Interview with Mode

I recently had the opportunity to interview Cristina Samuel from Mode cosmetics. I am not able to use her thorough responses in my most recent article for GCI magazine on makeup, unfortunately, but I wanted to share it anyway.

SM: What makes new products innovative (what’s the marketing/ingredient story)?
CS: First and foremost you have to stand-out from the crowd. It is very important that the consumer relates to the products, there has to be a real connection. Consumers want to learn and understand the story behind the product, the generic cookie cutter approach is history. A new product launch needs a differentiation in their formulary delivery approach or a new ingredient. For example, when we launched our MODE Natural Skin Mineral Powder Foundation, we were the first in the industry to formulate with cocoa. Its multiple delivery benefits include rich anti-oxidant properties for the skin, providing natural color properties which aids in pigmentation, and it has its own naturally fragrant aroma. Consumers immediately resonated with the product because they were introduced to a unique effective product with an innovative ingredient that singularly delivers multiple benefits and properties.

SM: How are new launches addressing current consumer or ingredient trends? How can makeup be marketed as a tool in the defense of skin health?
CS: The consumer’s hunger for beneficial and nutritional ingredients is only growing. Product developers and marketers are finally listening and incorporating targeted active ingredients that can work synergistically with supplements to promote skin health. For example, a topical anti-aging skin regimen with an ingestible vitamin E supplement can boost antioxidant levels that work to fight free radicals. Incorporating key ingredients with known skin health benefits on a daily basis is incredibly important to women, especially baby boomers, that specifically address the battle against aging. Marketing launches that are formulated with high concentrations of “skin defense” ingredients including retinol, hyalurolic acid, and peptides, target consumer groups that believe in taking a preventative stance in skin defense rather than addressing the issues when they have already arrived.

SM: How is the trend toward natural affecting product development?
CS: As a manufacturer and marketer of color cosmetics, MODE was established and developed by utilizing natural and organic based ingredients. The continual exploration and research of the thousands of natural ingredients readily available to us will no doubt lead to new and exciting discoveries in the future.

SM: What role does innovation play in bringing enhanced quality of product to consumers?
CS: Innovation leads to choice not only for the consumer, but for the marketer as well. More consumers are willing to purchase natural products that they feel are naturally derived and safer, while emphasizing wellness and whole body health. Developing truly effective natural alternatives to its synthetic counterparts is one way to bring innovation to the consumer. Nanotechnology has shown great promise especially in sun care protection. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are popular active ingredients for sun protection, because unlike its synthetic counterparts, they are natural and also provide esthetically pleasing results to the consumer. Traditional titanium dioxide and zinc oxide leaves a pasty white film on the skin which has been virtually eliminated with this new technology.

SM: How can color cosmetics products merge high-tech and natural ingredients?
CS: Merging high-tech and natural ingredients is what we are achieving with MODE, we are the originator of the concept of fusing fashion and nature to create high performing products that simultaneously deliver beneficial natural ingredients. We are consistently formulating the newest technologies with the newest natural raw materials while never compromising the fashion trends and staples consumers are demanding. A new product must perform with the high expectations and performance a consumer is used to, and if the mark is missed with the performance of the product, ultimately the consumer will move on.

SM: What’s next?
CS: No one truly knows what the next latest and greatest is going to be. As a manufacturer and marketer we research and forecast what the next hottest product might be by looking to different industries and sectors. As always, fashion heavily dictates color trends. We also look back at past trends that were proven winners in their time and have yet to be seen by a new generation of consumers.

SM: What are your thoughts on the increasingly digital world we live in and the role makeup plays in it?
CS: These are exciting times and the new digital world is still in its infancy in the larger scheme of things. Companies are taking advantage of social media as a marketing tool to promote their brands and products, including Facebook, YouTube, and the new phenomenon of Twitter. These websites allow companies to target a specific audience and demographic of consumers to introduce their brand or new product launches. Also, another new medium is the rise of beauty bloggers. However, the positive feedback can soon be outweighed by the disadvantages of using social media. For example, many of these website have a short life span and the interest wanes very quickly by its users. Also, there can be hidden agendas by individuals or groups disguised as consumers with the intent to berate and malign products and brands, which is happening more than people think Marketers should take social media for what it is, and not depending on it as the sole marketing tool for your brand.

SM: What needs are not being met/what needs to change to make the cosmetics market successful?
CS: I think that too many marketers are desperately focusing on what other marketers are doing and not concentrating on their own products and brands. This can be a double edged sword which ultimately leads to a sea of me too’s and complete lack of innovation and uniqueness. I also feel that there has been a surge of negativity within the industry in recent years which has trickled its way to the consumer, including bullying practices by marketers, and misinformation being spread regarding the safety of certain ingredients that have been proven to be safe and effective for decades. If particular ingredients have no purpose, relevance, or bearing to a marketer’s formulations, then those ingredients are suddenly “marketed” and claimed as harmful and unsafe with fear mongering tactics, rather than concentrating on why their products are great, and I truly believe this is due to insecurity and severe desperation. It’s very important to educate the consumer rather than feeding into fears that misinformation and misunderstanding causes and in turn becoming that marketing bully.


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