cosnova GmbH is the company behind the well-known essence, CATRICE and L.O.V cosmetics brands. The owner-run company was founded in 2001 and has set new standards on the international cosmetics market over the past 15 years. cosnova has meanwhile become the volume market leader in 11 countries including Germany, Ireland and Austria. This is not least due to the cosmetics manufacturer showing that quality is not a question of price and its ability to demonstrate its feeling for trends. The company renews approx. 50% of the essence and CATRICE product ranges every year and regularly develops limited trend collections. With this innovative power, the company has managed to establish essence as “Europe’s No. 1 cosmetics brand”. And in 2016, cosnova extended its portfolio by the L.O.V brand focusing on exclusive packaging and forward-looking technologies.
Anja Bonnländer, Director Purchase & Packaging Development, explains in this interview which packaging solutions are in demand in specific target groups, why packaging details can turn into selling propositions, and how social media influence the packaging design of cosmetics brands.
Ms Bonnländer, with its essence, catrice and L.O.V brands, cosnova GmbH caters to various target groups. How do you find the right packaging solution for their different requirements? We generally make sure that our chosen packaging lives up to our high quality standards and also reflects the brand’s look & feel. essence caters especially to young customers and first-time users of decorative cosmetics so that our focus is on branding, and we highlight both the product and the brand as a result. In contrast, L.O.V is oriented towards the self-confident woman with maximum demands in terms of quality and product performance. Next to the selection of colour shades and our high standards for cosmetic texture, we have also paid a lot of attention to the L.O.V packaging. We made a conscious choice in favour of packaging elements which are known from the premium segment.
For your catrice and L.O.V brands, you focus on innovative technologies and exclusive, premium-quality packaging. But you are primarily active in the low-price segment. How does that work? In case of CATRICE, we pay attention to a stylish packaging design and remain in the entry price range of the mass market. With a uniform worldwide display, CATRICE is now available in more than 60 countries. This allows the production of very high product quantities and thus the use of technologies which would not be an option otherwise. L.O.V is positioned in the higher price segment of the mass market, however, and that means more flexibility in our batch sizes.
The packaging of L.O.V lipsticks has a magnetic closure, for example. Will such technological highlights become increasingly important to convince consumers of a brand, because there are so many products on the market? The cosmetics market thrives because of the diversity and individuality of the brands and products it offers. Technological highlights such as the magnetic closure of the LIPaffair lipstick are unique selling points and have a positive impact on the performance of the product. The magnetic closure is impossible to forget and therefore supports the development of emotional ties to the brand, and that ultimately is a classic reselling proposition.
At the POS, you present and highlight your products in special displays. Do you also pay attention to the packaging design presenting a harmonious overall picture of all products, or is it a matter of an individual product’s appearance? Both components count. It is very important that the display responds to the brand’s core and enables consumer orientation when choosing a product. In this context, clear structures are important. Every brand has a unique design and specific contours which must be taken into account. But it is also necessary to that individual product appearances in conform with the brand. After all, the product is the component reflecting the brand in daily use.
In marketing your products, you also rely on your cooperation with influencers. This results in your products being increasingly staged on the web and on social media. Does this mean that packaging design has become more important in recent years? Our cooperation with influencers is an integral part of our brand communication. This led to the development of a particular highlight in spring of this year: in close cooperation with four bloggers, essence launched the “bloggers' beauty secrets” trend edition. From the selection of products and colours to the packaging design, the bloggers developed their own products for this edition. Furthermore, images are increasingly shared on social media and this means that the challenges for different packaging designs have intensified.
With your essence and catrice brands, you are represented worldwide. Are there country specific preferences as regards the packaging materials and their design? There certainly are some country specific particularities and preferences. Nonetheless, we use the same displays worldwide and they only differ in the scope of the product range and the formulations for specific shades.
Your product range does not only feature a large number of limited editions, you also repeatedly renew major parts of your range in the course of the year. Does that mean that it is more important for you to produce smaller packaging quantities efficiently? We renew our standard range with an innovation rate of approx. 50% per year, but we don’t produce our products. That means that the efficiency of smaller packaging quantities largely depends on the choice of a suitable supplier and then on the question whether the supplier has to develop its own packaging tools for us, as was the case for L.O.V. Large suppliers supplying various customers and therefore offering a wide range of standard packaging will normally have an efficient and flexible production - even though the ordered quantities might be lower.
In the food industry, there is a booming trend towards “to go” products. A few years ago, you already launched your own “pocket beauty” series. Will this trend also intensify in the beauty sector? The “on the go” feature of a product is also important in decorative cosmetics. Products will then convince consumers because of their practical packaging design or their multi-functionality. In our limited trend editions, we will gladly address these issues. The upcoming “winter glow” trend edition of our essence brand features the “cushion powder blush” in a practical cushion packaging with an integrated mirror, for example - it’s perfect for using on the road!
The cosmetics industry is subject to many legal regulations: does that also affect the packaging (because of a required labelling, for example)? Legal regulations have an enormous impact on packaging design. In the US, the net weight of a product always has to be printed on the front of the packaging, for example. We therefore have to consider in an early stage of product development whether the product will ultimately be launched in other markets as well.
In the case of make-up, the packaging does not only have protective and marketing functions. In many cases, consumers have to use it to apply the product (such as mascara). What does it mean for your packaging concept, when the packaging is also a tool? It means that the packaging concept will be more complex and will therefore have even more significance for the product’s market performance at a later stage. Consumer tests give us insights into the optimum design of the tool, for example.