International Hair Cosmetics (IHC) opened in 1988 with bases in the United Kingdom and in Australia, however, it wasn’t until the development and subsequent introduction of Affinage Colour Crime and Affinage Satin tone-on-tone colour (1995) that IHC achieved substantial growth. The following years saw sustained growth for IHC including the introduction of an export market to 37 countries worldwide including New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, The Philippines, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mauritius.
IHC is a progressive dynamic company with a network of 25 wholesalers and distributors Australia wide, bringing together a motivated team of sales staff and educators. The business philosophy is centred on the understanding that IHC’s success relies on that of their distributors. Mission Statement “To totally support [hair professionals] with education, training and service and build strong cemented relationships, thus creating a more professional, successful team business for our distributors and our company – International Hair Cosmetics”.
In line with their mission statement, IHC regularly provides distributors with marketing assistance and point-of-purchase material to assist in selling their products. This approach has proven invaluable in educating and assisting salon customers with in-salon training, promotions, media advertising and marketing, as well as technical advice. Through this network, Affinage has become IHC’s premier range, enthusiastically supported by distributors and clients.
Product, Price, Place and Promotion Product International Hair Cosmetics manufactures under license two brands, Affinage (primary) and Copella (secondary). Affinage has been developed from research and cooperation between hairdressing technicians and chemists to create the most advanced product available. The Affinage range has now developed to 90 permanent colours, 32 ‘quasi’ tone-on-tone colours, a large range of vibrant Dynamic colours, 7 intensive shades, Permanent Waves, Bleaches, Shampoo and Conditioners, Hairsprays etc. and a library of point-of-sale material and information leaflets, with constant support from technical personnel educating professional hairdressers in the quality and benefits of the Affinage range (see Appendix 1).
IHC direct their advertising messages to women aged 19 – 70 years, depending on the product. Their primary target market is women aged 19 – 45 and women aged 45 – 70 represent a secondary target market. These demographics account for approximately 80% of sales. Men are also encouraged to use Affinage products and as such, account for the further 20%. Affinage is French for “Refined” and as such, IHC’s slogan for Affinage is “Refined Beyond Compare”. Affinage is therefore positioned as a premium brand product for sophisticated, stylish, chic and somewhat wild women and/or “fashionistas”, of the afore-mentioned demographics.
Preliminary Market/ Issue Research Undertaken In conducting this IMC plan, both primary and secondary research methods were used and together they play an integral role in comprehensively analysing IHC’s current service offering. The foundation of primary research is a series of in-depth interviews conducted at a group members’ home along with several phone conversations with the firm’s manager, Mr Richard Jolly.
Observational research was initially used to gather primary data by observing clients, staff and situations relevant to the situation analysis of IHC. These observations were made whilst visiting the business in conjunction with the initial interview with the manager. Discussion questions from the interview were intended to gather information about the service.
This target audience definition is quite broad, however, it will not significantly affect media selection. There will be some spill over effects to other demographics including men.
Geographic Coverage Utilise national media to support national brand. Year long advertising is desirable however, it is important to provide adequate advertising weight during the latter half of the year during changing seasons and holiday periods. Advertising campaign will be predominantly located in major metropolitan areas as this is where the majority of Australia’s population are. Reach & Frequency Objectives Provide maximum affordable reach to attract new clients and customers; Maintain a minimum target audience frequency of 3+ in key markets during lead up to Christmas and holiday period.
Mediums are selected on their ability to effectively reach a large portion of the target market with each placement. It is important that frequency is consistent throughout metropolitan and regional areas to build awareness and increase information seeking. Unique Selling Proposition As stated, Affinage is “Refined Beyond Compare” however, the unique selling proposition of IHC is : “[IHC] Affinage products boast gentle formulas, with a low ammonia content and emulsified crime base which penetrate deep into the cortex producing completely natural coverage without damaging the hair structure”.
This USP specifically and distinctly separates International Hair Cosmetics from its competitors. Seasonality & Continuity International Hair Cosmetics sells its product range all year round and it is the nature of the hairdressing industry to be eventful and demanding all year round. Therefore, sales are continuous with exception to an increase in sales in the lead up to Christmas and/or with the release of a new product.
Budget Considerations IHC’s objectives are to be accomplished working within a budget of $300,000. This is the figure that has been allocated for the last 5 years of IHC operation, for advertising and promotion. The monetary allocations, 70% Metropolitan and 30% Regional, are set in accordance with the population distribution of Australia. The budget for this media plan will take into consideration: Upkeep of present media vehicles; Selection of new media vehicles; and A small quantity of funds that can be utilised if any existential costs materialise.
To emphasise maximum reach with media selections to spread Affinage enthusiasm whilst generating a frequency of 3+ to aid in message retention, information seeking and establish separation from Affinage competitors; To select and utilise specific media that appeal to the afore-mentioned target market demographics; and To use media selections that maximise cost efficiency and fall within the projected budgetary limits.
The Affinage campaign will use a flighting scheduling pattern in accordance with the nature of the product but will also maintain a continuos schedule year round. The Affinage campaign aim is to increase enthusiasm within hairdressers about Affinage and encourage them to ask for Affinage when next at the hairdressers. Media usage will be carefully selected to deliver the most appropriate, effective and efficient media vehicles to fit the overall campaign goals. The campaign has been divided into two phases, the first, a direct mail-out and web-site update, and the second, a mainstream media advertising campaign.