Lauder Reignites Lab Series

·4 min read

The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. is hitting the refresh button on one of its original grooming brands.

Lab Series is relaunching its full assortment with updated branding and packaging, renewed sustainability commitments, a fresh campaign and a revamped formula for its Max LS Anti-Age Water Lotion.

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Executives at the brand said the second act was a product of renewed interest in the grooming category.

“We have been observing a very strong male grooming boom,” said Patrice Béliard, global brand president of Lab Series at Estée Lauder. “Basically the market is improving and we felt it was the right time to reengage our audience around Lab Series. It’s very well positioned in that respect, because we have a strong legacy of 34 years, and being a pioneer of men’s specialized skin care.”

The brand is also tapping into purposeful causes, such as sustainability. The company has committed to more than half of its packaging by weight being either recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled or recoverable, aiming to hit 75 percent by 2025. More than half of the packaging contains a minimum of 20 percent recycled materials while its cartons are all recyclable and made with FSC-certified paper. It has also made its Anti-Age Max LS Serum & Lotion refillable.

The repositioning, though, is meant to more broadly cater to the evolving grooming consumer. Executives didn’t comment on sales, although sources expect the relaunch to reach a sales volume of $100 million at retail in its first year on the market.

“We’ve done a lot to modernize the look of the brand, and the first thing we did was look at our products and packaging. The products are really targeted to specific concerns, because we know men are driven by a problem-solution approach. It’s very clear which product does what,” said Veronique Mura, global brand vice president at Lab Series.

“We already have a legacy in this market,” Mura continued. “Water Lotion is number one in Korea for the prestige skin care market. For example, we’ve translated this into reformulating our Max LS Weightless Anti-Aging Water Lotion.”

The executives agreed the relaunch would be universally appealing to its consumer base, but it does hope to capture the minds — and wallets — of younger consumers.

“We have the legitimacy to grow, and the growth for us is really based on the repeat people who have tried and are coming back, but we are going to extend that reach to a younger audience,” Béliard said.

“When we think of our targets, we think about our consumer beyond demographics and really from an attitudinal perspective because men share common characteristics regardless of their age. People from the Gen Z generation, we’re also interested in attracting them because we know they’re more interested [in skin care], too,” Mura added.

Product education is integral to the brand’s communications strategy, which plays directly to each product’s benefits. A new campaign called “Invent Yourself” aims to underscore the brand’s tailored philosophy on grooming.

“We discovered that men tend to be much more involved in the skin care category and the people we are targeting are really the person we can call ‘the evolver’ — they want to improve themselves. They like to share their advice, their products and influences, but even if they’re involved in the category, their knowledge is still relatively limited,” Mura said.

To that end, the brand is rethinking its digital content strategy, and adding a skin diagnostic tool for users to find their optimized regimens with. “It’s activated on a smartphone. You take a selfie, upload it and it uses artificial intelligence to generate a personalized skin care diagnostic and regimens,” Mura said. “It’s a key component of how we want to be talking to men when it comes to skin care. The site is also going to be featuring much more editorial content, like tips for men, tutorials for application and usage. It’s very bite-sized content that is very straightforward and engaging.”

The brand is in the process of reformulating other stockkeeping units and it’s planning on going deeper into other segments, such as men’s makeup — a category Lauder seems interested in, given its funding of Faculty, the men’s grooming and nail lacquer brand, earlier this year.

“Specifically with makeup, we already have two products in this space which we had launched as early as 2011 and we’re bringing it together in a nicer way and new packaging,” Mura said.

For more from WWD.com, see:

Eurazeo Brands’ Next Bet Is on Men’s Grooming

Amanda Gorman Named Lauder Global Changemaker

The Shifting Attitudes Behind Men’s Growing Grooming Routines

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