Sometimes marketers simply list multiple, exploitable benefits of a product. For example, a shampoo is primarily designed to cleanse hair but it also leaves hair smelling fresh and sexy? While this secondary benefit may seem trivial to the for-mulator, it may be an important fact that the marketer can choose to exploit. Such "trivial" benefits can make good label copy claims, and we urge the reader to consider these secondary product benefits when helping marketing to develop claims.
Similarly, copy writers may dissect a single performance benefit to make it sound more impressive. For example, advertising claims that describe a product's ability to soften and smooth hair, and make it more manageable, are essentially referring to the single technical benefit of conditioning. While this distinction might seem unimportant to the formulator, it is of paramount importance to marketers because it allows them to differentiate their product from the competition. Formulators should strive to leverage their knowledge of formula characteristics and look for "hidden" claims that may be useful in marketing. Chemists need to recognize that it is not necessary to base every claim to multifunctionality on quantifiable performance differences.
5 WHY MULTIFUNCTIONALITY IS SO POPULAR 5.1 Increasing Consumer Expectations
In the opinion of the authors, multifunctional products are becoming increasingly popular for three key reasons: increasing consumer expectations, maturing cosmetic technology, and expanding marketing demands. The first reason is related to consumers' desire for products that can perform more than one function; people are demanding more performance from products of all types. This trend can be seen in many product categories beyond personal care: sport-utility vehicles are cars that also behave like trucks; computers are not just calculating devices but are also entertainment centers that play CDs and DVDs; telephones are not just for verbal communication, they are capable of scanning and faxing documents. Today even a simple stick of chewing gum is expected to perform like a cavity-fighting sword of dental hygiene. The same set of growing expectations has affected the market for personal care products as well. While shampoos were once expected to simply cleanse hair, the simultaneous delivery of conditioning or color protection a benefits as well is anticipated in many cases.
5.2 Maturing Technology
A second factor driving the rise of multifunctional personal care products has to do with the level of maturity of the technology used to create cosmetics. As cosmetic science has matured, it has become increasingly difficult for formulators to improve upon any single aspect of a product's performance. Consider cleansing products like shampoos or soap bars. For centuries, all these products were based on soaps, which are saponified fatty acids. Because of their surfactant nature, soaps are able to remove dirt and grease from a variety of surfaces. However, soaps also tend to dry the skin and can combine with hard water ions to form insoluble deposits, resulting in the notorious "bathtub ring." During the 1940s, advances in organic chemistry led to synthetic detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate and a-olefin sulfonates, which were vastly superior in performance to soap. Today, the majority of cleansing products (including some bar soaps) use synthetic detergents. Surfactant technology has continued to evolve over the last 50 years, yet the same compounds created in the 1940s are still widely used because they are still highly functional and economical.
Surfactant technology has become so sophisticated that most improvements are incremental: synthesis chemists may succeed in making new molecules that are somewhat milder or that are more easier to manufacture, but it is very difficult to produce new raw materials that provide dramatically improved performance that is perceivable by the consumer. Of course, this is not meant to say that there have been no new ingredient-based technological breakthroughs in the last five decades; chemists continue to create new polymers that are more effective conditioning agents and film formers. But for many product categories, it can be difficult for formulators to make "quantum leaps" in improving the basic performance of their products because the raw materials they are using are already highly effective and cost-efficient. To create new products that demonstrate additional consumer-perceivable benefits, formulators attempt to add additional functionality to their products. Instead of concentrating on "better" cleaning, formulators have began to add secondary properties, such as conditioning and moisturizing.
By combining more than one function into a single product, formulators can satisfy growing consumer expectations. In fact, certain performance attributes that were at one time viewed as incompatible or mutually exclusive (such as simultaneous shampooing and conditioning of hair or concurrent cleansing and moisturizing of skin) can now be combined in single products.
The third reason for increasing multifunctionality comes from the business sector: marketers have become increasingly bold in their attempts to differentiate their products from their competitors'. To increase consumer appeal in this competitive age, marketers claim that their products will save consumers time by performing
■a more than one duty at once. This strategy requires marketers to add multiple functions to their products. Thus, products that claim to have "three-in-one" functionality attempt to outdo those that are merely "two-in-ones."
The impact of these three factors has made it very important for formulators to look for ways to diversity the functionality of their products. Indeed, formula-tors who stay competitive in the market place are constantly striving to satisfy these diverse consumer expectations.
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