【英语中国】卡尼尔品牌撤出中国的教训 Lessons behind L’Oréal’s about-face

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所属分类:双语中国

2014-1-18 08:44

小艾摘要: When L’Oréal said last week it would stop selling Garnier products in China, many outsiders assumed the French cosmetics group was joining a wholesale retreat by big western brands, led by Revlon of ...
Lessons behind L’Oréal’s about-face
When L’Oréal said last week it would stop selling Garnier products in China, many outsiders assumed the French cosmetics group was joining a wholesale retreat by big western brands, led by Revlon of the US, which last month closed all its operations in mainland China, eliminating 1,100 jobs, including those of 940 beauty advisers. It all looked pretty ugly.

But the Garnier story has as many wrinkles as a Middle Kingdom matron before using its “skin brightener”

PS Cream 5s. Beneath the make-up lies a more complex picture of how (and how not) to sell big consumer brands into rapidly evolving markets.

Lesson one: choose your category carefully. China’s demanding consumers redraw the lines between luxury, premium, affordable and mass market products virtually weekly. As Gucci and Louis Vuitton know to their cost, it is hard to balance expansion and exclusivity.

Beauty products ought to be different. Once the foundation is on, or the shampoo applied, who, other than the user, knows which pot it came from?

Not so fast. As Tarek Farahat, Procter & Gamble’s president for Latin America, told a recent conference, consumers in the growing emerging market middle class are “not going to buy a Porsche or a Ferrari”, but they still want “a visible and tangible upgrade in their daily life”, which cosmetics and haircare products can provide.

These consumers are also acutely aware of the balance between price and value. Since launching Garnier in China in 2006, L’Oréal has offered its branded creams and hair colourings through supermarkets, while distributing the higher-end L’Oréal Paris range, first introduced there in 1997, through department stores. But Garnier still fell between categories. Snubbed by Chinese consumers looking for a premium product, its skincare and hair colouring products proved too expensive for those seeking a cheaper alternative.

Lesson two: you may need to sacrifice global brand consistency to local tastes. Get the scent or consistency of your creams and conditioners wrong for specific markets and your products will fail. Beyond beauty, Mondelez (formerly Kraft) changed the recipe, colour, and even shape of its Oreo cookies to win over Chinese customers, prompting some philosophical debate about when an Oreo is not an Oreo.

Lesson three: do not assume you can apply brand and marketing power in the same way, or with the same effect, across borders.

Despite the importance of Garnier to L’Oréal globally – and in Asia as a whole – it ended up accounting for only 1 per cent of the group’s total China sales. (L’Oréal says both L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline products have a strong future there.)

As Mondelez chief executive Irene Rosenfeld told investors last November, in a volatile developing economy, multinationals need to assess returns on any marketing campaign far more frequently than in developed countries.

Lesson four: act local, which means watching out for local rivals.

Take P&G’s experience in Brazil with Pantene. According to Mr Farahat, half of all Brazilians shower at least twice a day, and Brazilian women use three or four times more conditioner than Americans or Europeans. It is already the world’s second-largest market, behind the US, for haircare products. Yet on a research trip to the store, a customer told Mr Farahat she did not buy Pantene because she believed the (locally manufactured) products were imports.

While such a perception might benefit a brand in a higher category – such as the one L’Oréal Paris occupies in China – it opens it up to competition from more manoeuvrable local rivals in the supermarket. P&G had to call on Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen – persuading her to stop showering long enough to declare publicly that she lathered up using Pantene – to bolster sales.

Finally – lesson five – keep an eye on the basics. After a strong run with Oreos in China, Mondelez last year had to take action to offset “weak biscuit performance”, which had created an overhang of Oreo inventory. After years handling strong demand, local managers were simply unequipped to deal with crumbling growth. You can have the best brand, the biggest publicity budget and the cleverest strategy for positioning yourself locally but, whether you are selling cookies or cream, sometimes you simply cannot outrun the market.

当欧莱雅(L’Oréal)上周表示,将停止在中国销售其卡尼尔(Garnier)产品时,很多外界人士认为,这家法国化妆品集团是加入了西方大品牌的全面撤退,其中以美国露华浓(Revlon)为首。露华浓上月关闭了其在中国内地的所有业务,裁员1100人,包括940名美容顾问。这一幕确实不好看。

然而,就像中国年长妇女在使用卡尼尔“亮肤”产品PS Cream 5s前有很多皱纹一样,卡尼尔的故事也存在很多问题。在化妆品的遮盖下,隐藏着一个更复杂的问题:如何向(以及不向)一个迅速变化的市场销售大型消费品牌的产品。

教训一:认真选择产品定位。苛刻的中国消费者几乎每周都会调整奢华、高端、平价以及大众产品的界限。正如古驰(Gucci)和路易威登(Louis Vuitton)付出惨痛代价才领悟的那样,在扩张和保持奢华路线之间,很难达到平衡。

美容产品应该与众不同。一旦粉底抹到脸上,或者洗发水抹到头上,除了使用者本人,还有谁知道它来自哪一罐?

先别急。正如宝洁(Procter & Gamble)拉美总裁塔勒克?法拉哈特(Tarek Farahat)在最近一次会议上所言,日益壮大的新兴市场中产阶级消费者“不会去购买保时捷(Porsche)或法拉利(Ferrari)”,但他们仍希望“他们的日常生活有看得见、摸得着的提升”,化妆品和护发产品能够满足这点。

这些消费者还深谙价格和价值之间的平衡。自从2006年在中国推出卡尼尔品牌以来,欧莱雅一直通过超市销售该品牌的护肤和染发产品,同时通过商场销售其较高端的巴黎欧莱雅(L’Oréal Paris)系列(于1997年首次在中国推出)。但卡尼尔仍尴尬地介于两种定位之间。其护肤和染发产品受到寻找高端产品的消费者的冷落,而对于那些寻找较廉价产品的消费者而言,它们又显得过于昂贵。

教训二:你可能需要牺牲全球品牌一致性,来迎合当地品味。如果你的面霜和护发素的气味不符合某个具体市场的品味,或者为了保持全球一致性而不能迎合当地市场,那么你的产品就会失败。不光美容产品领域是如此。Mondelez(原名卡夫(Kraft))为拉拢中国消费者,改变了其奥利奥(Oreo)饼干的配方、颜色甚至形状,这促使一些人对奥利奥何时变得不是奥利奥展开哲学辩论。

教训三:不要设想你可以在不同国家,用同样的方式运用品牌和营销举措,或者取得同样的效果。

尽管从全球以及整个亚洲而言,卡尼尔对于欧莱雅很重要,但该品牌最终仅占欧莱雅在华销售收入的1%。(欧莱雅表示,巴黎欧莱雅和美宝莲(Maybelline)产品在中国均有着美好的未来。)

正如Mondelez首席执行官艾琳?罗森菲尔德(Irene Rosenfeld)去年11月告诉投资者的那样,在一个波动剧烈的发展中经济体,与在发达国家相比,跨国企业需要更频繁地评估任何营销活动的回报率。

教训四:本地化运作,这意味着密切关注本土竞争对手。

以宝洁的潘婷(Pantene)在巴西的经历为例。法拉哈特表示,一半的巴西人每天至少淋浴两次,巴西女性的护发素用量是美国人或欧洲人的三四倍。巴西已是全球第二大护发产品市场,仅次于美国。然而,在他最近一次去商店实地调查时,一位消费者告诉他,她不买潘婷,因为她认为这种产品是进口货,但实际上这种产品是在当地生产的。

尽管这种印象可能会让更高端的品牌(比如巴黎欧莱雅在中国市场的定位)受益,但它令潘婷在超市面临营销手段更灵活的本土竞争对手的竞争。为提高销售收入,宝洁不得不邀请巴西名模吉赛尔?邦臣(Gisele Bündchen)来助阵,宝洁说服她长时间停止淋浴,以便向公众宣传,她在用潘婷涂抹头发。

最后,教训五:关注基本因素。奥利奥在中国经历强劲增长之后,Mondelez去年却不得不采取措施抵消“饼干产品的疲弱表现”,因为这已造成奥利奥饼干库存积压。在经历了多年的强劲需求后,本土管理者根本不知道如何应对增速大幅放缓。你可能拥有最优秀的品牌、最大的宣传预算以及最聪明的本土定位策略,但不管你是销售饼干还是面霜,有时你就是跑不赢市场。

译者/梁艳裳

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