Interview with Tina Müller, Corporate Senior Vice President for the worldwide Hair Cosmetics, Skin Care and Oral Care businesses
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|Henkel Cosmetics, Brand Communications|
On the fast track with Schwarzkopf
Why is Schwarzkopf celebrating its 111th anniversary?
Tina Müller: 111 is not just a clever number to Schwarzkopf. For us, in fact, the three ones are full of symbolism: 1 stands for innovation: The first shampoo and the first hairspray carried the Schwarzkopf name. 1 stands for market leadership. Schwarzkopf Taft and Schwarzkopf Palette are number one brands in Europe. 1 stands for trust: More and more consumers all over the world regard Schwarzkopf as their own personal number one in hair care.
What attributes do you identify with Schwarzkopf?
Tina Müller: For 111 years, Schwarzkopf has been known for quality, expertise and innovation, and has enjoyed the utmost trust among consumers. In the retail sector, our claim “Professional Hair Care for you” clearly communicates our high standards of quality and modernity, combined with the greatest possible consumer focus. Highly valued in the salon sector is close contact with hairdressers and stylists, who share our passion for hair: “Together. A passion for hair.”
Why is Schwarzkopf so popular among consumers?
Tina Müller: Success and Schwarzkopf have gone hand in hand for 111 years. Following its origins in a small drugstore run by chemist Hans Schwarzkopf, the brand repeatedly came up with hair care innovations that consumers loved and that became popular all over the world. In the past ten years, brand sales have grown by double digits on average. At present, we hold the all-time highest European market share, with an increase of 600 basis points. More than 40 percent of sales are generated by products that have been launched in the past three years. Our innovative strength has four primary sources: Proximity to consumers and their needs, intensive trend research, the company’s own innovation processes, and state-of-the-art know-how in product technology. A balanced brand portfolio also contributes to this success, as every target group can find a suitable product at Schwarzkopf. Not least, a crucial role is played by the outstanding design and upscale advertising that communicate the quality of our products. Schwarzkopf’s product brands hold numerous top rankings in Europe: Taft is number one in the styling market, Poly Palette climbed to the top of the list in colorants in 2008, and Gliss is one of the most rapidly expanding hair care brands. We are also extremely pleased about the growth in our market shares in Asia, the USA, and Latin America.
What product development trends do you think are especially important today?
Tina Müller: The “affordable luxury” trend is especially important during recessions. Products with high-quality ingredients and an aura of luxury, with which you can pamper yourself a little at home. For example, there are the gold pigments in Poly Palette Gold Gloss, the cashmere in Taft Power with Cashmere Touch, or the argan oil in Gliss Oil Nutritive. The “natural ingredients” trend: Schauma Bio with its natural extracts and natural perfume oil is a LOHAS Shampoo for the broad market. Essential Color is the first permanent colorant with as much as 80 percent natural-based ingredients. The “convenience” trend, that is, modern products that save time and offer multiple benefits. Coloriste, for example, is a colorant that gives the hair vibrant glossy color in only ten minutes. Gliss Asia Straight straightens the hair for 48 hours even without a hair straightener device. As a hair spray, Taft Ultra with Silk Touch combines an extra strong hold with a soft and silky feel.
Schwarzkopf works with brand ambassadors. How do you decide who fits the brand?
Tina Müller: We have worked successfully with quite a number of celebrities. Our brand ambassadors naturally need to fit the brand. For Schwarzkopf, this means that, despite all the glamour they radiate, they must also always convey a certain down-to-earthness and honesty. A truly beautiful example of this – literally – is our Taft ambassador, Heidi Klum. She is a perfect representative of today’s image of women – professionally successful and a mother. A glamorous woman who has still managed to stay normal and grounded and embraces her roots in Bergisch-Gladbach, a small city in Germany.
What can you tell us about the new focuses in research?
Tina Müller: I can only mention a few of our research successes here. In hair care, we have consistently conducted successful research in hair repair. Our most recent achievement is the Cell Repair System. Our Gliss Cell Repair products repair damaged hair with hair-identical keratin protein in the hair cell. This very effectively repairs the hairs deep inside, without making the hair heavy. In our styling research, we have been able to respond with new technologies to the general customer wish for the ultimate hold that does not make the hair hard. In Taft Power with Cashmere Touch, the setting substances enriched with care ingredients provide both powerful hold and wonderful suppleness. This is the ideal solution, especially for dry and stressed hair. The Taft Ultra with Silk Touch line also offers a fantastic combination of hold and silky hair. Hair coloring research has come up with a totally new generation of colorants that provides intensive, radiant color with perfect gray coverage, along with a much shorter application time. Coloriste, with its arginine formula (patent pending) is also gentler to the hair and has a very pleasant fragrance. We have also achieved a breakthrough with Essential Color: This new colorant offers the greatest protection from hair damage with an innovative formula that contains an unusually high proportion of natural ingredients.
Is sustainability a consideration at Schwarzkopf?
Tina Müller: Cosmetic products must be effective, but they also have to be 100 percent compatible for people and the environment. This means that alignment to sustainability has always been important for cosmetic products. We have, of course, intensified our research in this area. The formulas for our Schauma Bio Almond and Schauma Bio Pomegranate shampoos contain plant extracts stemming from controlled organic cultivation and contain no synthetic dye or perfume ingredients, silicones, or petroleum-based paraffin oils. We are participating in a pilot project to determine the carbon footprints of products. This carbon footprint is based on the carbon dioxide emissions of a product throughout its production and use.
What area do you personally find the most interesting?
Tina Müller: To me, beauty expertise and customer proximity are both of pivotal importance and closely linked with one another. In recent years, Schwarzkopf’s image has taken a very positive turn toward a dimension of beauty that is characterized by modernity and innovation. This is due to the fact that I am personally involved in every design, every commercial, and every ad. I expect my standards of beauty and modernity to be reflected in every single phase. My Schwarzkopf team and I work only with the top photographers, directors and designers, all of whom are passionate about hair and do everything they can to further develop the brand, to modernize it, and to lead it into the future. And this is what we communicate to our consumers: Hair made by Schwarzkopf means showing hair in the most beautiful and fascinating way possible and making this beauty accessible to every consumer, male or female. And giving each of them the wonderful feeling this beauty imparts.
As an international marketing expert, you have seen hair all over the world. How do the various nationalities differ from one another?
Tina Müller: The findings are very interesting. European hairs are round, for example, while Asian hairs are elliptical. This difference has been taken into consideration in the formulas for both our care and coloring products, to ensure that the active ingredients can optimally penetrate the hair structure. Frizzy Afro-American hair needs very special care based on oils and silk ingredients. To provide care for this kind of hair, we developed our Smooth and Shine product line, which is available in the USA and Mexico. Northern European hair, on the other hand, is extremely fine and requires care technologies that do not weigh it down.
Would you tell us which products are your own favorites?
Tina Müller: As a passionate Schwarzkopf user, it would be impossible for me to list them all. The Taft Volume Mousse with Push-up-Effect is certainly one of my favorites. Saving time is very important to me, so I am also a fan of Coloriste. I like to pamper my hair with the Gliss Oil Nutritive Shampoo in the winter, when the dry air from heating has affected it.
What is your vision for the Schwarzkopf brand?
Tina Müller: My vision for Schwarzkopf is to complete what has in fact already been achieved to a great extent: Schwarzkopf as a true, authentic and honest brand that one can always trust. Schwarzkopf as the most rapidly growing hair cosmetic brand, which can offer the right solution for every hair problem and for any beauty requirements. Schwarzkopf as the innovative brand par excellence.
Hair – an inexhaustible topic. Would you be willing to tell us more?
Tina Müller: Just go to my hair blog at www.schwarzkopf.com. There I regularly write about what is new, exciting and amusing in the area of trends and hair.