Guest column: Building brands through regimens

05 Aug,2013

By Ashita Sarin


I was at the supermarket on a recent weekend, replenishing some of my skin care products when I came across products to cleanse, exfoliate, and scrub, moisture as well as serums, pore refiners, and masks. These were sold in a range with specific instructions to use them in sequential order of 1, 2 and 3.


This got me thinking about the phenomenon of regimen. There has been an influx of products in the market, which seemed to be packaged as a combination deal, which will then provide optimum results.


Regimen speaks to an outcome that is in fact tangible, but only if the process is followed or as defined, regulated. It helps one get positive results, quite a motivator, indeed.


How has this come about?

Quite simply it is owing to enhanced disposable income. Based on this marketers have invested in product development and launched products that cater to these “new needs. They get to package a number of products with the promise of greater efficiency if used in combination. L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Kiehls, Clinique are just some of the  brands that boast a cleanser, a serum and a moisturizer to be used in combination to get the desired results of beautiful, glowing skin.


Increased media exposure reinforces the focus on “glowing, flawless, youthful appearance” and consumers have a keen interest in additional products that will deliver. One cold cream doesn’t suffice. The consumer has access to and wants more for “perpetual youth”. Yesteryear’s cream has been replaced with serum, lotion, and sunscreen, and pore minimize or radiance boosters.


Amongst categories wherein regimen is more prevalent, skin care pops up as a top runner.



The study above shows that the online search is highest with regard to the skin care category.


There is an influx of products and brands for hair and skin care. Brands like Garnier, Vaseline, Nivea Olay, Lakme, Sunsilk, L’Oreal have all infiltrated the market with regimen based product lines.


With skin care as opposed to body care, the “visibility” factor is high hence willingness to invest is much higher.


The space is now occupied with products that promise to cleanse, tone, exfoliate, hydrate, protect, moisturize,


The primary focus is on anti aging care. The Indian consumer is not only aware of more than a cold cream, but she is concentrating on safeguarding her youth. Serums, creams, lotions and capsules together promise to arrest the clock.


So what makes this promise believable? Why are women willing to believe that not one but a combination of six (somewhat expensive) products will give them the glow, radiance and plumpness associated with youth?


A combination of high research molecules, naturals, exotic ingredients, high advertising expenditure and brand credibility elevates believability. Cosmetic companies spend millions every year on product research and marketing.


Regimen based products do a few things very well.  They create a combination platform. It is difficult to be informed enough to chose one part from a brand and another from a different brand. This creates a preconceived platform in the consumers mind in terms of efficacy and the need to purchase all products to get the desired effect. Anti aging range from brands such as Ponds, Garnier, Olay, Kiehls, Body Shop all communicate the need for products to work in tandem,


These products also carry tangible cues such as additives like amino acids, retinol, hyaluronic acid, sirutin technology, RX technology, antioxidants, more organic like narcissus, lavender, primrose oil, rose essence etc all of which are either patented or awaiting patenting. These terms lead consumers to believe that the regimen recommended products do in fact have the right ingredients to come together and create paramount benefits.



Brands in India that have created a niche for themselves in the anti ageing regimen range are Olay and Ponds Age Miracle. Studies below show, that in terms of awareness as well as brand penetration, these two brands and their product lines are well received.


So what are they doing differently to the other players in the market? Consistency and an established frequency of communication across media ensure that consumers get the same message at all times. The benefits attached to a regimen where step 1, 2 and 3 contribute to an overarching effect not achieved by any one product but all recommended is what helps create a convincing platform for consumers.



But this has to be based in something deeper, something more in tune with who we are as human beings. Do we like regimen because we like order? As children we are taught – when to wash, brush, bathe, drink milk, go to school, do homework, play, go to bed, etc. Regimen seems to be established at an early age. Is the stage for 1, 2, 3 set very early in life and is this something that marketers are cashing in on?


Would this move into other categories like oral care? Could we establish principles for brush, floss, gargle, whiten, brighten and create different products for these functions? Or even for fabric care. Detergent, softener, dryer sheets, black, stain remover.


I guess it depends on product research that will establish a sequence for optimum benefit and then plug into our desire for regimen.


For now I’m warding off old age, with my 1, 2, 3 step skin routine.


Ashita Sarin, Senior GM – Marketing at DY Works


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