Sorry to disappoint you but consumers (ESPECIALLY in beauty) are smarter and more ready to question than ever before. They can spot an over-inflated claim faster than a bloodhound and you’d better believe they’ll 1) ask you straight out to provide receipts or 2) take to social media to voice displeasure if you can’t (or worse is found to be trying to pull the wool over your consumers’ eyes.
Sounds cliché but consumers nowadays are passionate about their passions and will vote with their pound to support causes they care about. When you’re making certain claims for your cosmetics and skincare lines, can you back up your claims with hard facts? If you’re using the below then unfortunately it might be time to think again or be prepared to give some serious answers, and hire an expert copywriter who has specialist knowledge (HINT: that’s me).
Unless your product is ‘natural’ i.e. is absent of all artificial ingredients and processes, don’t call it natural. Your consumers now know that the term guarantees anything about the purity of a product as it’s a term that hasn’t been FDA defined and it's one of the easiest ways a brand can fall down on its promises. Referring to your product or line as natural only to have it discovered on examination that it includes some chemical or artificial ingredients can do horrendous damage. You need to be authentic and clear with what your product actually contains. If it only has 80% natural ingredients, then say it’s 80% natural and come armed with what the non-natural ingredients are – you will get asked.
‘FOR ALL SKIN TYPES’
This is an incredibly difficult promise to deliver on. Whilst many brands opt for this messaging to try to appeal to most customers (and therefore sales) it can easily become a set up for failure. Not all skin is the same, not to mention allergies to particular ingredients or underlying skin conditions which really should have dermatologist help. Think about it, if someone relies on your messaging, has an extreme reaction, and takes to social media to warn other consumers, that’s going to get picked up by the national newspapers FAST. Not what we want. If you have ingredients that can be astringent or inflammatory on some skin types its always best to communicate openly and narrow down your pool of consumers ever so slightly. Your brand’s image will thank you.
Another slightly whishy washy misnomer. Often used by skin cleansers and moisturizers, it’s a relative term to avoid communicating clearly to the consumer what it’s relevant to. It’s language that attempts to entice the consumer to make a purchase without really telling them how it accomplishes ‘maximum strength’ results. The 2020 beauty consumer is smarter than that.
This might have worked 5 years ago but once again this is simply an instantly recognizable marketing ploy (and sadly not a good one). Keep in mind that your consumer knows that “instant results” aren’t the same as long-term results. Sure, this product may give an instant hit of moisture or a quick-acting firming effect, but those results may fade after a few hours and require reapplication (read: more product) to continue the results. Consequently, the consumer reads: ‘I’ll need to buy more’, and most likely will go elsewhere.
PATENTED TECHNOLOGY / CLINICALLY PROVEN
Finally, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Whilst both these phrases may appear to be impressive sadly our consumer is savvy and if you use them, you’d better be prepared to show evidence. Clinically proven can be one of the worst offenders. Which clinics? On what testing basis? What did it prove? How do I know what you actually proved is included in this product? Are just some of the questions your consumer will be considering. Patented Technology is another tricky spot to tread as patents themselves are not necessarily a foolproof sign of a product being ground-breaking or effective. (Poor) Marketers use this language to convey innovation and superiority that their product might not necessarily have over its competitors. In some cases, patents are authorized through technicality meaning that any new combination of ingredients, methods, or product processes can be patented as long as it is new. Now, if you have robust clinical studies and a patent awarded then fantastic. Continue to shout it from the rooftops! Just don’t rely on it in its entirety.
Liked what you read? Get in touch to see if I can help you avoid further pitfalls in your messaging. It might just be the best thing you did.