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Looking Their Best

The top 12 cosmetics and skin care brands ranked by customer loyalty.

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The top 12 cosmetics and skin care brands ranked by customer loyalty.

This story first appeared in the February 14, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

New York-based Brand Keys Inc., a brand and customer loyalty research firm, has exclusively provided WWD with the top-ranked cosmetics and skin care brands from its 2008 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. A total of 3,200 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age, were screened for being users of cosmetics (lips, eyes and/or face), and were asked which cosmetics brand they bought most recently. They were then asked to rank the brand on Brand Keys’ four category loyalty and engagement drivers: how it makes them look and/or feel; the amount of trust they have in the brand and how much knowledge the brand has of the consumer; the level of innovation and if the brand provides the best care for the face and skin, and whether the brand has effortless application, is antiaging, revitalizes and transforms the consumer.

*1. MAYBELLINE
Customer Loyalty Engagement Index Score: 128
“This brand does particularly well — and the values resonate: Maybelline ranked extraordinarily higher on making the consumer look and feel good. They’re also ahead on effortless transformation. This is a very strong brand,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys Inc. In fact, the best-selling mascara on store shelves is Maybelline’s Great Lash: Its bright pink-and-green packaging has been visible in drugstores for more than three decades. Coming this year is the brand’s foray into minerals, a category that at mass totals about $80 million, WWD reported in December.

*2. MARY KAY
Score: 128
Though Mary Kay isn’t your typical mass brand found in a local Duane Reade, it has a loyal following — and it seems that alternative forms of marketing are helping out this 44-year-old direct seller of beauty products, based near Dallas. WWD reported in October that companies like Mary Kay, which employs consultants worldwide to sell its products, are recognizing the potential of putting a personal slant on their brands by using Facebook.com to promote their events and to share tips.

3. ESTEE LAUDER
Score: 127
WWD reported this month that the New York-based Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. reported a 7.7 percent increase in second-quarter profits. Its global sprawl is helping to shield the beauty firm from a weakening U.S. market. By category for the entire company, makeup sales gained 15.4 percent to $827.3 million. Best-selling products for the brand itself include its Estée Lauder Signature Lipstick and its Resilience Lift Extreme cream. Passikoff said the brand’s most notable strength, according to respondents: trust. “It ranks highest as a trusted brand over the other three key drivers,” he said.

†4. LANCOME
Score: 126
Last year, Lancôme said it had initiatives in place to shore up its treatment and fragrance businesses, while boosting its presence on the Internet. “The brand aims to reinforce its skin care offering with the relaunch of Rénergie Microlift, or Rénergie Morpholift as it’s called in Europe, and bolster its best-selling Trésor fragrance with the unveiling of Kate Winslet as its spokeswoman,” said WWD. In addition, the L’Oréal-owned brand has signed on actresses Juliette Binoche and Laura Morante to be the ambassadors of its Rénergie and Absolue skin care lines, respectively.

†5. CLINIQUE
Score: 126
This Estée Lauder-owned brand ranks “highest on innovation,” said Passikoff. “The value attached to this brand is its innovative nurturing: It’s all about what it does to the consumer — it moisturizes well and provides the best care for their face, according to our respondents.” The brand recently launched its Acne Solutions Clear Skin System. And last month, WWD reported that Clinique inked an agreement with global pharmaceutical giant Allergan, which will result in a specialized line of Clinique-branded products to be sold only in doctors’ offices.

†6. L’OREAL
Score: 126
“L’Oréal has done a wonderful job in communicating to their consumers — that’s where this brand really stands out and is consistent with who they want to be,” noted Passikoff. Last month, L’Oréal reported fourth-quarter 2007 sales hit 4.42 billion euros, or $6.41 billion at average exchange. Jean Paul Agon, L’Oréal’s ceo, told analysts he expects the company’s 2008 sales growth to come in at between 6 and 8 percent. Between 2009 and 2013, L’Oréal will renovate its headquarters in the Paris suburb of Clichy.

‡7. CHANEL
Score: 124
Chanel is revving up its skin care business this spring. The Hydramax + Active Collection, due next month, is a “next-generation” incarnation of the Hydramax franchise. Industry sources estimated that the Hydramax + Active Collection could do upward of $10 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year on counters. “Chanel ranks highly as a trusted brand,” said Passikoff. “In fairness, this brand has done a magnificent job managing all their categories — fragrance, clothing, accessories. That’s why it resonates so well with its customers.”

‡8. MAX FACTOR
Score: 124
“This brand’s heritage is really the whole Hollywood ‘glam factor,'” said Passikoff of the Procter & Gamble Co.-owned brand. Max Factor himself was a makeup artist for the Russian Royal Ballet. When his family moved to Los Angeles in the early 1900s, Factor opened his first store in the center of the city’s theatrical district. Said Passikoff: “Factor’s expertise was in effortless transformation, one of our customer loyalty drivers. It’s all about the close-up perfection that one needs for Hollywood, and the fact that, if you look at the needs — firming, revitalizing, long-lasting — it’s everything they are.”

§9. COVER GIRL
Score: 123
This year is looking to be quite a year for Cover Girl. The brand, whose celebrity spokeswomen have included the likes of Keri Russell, Rihanna, Christie Brinkley and Queen Latifah, hinted at an image overhaul in August, when it tapped Drew Barrymore as co-creative director on print advertisements for a new mascara, LashBlast. She also appears in the ads. In addition, the brand is a sponsor of “America’s Next Top Model,” hosted by Tyra Banks. “Cover Girl speaks to a wide, diverse audience,” said Passikoff. “Its strength drivers…are the trust and effortless transformation factors.”

§10. NEUTROGENA
Score: 123
“This brand’s innovation is driving customer loyalty,” said Passikoff. “And the innovation is coming from the skin care background of this brand. Neutrogena always seems to have different products on the shelves than other brands. That reflects in this ranking.” Owned by Johnson & Johnson, Neutrogena, which markets skin and body care products in the mass market, has an impressive lineup of celebrity names as spokeswomen: Actress Diane Lane recently signed on to represent the brand, joining Jennifer Garner, Kelly Preston and Gabrielle Union as faces for the firm.

11. REVLON
Score: 122
There’s one key driver that could be holding this $1 billion brand back in the marketplace: innovation. “This is a brand that everyone knows — they’ve got that — but it’s missing out on being innovative. I think if you stop and think about how they position themselves, it’s certainly mass, and it’s a wide range of products. But it’s not read by customers as being innovative,” said Passikoff. Parent Revlon Inc.’s ceo, David Kennedy, has been attempting to ignite profitable sales growth by instituting a new product launch program, WWD reported late last year.

12. AVON
Score: 120
“Respondents who use this brand like how the products make them look and feel, and the products take effortless application, but they’re weak as an innovator, and they’re not as high as a trusted brand,” said Passikoff. The company last week reported a 17 percent surge in fourth-quarter revenues, but net earnings were hampered by costs due to the company’s turnaround effort. Plans for the near future, WWD reported, “will focus on sustaining top-line growth and fortifying Avon’s global brand equity.”

SOURCE: NEW YORK-BASED BRAND KEYS’ CUSTOMER LOYALTY ENGAGEMENT INDEX SURVEY; THE OVERALL STUDY IS CONDUCTED TWICE A YEAR AND IS SET TO BE RELEASED MONDAY; A TOTAL OF 3,200 CONSUMERS ACROSS THE NINE U.S. CENSUS REGIONS ARE REPRESENTED SPECIFICALLY WITHIN THE COSMETICS CATEGORY OF THE STUDY; HAIR CARE AND FRAGRANCE BRANDS WERE NOT INCLUDED IN THE STUDY; *, †, ‡, § INDICATE TIES

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