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New General Market: Brands look to build emotional connections

Brands that successfully connect with consumers do so at both an emotional and practical level, according to panelists at the New General Market Purpose-Driven Summit this summer.

Moderator Dan Mack of Mack Elevation framed the discussion around the need for companies to have a purpose and corporate calling that creates an emotional connection. Four vendors shared how they perceive their purpose as it relates to consumers.

“At Bausch + Lomb, we’re focused on helping people have healthy eyes to be able to live their fullest lives,” said panelist Chris Marschall, vice president of marketing at Bausch + Lomb. He described two promotional efforts that reflect this purpose.

The “Why Eye Fight” campaign sought to connect with consumers over the age 65 years old who have age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. The company featured several videos of real people sharing their stories this past February for AMD Awareness Month, generating almost a million social engagements.

“The campaign was designed to inspire people, helping them to understand the reason for why they fight for their vision,” Marschall said. “In doing so, we created a real sense of community for people who live with AMD.

The other promotional effort spoke to younger contact lens wearers who spend a lot of time using digital media. .

The campaign revolved around “biotruths,” which Marschall described as “culturally relative moments where people may experience contact lens dryness.”

He said millions of people engaged with the campaign, noting how relevant these situations are to their day to day lives.

Beth St. Raymond, director of shopper marketing and merchandising at Edgewell Personal Care, the parent company of Schick, Edge, Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat and other brands, said the company has embraced an educational approach to the sun care category as a whole.

“We have what we think is a good solution around category education,” St. Raymond said. “That helps us partner a lot — people understand that we are trying to take a category approach and help with the categories.”

Embracing Diversity
Glenn McCloskey, vice president of sales at Milani Cosmetics, said the family-owned company takes its purpose around cultural diversity and inclusion seriously, and it is reflected not only in its customer base but in its employee composition, as well.

“It’s part of our DNA,” McCloskey said. “The best teams are the ones that really like each other and get along. They tend to perform better. I do think that’s one of our unique competitive advantages — the family atmosphere.”

The employee base, which draws from the company’s hometown of East Los Angeles, is a reflection of the customer base, he said.

“Every ethnic group is represented in a 20-mile radius [of the headquarters],” he said. “They’re the people that work for us, and they’re the people that we sell product to, so it’s a great match.”

Debbie Alsup, senior director of the Walmart team at Paris Presents, said the company’s EcoTools brand started with the intention to “create a brush collection that was not only environmentally friendly, but chic, high quality and affordable, too.”

“It’s all about empowering women to really find that confidence they have,” Alsup said. “I could talk a lot about all the different things that we’re doing and all the money that we’re giving away, but really, when it gets right down to it, it’s that personal one-on-one that we have with each consumer, that we transform that power of beauty into empowerment for women.”

This story is part of a Special Report on the New General Market Purpose-Driven Summit — to read more insights, click here
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