· As part of your essay, please address the following questions:
o Who is the greatest marketer of all times?
o What did she/he do in terms of building relationships with customers that makes you say so?
o How did she/he do it?
o Any key takeaways for other aspiring marketers?
Boston, Massachusetts witnessed the birth of one of the world's prominent cosmetic brands —Revlon. It all began in 1932 when Charles Revson faced disappointment after losing his chance to be national distributor of the cosmetic company he was working with. During the time of Great Depression, Revson made a brave move to start his own cosmetic firm with the help of Joseph Revson (his brother) and Charles Lachman (the chemist), with only $300 in his bank account (The Charles H. Revson Foundation, 2012). Initially, Revlon sold only nail enamels to salons, then later expanded to department stores. Within five decades, Revson made Revlon into one of the well-known cosmetic brands in the United States and around the world (A Touch of Business, 2015).
When Revson first started Revlon, he was the minority among men who could provide manicure services using his own nail enamel. With this specialty and experienced from where he previously worked, he knew that people wanted more varieties of nail colors to choose from, so he saw the opportunity to feel the market gap by solving this problem. During the launch, the company provided a wider range of nail polish shades in comparison to competitors (A Touch of Business, 2015). Moreover, Revlon is the first company to use pigments as an ingredient instead of dyes. The benefit that consumers will receive from the Revlon's nail polishers are more variety of colors as well as the thicker and glossier coating effects (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2013). This can be referred to how Revlon can provide enabling benefits (one of the elements in building brand admiration) to the customers, as consumers can rely on the quality of Revlon's nail enamels, leading to having brand trust. When customers are enabled with the brand, it means they trust the brand that it will consistently deliver the functional benefits to help solve their problems. On the other hand, nail polisher also provides enticing benefits for customers because their wants is being satisfied through having more color selections. When the brand can evoke the sensory stimulation, customers are likely pleased by the brand, leading to brand love (Park, MacInnis & Eisingerich et al., 2016).
Furthermore, Revson tried to slowly build trust with the sales representatives by teaching them how to use it step-by-step (Magretta, 2012). Moreover, when the sales representatives developed trust in Revlon, they would then be motivated to promote and sincerely recommend the products to the customers. From this point, the company could also easily establish a relationship with the customers, when their employees have faith in their own products. Additionally, to attract people's attention to a new product in the market, Revson allowed the potential users to try on the product first hand. This strategy, known as trialability, is effective because it allows customers to see for themselves what benefit the product can provide (Yocco, 2015). After the success of nail enamels, Revson expanded Revlon to produce other products within the same category, such as mascara, lipsticks, eyeshadow, perfumes, and etc; it can be referred to as product extension. He chose to do what he knew best and expanded on this knowledge to further improve his products.
“In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope,” said Charles Revson (Helmer, 2010).
In the 1960s, Revlon expanded to international market by introducing the “American Look” through featuring Americans celebrities on their advertisements. It's the time Americans politically dominated the world in wealth and military strength (Hughes, 2011). On the contrary, this incident also impacted fashion, as American are perceived as having attractive looks, glamorous clothes and beautiful shelters. Therefore, people who lived in the post WWII, deeply hope to live like the Americans after being exposed to different medium. From this situation, Revson saw an opportunity to advertise his brand by using American models rather than other famous international actresses (Mason, 2011). In Revlon advertisements, hope is portrayed by using attractive celebrities and models along with advertising copy that promises customers instant beauty with less or no effort. Advertising boldly these days might not be legal, but at that time, it worked as it is what customers wanted to see and hear. This showed that Revson knows what he sells, which is hope rather than cosmetics, thus altering how he sold his products (Hughes, 2011). Additionally, he saw the importance of great marketing, as he believed that without great marketing the company will not make its way to success (ref quote).
Moreover, ‘hope is a marketable entity that affects the economic viability of many industries'
(J. MacInnis, D. & E. de Mello, G, 2005). The cosmetics industry is in itself the products of hope, as some people put on makeup to cover the flaws on their face as way to enhance their self-esteem. This could be referred to the benefits of how the brand enriches customers during that time when Americans were looked up to. Revson exploited this opportunity to his business at the right time that linked to the customers' insights (Hughes, 2011).
However, Revson also struggled during his career, Revson was sometimes perceived to be too offensive and hard-driven that some of his colleagues cannot cope to work with him. On the other hand, he cared for customers by putting his heart in every detail to provide the best customers service, a true perfectionist (Infoplease, 2000). For example, he was the one who received calls and personally gave advices to his customers about the usage of the products. Also, he individually matched the tones and colors to customers' personality and preferences because he believe that customers are the real boss. It shows that Revson offered heartwarming benefits that enticed customers' feelings through his unique and personalised customer service (Park, MacInnis & Eisingerich et al., 2016).
Another factor that made Revson successful in his career is to be a fast follower in the industry. Revson believed that looking at what the competitors did well and following them is not wrong. Nevertheless, he saw this as an opportunity to adapt the competitors' advantages into his products, and this allowed him to make sure that he is not making the wrong move (ref). He once said, “If you copy something, that you copy it so well and so differently that nobody recognizes the fact you copied it. That\'s creative copy (ref).”
Apart from his strategic marketing, in his later years, he established Charles H. Revson Foundation in 1956 and funded schools, hospitals and the Jewish community in New York, where he began his cosmetic empire. He donated $10 million during his lifetime, and he donated part of his estate after his death (The Charles H. Revson Foundation, 2012). Ultimately, people would feel enriched when their actions are aligning with their beliefs, such as helping with the society (Park, MacInnis & Eisingerich et al., 2016).
In my opinion, there are many key success factors of Revson that marketers can look up to. Firstly, Revson showed that he has passion for what he is doing and is willing to learn continuously about the industry he is in. It is very crucial for the business owners to know all the details about a particular industry they are entering. This would allow the owners to passionately and genuinely present their businesses. Moreover, by knowing everything, the owner can avoid any mismanagement of the company and will not be easily cheated on. Secondly, it is an advantage of the company when they know the customers' insights. However, it is important to utilise these insights in the right direction to make your brand unique. Also, they should make consumers feel that the brand represents who they are so they would become loyal customers. Next, following competitors are often misconceived as a disadvantage but can actually be beneficial as you would not want your competitors to be ahead of you in the same industry. Lastly, it is always good to invest in the relationship with customers, but company should not forget that the ultimate goal is to be profitable (ref).
Revson is not only one of the greatest marketer, but also a giver.
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