Lip balm. That waxy, highly satisfying and oh-so-moisturizing substance we all slather on our lips from time to time has been around FOREVER. Well, at least since the 1880’s. I’ve got more than my fair share of them sliding around my purse, makeup bag and car glove box. When you need it, you need it pronto, so most us have more than one.
Flavors come and go. Some balms come in a tube, most come in an easy-to-pocket stick. There’s a very informative and somewhat cheeky history of balms here.
But, alas, despite its popularity, lip balm has been a “steady Eddy” with no real game changers. That is, until EOS’ product innovation.
EOS or Evolution of Smooth has been on the market since 2009 and is now enjoying the covetable #1 seat on a list of top selling lip balms, according to Racked.com. It unseated a whole host of leading mass brands like Blistex, Carmex and Chapstick that retail for $1.50 or less. EOS is merchandised right next to the aforementioned brands and sells each sphere for $3.29. More than double? That’s right, it’s a golden example of “do it different” and they will come.
Three things we can learn from EOS’ product innovation that made the mass lip balm category go from bland to grand:
- Innovate in form and package- while most balms come in a stick or tube, EOS spheres are fun to use and stand out from the crowd. Is the sphere delivery system better than the competition? Nope, not necessarily. It’s absolutely functional, definitely comfortable and, ultimately, quite memorable. Marketing magic at it’s best.
- Romance the senses- EOS offers delicious flavors like Pomegranate Raspberry, Sweet Mint and Summer Fruit. Yummy alternatives to Medicated, Menthol or plain Strawberry found in competitive brands that we used to reach for. It’s a small step with big impact on changing the category in a positive way. Flavor inspiration can come from fragrance and food trends to tune in to what consumers are enjoying in other areas of their lives.
- Become covetable (easier said than done)- EOS has done an expert job of connecting with millennial-age consumers through sampling, product placement and scoring major press through celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani and others who are crushing hard on these collectible little lip balm spheres. It’s a triple whammy in the world of marketing.
- Placement at cash wraps and end caps at major retailers like Target have these eye-catching packages stopping millenials in their tracks.
- New colors and flavors add a “collect em all” nature to the product that consumers love. Seasonal and limited-edition flavors and packages boost interest even more.
- Celebrities rank second to friends and relatives as an endorsement consumers trust. They are powerful resources for a brand looking to drive sales in a crowded marketplace, like EOS.
Three cheers to the team at EOS for doing it differently, we’re excited to see what heights they soar to next.