With an increase in consumer focus on health after the onset of Covid, the beauty and wellness industry has seen considerable growth. Many skincare, hair care and wellness brands have lodged growth in sales numbers, and as a result, are diving into product differentiation to cater to various needs in the segment.
In an interaction with exchange4media, Manish Chowdhury, Co-Founder and Co- CEO, WOW Skin Science, shares the current and evolving trends in the beauty and wellness industry. He also explains the need for sustainable products and packaging for maintaining the wellness of the environment and shares the brand’s larger marketing strategy including associations with actresses, leveraging influencer marketing and more.
With health and hygiene taking centre stage, what is the consumer sentiment in the skincare category currently?
The pandemic has defined a new normal for us and has brought to focus a consciousness about personal wellness and hygiene. Consumers are now more aware of the importance of wellbeing, both mental and physical. Clean, minimalist beauty is the need of the hour. There is a renewed focus on natural, nature-based, and organic products. Looking good now is about how healthy your skin and hair feel in their natural state. Hence, we are seeing increasing demand for effective and targeted beauty care products. Today, consumers are looking for products that contain natural or nature-based actives minus harmful additives. Ethical and clean beauty products are part of this growing awareness.
How have you been communicating to your target audience to stay relevant? Tell us about your online and offline outreach plan in 2021.
We have leveraged the digital medium in a massive way. We are very well-connected with our target audience through Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. We create product information and brand awareness campaigns that we promote through our various social channels. We work with beauty and wellness influencers to reach out to consumers. In fact, our customer care team also keeps the dialogue open between our consumers and the brand. We plan to leverage various social media platforms this year as well since the pandemic has driven most of our consumers to the digital space.
You have collaborated with actors Bhumi Pednekar, Disha Patani, and Kareena Kapoor for different portfolios. What are the synergies between WOW and these celebs and how are you leveraging it?
As a brand, WOW Skin Science has always been focused on healthy and nature-powered sustainable beauty and our brand ambassadors showcase this perfectly. We have Bhumi Pednekar, Disha Patani and Kareena Kapoor Khan as brand ambassadors, each highlighting the best in our products through their straightforward and clean beauty and wellness messages. We partnered with Bhumi Pednekar for our skincare range to promote the concept of clean, healthy skin – Bhumi is an eco-warrior and supports sustainability causes that help our planet. We work with Disha Patani for our haircare range as she has quite a social media following and has been able to promote the concept of naturally healthy hair after using WOW Skin Science products to her community. Kareena Kapoor Khan is our brand ambassador for our Apple Cider Vinegar since she is a well-known proponent of fitness and maintaining a healthy body.
In terms of scale, how big is influencer marketing for your brand?
Since we are a digital-first brand, so using social media influencers has worked really well for us. Social media itself has had a great impact on people’s choices and their purchase decision over the last few years. When we work with influencers both macro and micro, we have had a very high level of connect with our consumers. We prefer to work with influencers whose followers have grown organically because they have been consistent with their quality of content and level of engagement. One of our latest campaigns involves Shreya Chaudhary and Pratik Gandhi which promotes the pioneering range Onion Black Seed Oil. The ROI in this case has been the consumer connect we have been able to make and stand out from the competition.
WOW Skin Science is steadily expanding into the wellness category. Please share insights behind this and new additions that you are making to this portfolio.
When WOW Skin Science was conceptualised, it was visualised to be a wellness brand. We were one of the pioneer brands to launch Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as a health drink in the Indian market. Once we garnered popularity in that segment, we realised that ACV can be used as a hero ingredient in beauty care products, and we launched the first hair care and then skin care products with ACV as the hero. We are again renewing our focus on the wellness category with health supplements. WOW Skin Science plans to become a holistic beauty brand where we deliver products to our consumers that make them look good and feel good inside out. We have an extensive wellness portfolio, and this year we are focussing on boosting them in the market.
Skincare and wellness are categories that have multiple players in the market. What is the X-factor that differentiates your brand from those players?
WOW Skin Science was one of the first few brands in the Indian market to be open about the ingredients that go into our products. We created a competitive edge by developing products without any of the harmful additives like silicone, sulphates, mineral oil, parabens and artificial colour or fragrance. This has created a strong brand recall in our customers’ minds, and they have picked up our products knowing their skin and hair were getting the best of ingredients.
With more and more players adopting eco-friendly ways, what are the sustainable trends across your sector that have changed its portrayal?
Consumers are now interested in clean beauty care solutions. The increased demand is driving the launch of new and indigenous, nature-based brands on a regular basis. One of the most important trends that are driving the beauty care market is awareness about clean living and the need to revive our environment. Products that do not contain harmful chemicals, synthetic actives and preservatives are therefore finding more buyers.
Since its inception, our focus has been to be a sustainable, earth-friendly, and skin-friendly brand. We ensure that no harmful additives go into our products. Our formulations are plant and nature-based. In most cases, sustainable beauty also means products with vegan actives and sustainable packaging. We use packaging that is biodegradable and recyclable. Over the last two to three years, we have tried to reduce plastic waste through refills, recycled plastic use and other innovative packaging methods.
How does the visibility of a complete ingredient list on the packaging of a product play a pivotal role in choosing the said product for the conscious consumer of today?
The more transparent a brand is, the stronger the consumer trust it earns. Having a comprehensive product labelling policy helps in creating consumer loyalty and bolsters the brand and user relationship. At WOW, we have always been very open about all the key ingredients that go into each of our products. We take great care to define the benefits of each so that the consumer can make an informed decision and is not disappointed with the product or the brand. The brand has grown from strength to strength over the last few years. Despite the pandemic, our sales did not really slow down, and we saw steady growth in cleansing, hair care and bathing products.
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