Live Clean has signed its first digital influencer, Mara Ferreira, a lifestyle blogger. Her blog, M Loves M, is expected to help educate American consumers about the Live Clean portfolio that launched in the U.S. in January.
Live Clean, the number-one natural brand in Canada, features hair care, body washes, hand soaps and baby. The formulas are at least 97 percent plant derived and free of sulfates, phthalates, petroleum, parabens, silicone, DEA and phosphates. The packaging is recyclable and the formulas are biodegradable. In just three months, Live Clean has been added to shelves in major retailers including Target, Rite Aid, Kroger and Walgreens.
Industry sources think the brand can hit big in the U.S. as Americans seek out products with fewer harmful ingredients with the potential to topple $20 million in first year sales. According to Kline, the natural personal-care market expanded by 9 percent to $5.4 billion last year and should grow by 40 percent in the next five years.
But with a flood of new items claiming “natural” positioning, consumer education will be paramount, according to Roseann Fernandez, head of marketing for Live Clean. Influencers will play a role.
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After sifting through countless influencers, Live Clean zeroed in on Ferreira, not so much for her reach — she has more than 130,000 on Instagram, 10,000 on Facebook and thousands more for her blog — but for her engagement with fans. “At the end of the day, she becomes our brand ambassador,” said Fernandez, head of marketing for Live Clean. “We have a wide range of categories and we wanted someone who really ‘gets’ our business, uses the products and embodies what Live Clean stands for. She’s like a cool best friend.” What Live Clean wanted to avoid was influencers who just collect paychecks for mentions.
As an added benefit, Ferreira just had a baby so can speak to Live Clean’s blossoming baby business. “She’s one of those Millennial moms who is reading labels and asking if ingredients in products are what she wants to use on her baby. Products our mothers used have changed.”
The baby collection in Live Clean is becoming a gateway for many consumers. Debuting in Whole Foods, the lineup is also set for Kroger, Meijer, Buy Buy Baby and other major chains. “We’ve had great response to baby,” said Fernandez, adding the M Loves M blog will help teach new moms about ingredients. “There are a lot of pseudo natural brands out there so education is important. Also, new moms need to know that just because a product isn’t super bubbly, it doesn’t mean it isn’t working.”
Although demand for “better for you” products are reaching fever pitch Fernandez agreed there is market confusion.
That’s why the company is kicking its marketing campaign into overdrive. In addition to signing Ferreira to a one-year contract, Live Clean activated a new web site and will shortly introduce print advertising and a social media effort. The advertising is designed to stand out in the field. The baby creative, for example, features a baby and a dad versus the traditional female figure. Industry sources estimate Hain is pumping more than $25 million into marketing including advertising, social media and a robust sampling program.
Along with content, the web site has a link to purchase from Amazon. “We’re trying to make it as seamless as possible,” she added.
Live Clean introduced several new items at Expo West last month including body lotions to complement its existing collections — Fresh Water, Argan Oil and Coconut Milk. A new entry is Bali Oil. Sheer Light Skin Perfecting Oil collection is also new on the roster, a cleaner and value option to Bio-Oil.
For baby, the company has Baby Basics, which are chemical free options to traditional baby standbys such as petroleum jelly and talc powder.
Hain-Celestial has all bases covered in the natural realm with Avalon Organics, Alba Botanics and Jason and the newly brought to the U.S. Live Clean appeals to shoppers who might just be discovering better for you formulas at a value. Live Clean also offers efficacy at value pricing. All items are priced at $5.99, with the exception of the hand soap at $4.99.
“We feel this appeals to the crossover consumer. A lot of work went into this line to find that middle ground where we can offer products that don’t have the ingredients causing consumer concern, yet offer obtainable price points,” Fernandez explained.