The connection between brand positioning and brand identity must be strong. The link must be obvious. Nowhere is this more evident than in personal care products.
THEFACESHOP is a South Korea-based retailer of body, bath, skin care and makeup products for both men and women. It is the leading Korean-branded shop in the cosmetics market, expanding its influence in the based on the support of consumers from Korea, as well as China and Japan.
Naturalism is the central brand-positioning element behind its marketing strategies. The company places the highest value on sharing the beautifying benefits of nature. This key point of differentiation is what the company is based on, and therefore it is essential that it be effectively communicated to consumers. Staying committed to this brand concept has put THEFACESHOP in first place in the branded shop cosmetics market after it successfully led differentiation strategies such as establishing a small-quantity batch production system, realizing an upgrade and diversification of products to satisfy the growing demands of consumers, and offering a reasonable price by minimizing distribution stages.
The success of THEFACESHOP has revitalized the branded shop cosmetics market, which has fueled an increase in competitors, which continue to expand and heat up the competition in price, service and the number of shops. THEFACESHOP currently has 920 shops around the country and recorded more than $250 million in sales in 2010, maintaining its top market position.
However, there is a growing need for its “differentiation strategy” to outplay competitors and late starters and keep its dominance in the market.
“We needed a new strategy to help differentiate us from competitors and to keep our market share leadership position,” says Seon-yeong Park, part leader of the Design Team of THEFACESHOP. “For this, the design team decided to create a new package that can tell our brand’s story while capturing the eyes of the customers with differentiated containers and designs. However, it was not easy to apply this idea to tube products. Our existing tube packaging had limited billboard space to make strong enough visual expressions. Also, the unbalance of color and texture between the pressure-sensitive label and substrate could decrease high-end brand image. Therefore, we wanted to focus on the visual presentation of the brand’s core value – naturalism.”
For example, before the launch of its new Flower Touch hand lotion, THEFACESHOP considered the original design, which placed the label around the whole tube container. Because hand lotion is an item most women carry with them in their bags, THEFACESHOP wanted the label to communicate a new product that richly expressed the brand and product image, while at the same time adding aesthetic cues.
However, there were many difficulties in realizing such a design. First, the hand lotion tube was small, as was the label. The small space created limits in expressing the graphic design they wanted.
n an effort to find a solution to leverage as much of the tube real estate as possible, THEFACESHOP looked at similar package examples overseas to find a way of utilizing the tube container surface in the design as much as possible. Additionally, the company visited converters to seek their advice about whether it was possible to print the design using the entire space of the tube label. However, the converters answered that they have not dealt with appropriate pressure-sensitive labels in Korea that could cover up to the sealing area of the tube. They also said it would be difficult to manufacture such labels due to its high cost.
Package Design Helps Deliver A Brand Story
THEFACESHOP had been collecting information about the application of tube labels for a year. Recently, its plans solidified after meeting with Avery Dennison Korea, which recently promoted end user marketing operations in full-scale for health and personal care (HPC) labeling.
“We could produce the tube label THEFACESHOP wanted by using our white polyethylene product,” says Charlie Baek, HPC segment leader of Avery Dennison Korea. “We have already succeeded in realizing the type of design THEFACESHOP needed through Avery Dennison China. So, we knew we would succeed in convincing THEFACESHOP that we could realize the design they wanted.
“From the development to the testing of the product, the sales and marketing teams as well as the technical team at Avery Dennison Korea cooperated fully to bring the best result that the customer wanted,” Baek says. “The ‘Crimp through Tube Label’ in particular was the model that could apply the pressure-sensitive label to the entire surface of the tube. It fully and beautifully represents the things the brand wants to imply. It also compared very favorably with the direct printing technique. Finally, it can express more natural and rich colors that are perfect for expressing THEFACESHOP brand position.”
Looking At The Label From All Angles
Avery Dennison Korea provided a multilateral marketing approach that considered not only the physical labeling-related matters, but also the packaging and label design that customers want. It took this approach as a way to provide the best solution suited to THEFACESHOP’s strategy to increase the area on the package to which the design can be applied, secure the meaning behind the brand, execute a graphics platform that ensures the package resonates with the appropriate consumer, and works in the retail environment by delivering shelf impact that differentiates the brand.
The label represents the initial window through which the consumer sees a product. Anything that might distract the consumer’s attention can affect how a brand is perceived. And that was a big concern for THEFACESHOP. They initially hesitated using a label like Avery Dennison Korea was recommending because it was worried whether the sealing area would burn or peel off, or whether the thick label would adhere well enough. But, Avery Dennison Korea demonstrated the impact of its labeling systems by showing successful examples from around the world. Those results helped it gain THEFACESHOP’s trust and confidence in the success of its tube label recommendations. Preparations are made for various possible errors, but the process of application was not easy.
“It was difficult to commercialize the product as the label did not stick to the tube on the crimped side,” Kyungwook Kim, sales representative for Avery Dennison Korea said. “Also, the ink peeled off from the label during the tape test in relation to the silver PE application for the silvery-gloss effect.”
THEFACESHOP and Avery Dennison Korea considered and tested various measures to eliminate these problems, conducted precise tests by changing the setting temperature by 10˚C to keep the label adhered on the crimped side and finally found the optimum temperature, while the exfoliation of the ink could be improved through additional top coating.
Working together, THEFACESHOP and Avery Dennison Korea considered and tested various adhesive measures and printing effects to ensure the label material met all expectations. The facestock is Fasson White PE100 TCY/S692/BG40wht, converted by Kyungsung Industry. The tubes are made of LDPE.
Power of Packaging Proven By Consumer Choice
The design that THEFACESHOP came up with perfectly captured the preference of the consumers. Although it has already been confirmed through an internal survey that its employees’ preference and satisfaction toward the product increased, the market response was far better than expected.
Judging from the product reviews posted by consumers in their blogs, the new Flower Touch product has established a strong presence with consumers. These and other responses give a firm impression that the package design has made a good impression with customers. And they are satisfied with the product quality: “I was walking by THEFACESHOP and the flower print captured my eyes and I went in and bought both kinds of hand lotions,” a blogger said. Said another: “I was impressed once by the image that perfectly fits the freshness of spring and again after I used it, and once more by the scent. In words, it’s a lovely hand lotion.”
Even though the success rate of new products is quite low in the Korean market, the Flower Touch hand lotion is considered one of them due to it maintaining continuously high sales volume.
“Our design project, this time with Avery Dennison, was successful,” Park says. “The product is gaining favorable responses with consumers. We searched for new differentiation strategies in the market this time, and through this renewal it became a great achievement of our team. Also, the company acknowledged the importance of design once again through this project. My confidence as a designer has grown, and it is my personal joy.”