Kaplow Communications represents Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW), the producer of the CEW Beauty Awards. CEW is a trade organization that helps consumers choose between the thousands of new products launched onto the market each year.
Liz Kaplow, CEO and president of Kaplow Communications, and Tina Haskins Chadha, Kaplow EVP, spoke to PRWeek.com about the Awards product demonstration event, where 650 beauty products were submitted for judging. CEW Beauty Award finalists in 33 categories will be named in early March, and the Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 2nd.
PRWeek: How long has Kaplow been working with CEW?
Liz Kaplow: We've been working with Cosmetic Executive Women for 13 years, since its inception.
PRWeek: How would you say that the beauty industry is growing?
Kaplow: I think that the beauty industry always stands for innovation and creativity. And the great thing is that there are always new developments and products. Large companies continue to grow, while indie companies pop up, which is wonderful as well. It's a very creative business. There are new ideas and concepts every year. You're able to use a wide gamut of marketing levers to come up with new products.
PRWeek: Approximately 50 PR firms are representing entries at this year's Beauty Awards. How do you ensure that these companies feel like its worth participating in this event?
Kaplow: For the last 13 years, we've really positioned the CEW Beauty Awards as a barometer for the best in beauty. The beauty demonstration event is the first opportunity for beauty [PR] professionals to sample products to show for the industry, trade, broadcast, and press. Companies want to be part of this. The whole buzz becomes part of their product.
And after demonstration, the buzz really continues. There is huge national coverage. The opportunity to carry the beauty award seal is huge. It's another great stamp of credibility from the insiders of the beauty industry.
PRWeek: Being that there are just so many products launched every year, do you feel as though beauty professionals get stuck in a rut with marketing new products?
Kaplow: There are so many products launched every year, for sure... PR firms have to be that much more creative, to think beyond just standard advertising. They have to look at all of the different marketing levers and different brand associations like celebrities, music, fashion, and the internet to host online contests. PR professions need to help companies break out of the same mold.
PRWeek: In your opinion, what's a great PR strategy for marketing a beauty product?
Kaplow: The first thing to do is to look at your brand's particular DNA and see what makes it unique. Then you need to create a program tailored to that product and the audience you're going to reach.
For CEW beauty awards, we have Carlotta Jacobson, the president of CEW. She goes out to all the media platforms like the Today show and speaks with such credulity. For us, our internal person is effective. You have to look at the whole mix. For example, there are several online communities on the Internet with new influential bloggers, some of them beauty editors. These people are important endorsements. They are influential to millions of readers, and they really [need to] understand what is different about your product.
If you're going to use a celebrity as a spokesperson, you need to make sure that person is "brand right." He or she needs to really speak on behalf of that brand from the heart.
Giveaways and samplings can also be part of an integrated program. You can't do just blind product sampling. There needs to be a specific target audience.
Tina Haskins Chadha, EVP, Kaplow
PRWeek: How should beauty PR companies target consumers?
Tina Haskins Chadha: Many beauty PR companies are approaching consumers in very smart ways to deliver real value. Consumers today are savvier than ever. With so many products on the market to choose from and so many ways to learn about beauty - [through] magazine, broadcast, and new online formats - beauty marketers are taking innovative measures to reach women in ways that are even more targeted and customized. Marketers are analyzing the unique lifestyle facets and needs of the consumer and translating this into a strategic approach that plays out in new formulas (multi-purpose products), exceptionally innovative packaging and design, and uncommon partnerships from media to celebrity affiliations.