With the growing concern surrounding environmental issues and awareness in this day and age (the more the merrier in my opinion), the idea of ‘sustainability’ can be found in almost every aspect of society. But what exactly does the term ‘sustainability’ mean, and how does it affect or impact your business?
The reality of the matter is that there isn’t much difference between safe and sustainable formulation in personal care products. While it’s true that a safe formula may not necessarily be sustainable, the two often go hand in hand. Sustainable products are likely to be safe, and safe products are often be made in a sustainable manner.
Why does this matter to you as a private label business, or even as a manufacturer? Recent studies conducted by Mintel indicate that consumers are more likely to buy products in the skin, health or hair care sectors that have either been formulated with natural ingredients.
This is largely because people have become aware of the effects of harmful chemicals contained in their products. In order to lead a healthier life, they have started avoiding these chemicals (and the products that contain them) altogether. Furthermore, consumers are more likely to spend money on a new formula or combination of ingredients that they’ve never tried before. There’s something about innovation that really attracts our attention – even among the most brand loyal of consumers.
The idea of safe, cutting edge and sustainable innovation goes beyond a product line. Safety, innovation and sustainability need to be integrated into your entire brand, as this will help to enforce your brand identity and convince consumers that you’re ‘the real deal.’
In a market that’s widely saturated with OEM (Other Equipment Manufacturers) and private label products, having a formula that stands out can really give you the edge when it comes to increasing your market reach and profit margins. So investigating, or investing in a safer method of product innovation can make the difference in terms of your brands success.
If you’re considering starting a brand from scratch or possibly making a few changes to your preexisting label then this is a great place to start.
Why Consumers Care About Safe Formulation
As I mentioned in the opening section of the article, people are becoming more aware of the effects that harmful chemicals have on their bodies, and in turn, on the environment. Obviously, this is a good thing. The more we do about this issue, the better.
However, this does mean that consumers have come to expect more on behalf of brands than they have in the past. One could say that there is gradual shift in the marketplace, a changing of the tides – and those who aren’t going with the flow, are liable to be left behind.
A lot of businesses are either afraid of this issue or are simply uninterested. The results in formulas that aren’t updated to modern standards/expectations and ultimately a decline in sales – especially in personal care.
In fact, the same study carried out by Mintel proves that products which don’t change their formulas tend to suffer in the marketplace. For instance, the facial and skincare sector saw an average decrease of 1.4 percent in annual returns over the 2014-2015 period in the US alone.
That may sound like a small amount of percent, but when you’re looking at an industry that’s worth roughly $7 billion, that amount is actually quite large. However, the main issue with regards to changing your formula to a natural, more sustainable version is that manufacturers often have to weigh the pros and cons of doing so.
Quite often, using safe or natural ingredients means that your product will suffer slightly in terms of effectiveness. Or rather, will not be as effective as, say, a formula created by a pharmaceutical chemist utilizing an array of chemicals. This basically means that you need to focus on creating products whose benchmarks are realistic and achievable within the natural product category. This way, you can meet individual expectations of consumers in that sector, rather than the industry as a whole.
The benefits you’ll get from going this route far outweigh the adjustments you’ll need to make to your brand as people have come to expect a minimum performance standard from their brands in terms of sustainability. If however, you don’t think that overhauling your entire brand in order to achieve this is viable, you could consider extending your product line.
This means creating a separate line that specifically caters for safe, sustainable formula innovation and won’t put your entire brand at risk in the process. This also gives you more room for formula innovation and experimentation, as well as diversifying your brand and thereby your target market.
Why You Should Care About New Technologies
Technology has always played a vital role in terms of shaping the function and, in many cases, the direction of society as we know it. In terms of the business world, the advent of new technologies can be either a force of disruption, or an active proponent of change or innovation.
The outcome is largely based on whether you and your business are ready for the now seemingly constant arrival of new machines, gadgets and technological advances modern society seems geared towards. Hypothetically, according to Moore’s law, a theory coined by physicist Gordon Moore in 1965, the world will be a very different place even 10 years from now.
He predicted that because of the rate at which new transistors could be made smaller, you could therefore fit more on per circuit board. This basically meant that a chip could be made smaller and smaller, as well as offering more processing power roughly twice a year.
This ultimately meant that man has had more access to raw processing power than ever before – a factor which has greatly changed the way technology, in all forms, has affected our lives. This great leap in technological innovation has been one of the main reasons for the rise of private label or OEM brands in recent years due to the fact that most industrial modes of manufacturing have become cost-effective and automated to a large degree.
But how does this directly impact you and your business? The main reason why you should be aware of technological options, upgrades or changes in your sector of choice is because ignoring them could cost you time, money as well as the overall efficiency of your business in a competitive world.
It’s true that the nature of the OEM realm of business is based on not having to worry about the nature of the products creation – more the branding/stocking side of things. But true success requires honing in on a variety of elements that directly affect your overall business.
This includes an understanding of the softer aspects of branding such as your logo, marketing strategy and business plan as well as a more hardline grasp on product design, distributing and budgeting. Understanding and utilizing the technological changes in the marketplace and manufacturing sector would give you better oversight of the related sector as well as the foresight to avoid market disruption in the future.
The best way to grow your brand is to embrace innovation and keep up with the changes. This will help you create a better product, and ultimately a brand that is well-suited to the trends and changes of the market place and abreast with advantage of the times.
How To Market Your Safe Products
Knowing what you plan on selling and how you plan to sell it is something that is largely worked out before you form the product. This is done during the formation of your marketing strategy which is aimed at targeting the people who think your product(s) would appeal to.
However, the advent of new technology always tends to have both a disruptive and creative effect – simultaneously bettering half of the market and disrupting the other half. Of course this depends on the change in specifics and how the market reacts to it. Being ready to adapt to any major changes is something that will only strengthen your business or brand.
The importance of utilizing the advances of a brand that is both safely formulated and up-to-date with the latest technological or scientific standards goes hand in hand with your marketing strategy. In a market where larger companies with greater capital to invest in new technology have the upper hand, staying ahead of the curve is important for smaller private label brands.
Your brand should be a direct reflection of your business – a well-oiled, updated business is as good as strong business. Of course, there are variables outside of this that will always play a role in how your business functions, but updating your brand or formulas are good ways to maintain a strong and dynamic client base.
One truth that can often be taken from the world of marketing is that the words ‘new,’ ‘safe’ and ‘proven’ always tends to peak one’s interest. There is no direct call-to-action but rather a solid statement which is something I think resonates well with consumers. By labeling your product correctly you essentially allow the product to market itself on the shelf – but there are many ways to advertise.
Of course, the route you choose is entirely dependent on the type of brand or product you are marketing. Digital marketing has fast become one of the best and easiest ways to engage a target audience (so to speak). This is because on average, a person needs to see your ad 7 times before they remember it. Print, TV and in-store advertising are equally as effective but tend to cost more.
So it’s worth considering who your target market is and how important safe innovations and formula’s are to them in order to get an idea of how to approach your marketing strategy. The likelihood of appealing to a niche audience in the wider market is quite high and is definitely what you should be aiming for i.e. finding, creating or filling a gap in the market.
How New Technologies Save You Money
Technology is always advancing. A new technology can affect your business in a variety of ways, and it doesn’t always have to be directly related to your industry – but rather the business-manufacturing world in general.
A somewhat drastic metaphor would be the advent of safe, autonomous vehicles for our roads. This may not have a direct influence on your private label brand of soap or spices etc, but rather on the logistics sector – something which in turn affects your business.
A change like this could have a huge effect on the nature of your distribution model. You might be able to save money and prevent losses by utilizing an automated delivery system instead of having to include the rising costs of additional human labor into your budget.
While it’s true that it may be a while before something like this happens (although perhaps not too far away), the changes are bound to continue. Being up to date with them can often make the difference between a business that succeeds or fails in the long run. Not to mention, being able to create better products at less of a cost is something we’ve carried with us since the dawn of post-industrialism.
As the focus shifts from solely producing quality to products to a more service based market – wherein more companies are available to focus on designing the machines that manufacture goods, the changes to both the product and the manner in which it is made will inevitably change too. In truth, be aware of them and knowing how to react is what makes the difference.
The success of a private label brand really depends on a great deal of variables, but none is more important than keeping up with the times. While it may be true that a tried and tested product or formula can stand the test of time – most of the leading brands or companies that govern the market today have managed to do exactly that.
However, being dynamic enough to update a formula and make sure that it’s up to date with the scientific understandings or the zeitgeist of the modern era (think buzzwords like safe, user and environmentally friendly, organic and sustainable here) is just as important as good brand equity. This is where you and your private label brand have the upper hand.
Having an opportunistic mindset is an important part of being an entrepreneur and this will help you when it comes to identifying a gap in the market (formula wise) as well as any technological changes or innovations that could affect the ‘back-office’ of running a business.
Ultimately, changes should be taken note of in to prevent any major disruptions to your business. While this may mean that your product will not be able to compete with those that do make use of chemical ingredients, the market you open yourself up to with safer formulas is growing everyday. It’s worth structuring your business around this understanding or even gradually shifting your brand in this direction. Sustainable business is bound to be the model for the future and staying ahead of the curve starts today. Sustainable business starts with you.