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InEurope, Clarins is the top-selling luxury skincare brand. Yet in the United States, it is known primarily for its sunscreen and self-tanners. American consumers generally do not even know that Clarins has a skincare line. So the brand is determined to grow its market share and brand awareness in theUnited States.

Clarins is repositioning its brand for the U.S. market by taking a more hands-on approach, such as opening treatment rooms inside department stores to offer 45-minute facials for around $50. Beauty advisors will also provide free 20-minute facials at counters to encourage product education and trial by consumers shopping at Bloomingdale’s. A shopper who partakes is likely to buy at least a few products. Other prestige beauty brands similarly offer in-store treatments to increase store loyalty and shopping frequency.

Selling high-end, prestige beauty products requires educating consumers. In the highly competitive cosmetics market convincing consumers to spend $80 or more on skincare products is often a battle. In this dismal economy, splurging on elite beauty products becomes a luxury that requires serious consumer contemplation.

Formerly, Clarins took on such competitions in theUnited StatesandEurope, which has not proven successful. Instead, the brand now is veering from its “classic French women” perception and trying to assume a more sexy image. French and U.S. consumers have demonstrated a marked difference in their preferences though. For example, Clarins’s Multi-Active Early Wrinkle Correction is designed to prevent wrinkles, and results-orientedU.S.consumers want to see the effects immediately. Therefore, Clarins is changing its media communication to illustrate the ease of use and efficacy of the product.

Clarins is also focusing on Spanish customers in theUnited Statesby hiring Spanish-speaking beauty advisors and increasing product information available in Spanish. Clarins hired a specialized Hispanic marketing agency, catching the eye of beauty editors for Hispanic-oriented magazines. Spanish women offer an attractive market for prestige beauty products, because they are more culturally inclined to invest in products they believe will enhance their appearance.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is Clarins changing in the U.S. market?
  2. Why is the Hispanic market attractive to Clarins?

Ellen Byron, “Clarins Puts On Its Best Face in U.S.,” The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2009.