Johnson’s tops cosmetics and personal care brand ranking

The cover of the PDF of the Brand Finance Cosmetics 50 reportBrand Finance – a leading valuation and strategy consultancy – values the brands of thousands of the world’s biggest companies every year. The 50 most valuable cosmetic brands are featured in the Brand Finance Cosmetics 50.

Johnson’s tops the list with a brand value of US$16.8 billion. Johnson’s high brand value stems from both its revenues and high brand strength, which indicates the relative contribution of a brand compared to other business assets. Johnson’s has a brand strength score of 89, second only to Garnier. Part of the reason for this is its association with maternity. An exceptionally high level of brand trust is required to succeed when marketing products for infants. Johnson’s has earnt this over decades with effective, safe and reliable products and advertising that positions the brand in this way.

Tracking brand movement

Second-placed Gillette was one of the fastest growing brands in the cosmetics industry this year. Its brand grew by 68 percent in value last year to reach US$12 billion. The Procter & Gamble-owned brand continued to deliver razor-sharp marketing campaigns, including its ‘Perfect isn’t pretty’ campaign in the lead up to the 2016 Olympics. Beyond strengthening brand awareness and consideration through association with such a high profile event, the campaign is designed to align the dedication and precision of Olympic athletes with that of Gillette’s product developers.

L'Oréal Paris has lost ground this year, falling behind Gillette to third. Its brand value is down 11 percent in value to US$8.7 billion. Whilst L'Oréal has rolled out powerful campaigns in 2016, these have not translated into immediate sales as well as would have been hoped. One example is the #YoursTruly campaign, which featured 23 ‘beauty influencers’ from a diverse range of backgrounds and ethnicities. Though demand in the US remained relatively strong, conditions in L’Oréal’s core market of western Europe and in particular its home market of France were more challenging.

Leading the pack

Amongst the brand owners, P&G comes out on top, with eight brands in the sector’s top 50, with a combined brand value of US$34.1 billion. P&G’s brands are growing very strongly; in addition to Gillette’s strong growth, Pantene, Olay and SK-II are growing by 72%, 74% and 80% respectively. Recent divestments have enabled P&G to focus more on its core capabilities and best-selling brands. A US$10 billion cost saving is being pursued by CEO David Taylor, which saw earnings beat analyst expectations in 2016.

Head & Shoulders is perhaps P&G’s biggest success story this year. The anti-dandruff shampoo is the fastest growing cosmetics and personal care brand this year, more than doubling brand value to US$5.4 billion. One recent campaign includes ‘Scalp Brave’: breaking away from ads that tended to rely solely on Head & Shoulders’ functional attributes, this campaign takes a quirkier approach. The faces of celebrities such as Sofia Vergara and footballer Giovani Dos Santos are shaved into people’s hair, to illustrate the confidence to do bold, fun things that having a flake-free scalp allows. P&G has demonstrated that well-executed creativity can help boost brand value.

Brands with declining value

Coty has acquired many of the brands from which P&G has divested. It is possible that the sudden influx of 43 brands has proven too much of a challenge for Coty, leading to a lack of focus. Since the acquisition, Coty’s revenue of US$2.3 billion for the three months leading up to December 2016 fell below expectations; it reported a seven percent drop in revenues for its fiscal second quarter. All four of Coty’s brands in the table have lost brand value. The Coty brand itself is down 10 percent, Rimmel five percent and Cover Girl 21 percent.

Clairol is the fastest falling brand this year; its brand value is down 26% to US$ 859 million. According to Brand Finance, other brands that have also declined in value this year are The Body Shop, Estée Lauder, Olay, Shiseido and Old Spice. 

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