Building brands that consumers trust and identify with is big business. Recent big-budget international campaigns, such as Unilever's Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, have promoted an umbrella brand, as opposed to a specific product.
This reflects the ongoing trend for manufacturers to slim down their brand portfolios to focus on a handful of megabrands rather than a wide range of individual products. The resulting megabrands rely heavily on maintaining a positive brand image.
The megabrand emerged in the cosmetics and toiletries market in 2005 and is a trend that is seeing leading manufacturers, such as Shiseido, Avon, Unilever and Procter & Gamble, focus innovation around just a handful of brands.
These megabrands are then being extended into new sectors and product categories, to scoop up sales and broaden brand appeal across a wider consumer base.
The skincare sector in 2005 provided a multitude of examples of megabrand development, with a number of brands extending their reach into hair care.
In April, Accantia launched a new range of perfume-free and colour-free hair care products under its leading Simple brand. In the same month, Estée Lauder leveraged its Clinique brand into the hair care sector with the launch of True. Beiersdorf will also take its La Prairie brand into hair care this month when it launches Cellular Intensive Hair Repair mask.
The megabrand is also being used to reach new consumers. Earlier this year Reckitt Benckiser was able to grow the appeal of its Veet depilatory brand among male consumers with the launch of Veet for Men, encouraging men to experiment beyond their grooming comfort zones.
The fashion for increasing brand relevance to a wider range of consumers is set to continue into the New Year as product lines become increasingly sophisticated in terms of product categorisation.
The natural and organic categories are expected to offer considerable development opportunities. 2006 will see Johnson & Johnson expand its Johnson's Baby brand with the planned launch of Johnson's Soothing Naturals baby care collection in January.
Tapping into the ethnic category will help extend other big brands across a range of sectors.
In September, Unilever filed a trademark for Sunsilk Anti-Sponge shampoo, suggesting that an ethnic hair care launch is on the cards for the Sunsilk brand.
Also in September, Procter & Gamble announced the launch of the Cover Girl Queen Collection, a colour cosmetics line targeted at non-Caucasian women.
Shiseido is taking the unusual move of asking devotees to stop buying its Proudia and Pieds Nus colour cosmetics products. Instead, they will be encouraged to switch to Maquillage, the megabrand expected to replace the two lines.
With the megabrand trend gaining momentum, Euromonitor International forecasts that other manufacturers are likely to adopt a similar approach as brand consolidation gets underway.