Picture this. You’re walking down the shampoo aisle in a supermarket, trolley in tow. For this piece, we did our research and visited 3 popular, full-size supermarkets (as opposed to smaller, metro supermarkets). In each of these supermarkets, there were well over 50 shampoo brands in the haircare aisle. So, how do you decide which shampoo brand to choose?
On average, brands in a supermarket have around 1 second to grab the attention of shoppers. And when your top 50 competitors are also competing within this second, you have even less chance of catching the eye of your target market. Similarly, a quick Google search for a keyword related to your business will pull up thousands upon thousands of your competitors – many in your local area.
So, with all of this competition, how do you make sure to catch the attention of your consumers?
You should think of a supermarket aisle as similar to your typical search engine results page. It will display all of your industry competitors, much like the supermarket shampoo aisle holds many competing shampoo brands.
And in both the shampoo aisle and search engine results pages, placement matters! Vox have written an in-depth piece about ‘the hidden war over grocery shelf space,’ in which ‘backroom deals between stores and food manufacturers…shape today’s supermarket.’ Vox provide an in-depth explanation of supermarket ‘slotting fees,’ through which brands pay supermarkets not only for how much shelf space they receive, but also the shelf position of their products. Supermarkets understand well that when it comes to shelf space, ‘eye level is buy level‘ – that products stocked within the eye-line of consumers see much higher purchase rates.
And this ‘eye level’ shelf space is the same as the first page of search results for your chosen keywords. Relevant consumers are much more likely to find your business if you appear on the first page of Google. Even ranking as the first search engine result for a related keyword gives you a 10% higher click-through-rate than the second result. However, much like coveted supermarket shelf space, you’ll likely need to pay for the privilege of ranking well – whether this is in time, effort, or money. You’ll need to invest in some paid advertising, or SEO to nab those coveted high-ranking spots.
powerful copywritingOf course, everything in this article so far could apply to many other items in your average supermarket. However, copywriting is the reason we decided to talk about shampoo, and not, for example, snack foods. You may not have ever paid much attention to the text on your shampoo bottle. However, the shampoo industry has copywriting down to an art form. Let’s take a look at some examples: According to You Magazine, the best selling shampoo of 2019 was from the well-known brand, Head and Shoulders.
As you can see, there isn’t much copy on the front of the product. The main text is ‘classic, clean.’ Now, this is what makes shampoo copy so interesting. Of course you’d naturally expect a shampoo to be ‘clean.’ So, when you really think about it, this word isn’t necessary. However, it evokes a feeling or a sensation in the reader. We all understand that the feeling of being ‘clean’ is a positive one. We then therefore associate this feeling with the shampoo itself. And the word ‘classic’ is a compelling, yet subconscious trust factor. You’re opting for a ‘classic’ well-known brand that you know trust to get the job done.
Let’s look at another example from a leading UK shampoo brand, Alberto Balsam:
Here, the main descriptive text reads: ‘juicy green apple.’ Once again, this text isn’t really related to the shampoo. You’re not eating the shampoo, so why would it need to be ‘juicy?’ However, Alberto Balsam cleverly use this phrase to evoke a specific feeling in the consumer. When you read the phrase, ‘juicy green apple,’ this taps into your sense of taste and smell. Your mouth subconsciously begins to water. And before you’ve realised that this phrase has little to do with the shampoo itself, you’ve likely put the product in your trolley and moved on.
This is why professional copywriting is so important to your business. The power of a few, carefully selected words on your website and marketing materials can tap into subconscious consumer need. Professional copywriters are clever and creative with the words they use, and they’ll likely know what your consumers need to read to become engaged.
Aside from prime shelf space, the shampoo industry uses clever design tools to make products stand out to shoppers. And when brands have very little time to catch the attention of their target market, they have to get creative. And much like powerful copywriting, shampoo brands use design tools to create a specific impression, or evoke a specific response from consumers.
Let’s take a look at a particular shampoo industry niche: ‘professional’ shampoos. These are shampoos which are used by professionals in the haircare industry. And taking examples from some well-known professional haircare brands demonstrates an interesting pattern:
As you can see, there is a very specific design for professionally recommended shampoos. They all look sleek, have very little colour variation, and in some cases look almost medicinal. Teal is also a commonly used colour. In colour psychology, teal evokes the feeling of calm, balance, but also professionalism and trust. Therefore these shampoo designs convey to the reader that their hair is in good hands.
Let’s also take a look at the other end of the shampoo spectrum – shampoos that use food items in their branding and make-up.
Most brands that use food within their shampoo branding tend to opt for fruits. They then base their packaging design around brightly coloured, eye-catching designs which clearly picture the chosen fruit. And once again, this evokes a particular feeling in the consumer. According to Talk Business, ‘colours are capable of invoking a person’s imagination about the flavours of a food product.’ Therefore, shampoo brands are cleverly tapping into subconscious connotations of taste and smell when it comes to grabbing the attention of their target audiences.
This is just one of the reasons why you should hire a professional designer for your website and marketing materials. Web designers know what tools and tactics to use to appeal to your target market. You may choose a colour or layout for your website because you think it looks good. However, professional designers will understand the effect that their colour and design choices have upon your intended audience.
are you ready to learn from the shampoo industry?
Shampoo brands spend thousands on teams of professionals to create their products, as well as their designs, text and marketing strategies. And whilst you might not be ready to spend quite that much on your business, you should still consider working with professional designers, writers and marketers.
And lucky for you, at Engaging Content, we take care of all of this in one place. Our experienced copywriters, designers and marketers take the time to understand your business and your customers, tailoring a marketing approach that works for you.
Are you ready to engage? Get in touch with us today, come and meet us for a coffee and a chat, and find out more about how we can help you to grow your business.