The big personal care players, including L’Oreal, Estee Lauder and Unilever, have well established social media campaigns aimed at staying ahead of key consumer trends, but now Symrise is getting in on the act to clue in on what is hot.
It is the development of ingredients that gives personal care products the look, feel and fragrance that make consumers come back for more, so getting it right is crucial in this hugely competitive market.
“You can’t study today’s consumers using yesterday’s methods,” said Dr. Dag Piper, global director for Symrise’s sensory and consumer sciences division.
Traditionally consumer research has consisted of surveys and focus groups to gather information about what consumers want, but these methods lack interactivity and often leave out vital snippets of information that can help in the development of more targeted and functional products.
Social media has become one of the big buzz words in marketing and advertising circles, with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace proving to be vital tools for company’s wishing to promote their brands and products in a less conventional and more direct manner.
Gauge preferences of younger demographic
Likewise, it is also proving to be an excellent barometer to gauge consumers preferences, particularly the younger demographic, which tends to pick up on key consumer trends quicker.
The pretext of the social networking platform is simple: a target group is started around a key topic and new ideas are introduced in an effort to find out what specific product qualities or characteristics are most relevant.
For example, ‘what’s the maximum amount of time you would devote for a leave-in conditioner?’ or ‘do you prefer a face scrub to have larger or smaller granules?’
Because the context is more natural and the respondents do so entirely of their own volition, it is believed that the responses are more authentic and revealing.
Symrise says it has carried out an initial campaign to discover reactions from groups concerning citrus flavouring and healthy eating, stating that it has had a ‘meaningful’ response.
“We can’t ignore new media and media formats when conducting consumer research,” said Dr. Piper. “They offer us authentic, unfiltered consumer feedback – the potential here is simply immense."