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Case Study: The launch of Colorbar’s fifth category

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colourbar-logoBackground: A quiet starter, Colorbar Cosmetics entered the Indian market in 2004 with the vision to touch every woman with color. Today it is the fastest growing color cosmetics brand in the country. Spread across more than 600 outlets in the traditional markets, Colorbar is quick to launch both color and product trends. It introduced the concept of pop-up stores or retail kiosks in the country, thus creating a route to launch itself at multiple retail touch points, in both urban metros as well as Tier 2 cities, exposing the brand to a larger spectrum of consumers.

Objective: Colorbar is known to have a strong understanding of the pulse of the market and is constantly looking for need gaps to launch innovative product solutions. The brand has a strong portfolio in its four categories. Colorbar decided to launch the fifth category to fill a growing need in the market.

Challenge: In early 2012, the Colorbar in-house research team came across a unique finding. The traditional Indian market was flooded with all kinds of Makeup accessories with many players selling makeup brushes and tools. Eye shadows, blushers and compacts sold in the market almost always came along with applicators. But as experienced cosmetic users one could easily conclude that these applicators did not have the right functionality and would not do justice to the application of the product. Secondly, none of the players in the market were educating consumers on the importance of hygiene in products. Colorbar knew there was a growing need for accessories and dissemination of knowledge about them. It was a challenge to come up with a solution that addressed both these gaps in the market.

colourbar-shopExecution: The execution began with a need gap analysis. The Colorbar team brainstormed, detailed out a research plan and started with extensive secondary research wherein they studied and evaluated all the makeup accessories available in the market. The team then conducted primary research amongst 35 internal consumers to understand the attitude of Indian women towards usage of makeup applicators. The study successfully confirmed their findings. Primarily done across a consumer profile of urban working professionals in the age groups of early 20s to early 30s, the research showed up some interesting results:

Research Findings

  •  Most women were keen to achieve the glamorous looks in magazines and television shows, but lacked the know-how to achieve it. While most beauty tutorials discussed the kinds of color palettes and products to use, the application of the same was not always available to them or explained in an easy-to-do manner.
  • The study also showed that most women were keen to experiment with different colors and styles in makeup but were often hindered by a lack of knowledge, especially in terms of availability of various types of tools for various needs, their technique, ways to blend, color mixing, application etc
  • There was also a need for the demystification of ‘Beauty Tools’ as something that was to be enjoyed as well as flaunted

Apart from the focus groups, the brand managers also noticed customer queries on routine store visits where they got to interact with consumers. While the demand for color cosmetics in India had significantly increased, correct usage of the same was still a grey area for many women, and this hindered their ability to try new products. The consumer profiling in stores revealed that women had many questions about the correct techniques to use color cosmetics and were looking for easy- to- use tools that would not intimidate them.

Product Development: Colorbar sources its products and ingredients from foreign suppliers . For the same the team visits Cosmoprof, the biggest expo for color cosmetics, every year. While interacting with the various suppliers, the team came across a beautiful range of makeup accessories that catered exactly to what the team was looking for. The team quickly worked with the suppliers to develop the first cut concepts, picking and working on products that were most needed by the Indian woman. Once the range prototype was ready to be shipped to India, the team called together a panel of 300 Beauty Advisors to test the same with them. As per the feedback from the concept testing module, the team not only loved the range, they clearly saw the difference the tools brought about in their makeup application. The tools enabled them to pick the right amount of color and blend their makeup perfectly. They were also able to explore their creativity in eye makeup application with tools like curlers, smudgers, liners and definers. They did not have to use their fingers anymore.

The Result: The Colorbar team launched Colorbar Accessories with 21 SKUs ranging from makeup brushes to foundation sponges to perfection tools like tweezers and eye-lash curlers to manicure and pedicure tools in February 2013. The Marketing Concept was unique –“ Beauty Tools for the Make-up loving woman”. The idea behind this line was to focus on both ‘function’ and ‘form’ of the range. The concept evolved from a simple thought – when your makeup looks lovely why your accessories should look so drab. That’s why they were called ‘Beauty Tools’. The look of the range was an extension of the brand DNA – which is color. The makeup brushes had colored pink, orange and red fibers. All the other SKUs also followed the same color palette.
The range was used and appreciated by beauty editors and bloggers alike. The retailers extended their support in placing the brand in their outlets and giving it focus inside the shop environment. The team had successfully launched an Accessories range from Colorbar which resonated the brand’s philosophy of color, quality and innovation. Currently Colorbar Accessories range is available at more than 400 outlets in traditional markets, 28 Colorbar Exclusive stores and online portals including the Colorbar website.

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