Cultural Labeling in the Cosmetic Industry

In the beauty industry, lipstick is the sum of the psychological and physical satisfactions it provides to cosmetic shoppers. However, when beauty brands are advertising to Latina shoppers, they evade one set of satisfaction drivers: functionality. This is an irony of the industry as product labeling is esthetically designed to be part of the brand experience for the consumer overall.

This trend is prevalent in printed media; in fact, you may see it in Spanish fashion magazines in which the products are being advertised in Spanish. However, at the forefront of the ad, the product in most cases is displayed with English labeling, including information on attributes and benefits. The implication of such an approach lies at multiple levels of the branding process.

First, the juxtaposition of creative Spanish content with product labeling in English builds unnecessary “noise” by the brand and nullifies perceptual associations that Spanish creative content would normally develop in the mind of the reader, in this case, Latina shoppers. Secondly, it jeopardizes the intention to purchase at the retail and online channel, and brand choice is at risk. Lastly, the brand is missing a prime opportunity to start building cultural-consumer and brand relationship at the initial stage of the buyer journey.

The objective of cultural content in printed media and within the context of cosmetic product selling is to form an intention to purchase in the reader’s mind and entice the shopper to go online or to the nearest store and buy the product.

As mentioned above, a product in the cosmetic industry is more than a tangible item. It is a bundle of perceptual and functional satisfactions. Product form, taste, color, odor, and texture in combination with functionality, including packaging and labeling are part of the buying, using, and keeping experience. When the product’s functional satisfaction is taken out of the selling process, such as labeling, you know that Latina shoppers will turn to the next item in the shelf that can provide essential information in Spanish before trying the product. This is part of the initial engagement stage.

Brands will have to acknowledge that Spanish labeling is a functional utility needed to connect and build cultural customer relationship.

Claudio Perez-Korinko, cultural creative strategist at latBrand.