘French-ness’ in its concept stores.
Many years ago, the Body Shop received much accolade for its ethical stance and social activism. Pioneering natural and organic companies are now using the same distribution model (concept stores) to rise above marketing claims and strengthen customer relationships. However, it remains to be seen if and how such moves will clear up the consumer confusion.
Source: Global Market for Natural & Organic Cosmetics