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While Clarins has been in the Latin American market since the late 1970s, the region’s recent growth is unprecedented. “I’ve seen growth of 20 percent a year and I think it will continue,” says Joël Palix, president of Clarins Fragrance Group. Historically, Latin America has represented 2-3% of the company’s turnover but now is close to 10 percent. In fact, Palix says that “the way it’s going, it will supersede the United States market sooner or later.”
What Clarins brands are experiencing seem to reflect the recent growth of Latam as a beauty market in general. For example, market research firm Euromonitor International noted that the retail value of beauty and personal care products sold in Latin America in 2010 was nearly $65 billion, making it the world’s 4th largest market, just behind North America.
As the region has become a bigger and bigger market for Clarins, it’s also influenced the company’s promotional efforts. For example, a couple of years ago Clarins selected Enrique Iglesias to represent its Azzaro Pour Homme brand because of his fame and personality—but what also played a role, says Palix, was that “we needed someone who would make an impact on Latin America.”
This year the company expects to build on its past success in the region while introducing new products. One example is Aura, a perfume that Clarins created in partnership with Swarovski. Over the past 10 years Swarovski has opened stores all over Latin America. However, it was one of the few luxury brands without a fragrance, so Clarins saw an interesting opportunity in partnering to create and launch Aura. In addition, the companies were a good fit as family-owned luxury brands that share core values. To that end, Clarins is promoting Aura with a campaign this spring.
Later this year, the company plans another campaign in Latin America for its highly successful Angel perfume, leading up to a worldwide campaign in the fall that will celebrate the brand’s 20-year anniversary.
Another planned campaign this year will promote Azzaro Pour Homme, kicking off in Brazil on Father’s Day, August 12, and there will be a panregional rollout for the brand in the fall. Palix points out that Azzaro has been a perennial favorite in Latin America since its launch in 1978, with a cross-generational appeal that almost seems to be handed down from father to son.
While Palix notes that traditional media like TV and print are powerful vehicles to promote Clarins fragrances, the firm is deeply involved in leveraging the power of online media. “We are convinced that the Internet and social media are critical,” he says. This is why the Angel campaign for this spring will have a strong online component. Palix and his team seem to be very well aware of the rapidly growing online market in Latam, particularly in Brazil. As such, Clarins is localizing the content of its Latin American Facebook pages to better engage the audience.
The company is also focused on having lines of communication open with bloggers and making sure that it’s part of the online conversation about its brands. “I think that it’s the future: collaborate with your customers, listen to them, involve them and bring them incredible content,” says Palix. For Clarins, that content includes not only what their customers say about their products but exclusive videos shot with stars like Eva Mendes, the worldwide face of Angel. “Fragrances are about design,” explains Palix, “but they also have a story, and you need to captivate the imagination of consumers with unique stories.” However, what sets Clarins apart from many other brands is its commitment to looking for new ways to tell its stories, including digital media. Considering the rapid rise of the Internet in Latin America, this could well ensure that Clarins’ growth in the region continues for years to come.