L’Amande is an Italian company specialized in the production and distribution of personal hygiene and body care products founded in 1884; it is currently believed to be one of the world’s oldest soap makers still in existence.
When the company asked us to take care of its brand and its communication, we knew that we should treat it with the respect that such an ancient brand deserves. However, we soon realized that although the brand had remained unchanged over time giving it a traditional look, the company had evolved over the last century and with it its products. Products that, being born in different eras, were graphically often inhomogeneous to each other, resulting in a lower effectiveness of brand grip in the minds of customers.
We, therefore, rolled up our sleeves and first of all we thoroughly analyzed the brand, its official website, and its products to try to understand what were the causes of this lack of homogeneity and to solve them without altering the traditional nineteenth-century graphic aspect, which we wanted to preserve at all costs.
The first thing we did was to analyze the website, the first point of access to the brand for many potential customers or simple curious ones, to try to understand if it was easy to understand and if the subdivision of the over four hundred products on sale was clear.
It quickly became clear to us that the constant expansion of the product portfolio over the years had been done without taking into account how a potential customer might perceive them.
The first cause of confusion for us and for a potential customer was the homonymy between the product categories and their sub-categories, which were all called the same way: lines.
If it is in fact true that a person inside the company is absolutely capable of understanding what we are talking about when mentioning the Enfant lines or the Aromatique lines, this does not apply in the same way when concepts are communicated to the outside world, above all in an age where competition is high and a potential customer’s attention span is low.
Hence our proposal is to change the names of the main categories into families and leave the name and status of lines to all groupings of products in the immediately lower hierarchical step.
A change that may seem minimal but which helps a potential customer to immediately understand the organization of the products and immediately helps him in his orientation within e-commerce.
What for us was the second immediate source of confusion for the customer was the existence of products without any categorization.
Using a computer metaphor, it was as if there were many folders in which to catalog the files but still files outside any folder. Given the very nature of the structure of a website and how a user is used to navigating them, it is in fact important that there are no products without any categorization, a situation which in fact could make them potentially unobtainable, and therefore never purchasable if they cannot be reached via a direct link.
Furthermore, thinking outside the logic of the e-commerce world, a product without categorization and without a line from which to descend becomes difficult to understand for a potential customer who might come across it: is this product for the person or for the home? For the body or for the hands?
We then moved on to a deeper analysis of the product organization, finding what for us were other reasons for potential confusion.
In our customer’s idea, the product lines were divided into four large families:
- Marseille: lines for everyday hygiene;
- Aromatique: prestigious lines for hygiene and personal care designed as a gift for special occasions;
- Men: lines for men’s care;
- Maison: products for enhancing and perfuming the home.
Unfortunately, however, with the general structure of the products before our eyes, it seemed clear to us that over the years this categorization had been lost with the expansion of the product range.
The Maison product family was divided into four distinct lines by fragrance, however, there were four products that were not attributable to any of these fragrances and that had nothing in common with each other.
The products within the Men‘s family, dedicated to personal care for males, were divided into four distinct lines, each with a different fragrance, but with ambiguous names. Two lines carried the names of the fragrances that distinguished them, Saffron and Coriander, while the others had two marketing names, Men’s Care and Pour Homme.
In our opinion, this nomenclature brought about two issues:
- The fact that the product lines had two different types of names could lead a user to wonder if they were actually on the same level, especially if…
- …the two marketing names chosen for the lines that did not carry the name of the distinguishing fragrance had the generic meaning of men’s product in English and French, which many brands in the same sector use to identify the generic macro-category of products for the male gender.
While the Aromatique family seemed well-organized with its lines carrying the name of the distinguishing fragrance, the large Marseille family immediately appeared to us as the one with the most confusing and disorganized structure.
If in our client’s intentions, the Marseille family was the one that included lines dedicated to daily personal care, it was evident that over the years it had transformed into the category in which to include all the lines and individual products that could not be categorized in any other way.
- Although most of the lines within the Marseille family shared packaging with similar features, many had unique colors and package layouts.
- Some lines were not actually dedicated to personal hygiene but rather to other purposes, such as home cleaning, protection from insect bites, and sunrays, making the premise of the parent line unclear.
- The names of the lines were of different types, ranging from the names of the fragrances that distinguished them to the names of the specific body parts to which they were dedicated.
- Some lines had misleading names that did not make it clear which products they were composed of; for example, the Nature line consisted only of face masks, while the Green line consisted of laundry soaps.
All of this made it unclear for a potential customer to understand the real hierarchy and organization of products within the large Marseille family:
- If there is a specific line for the face called Viso, are there no face products in the Agrumi di Liguria line, or are there?
- What is the real difference between the Nature, EcoBio, and Green lines?
- Why are makeup remover wipes and lip balm sticks not included in the Viso line but have their separate line?
These and other questions were a significant warning signal that led us to propose a reorganization of the categorization of products as the very first intervention in brand communication, even before any adjustments to the graphic-visual image.
Before any intervention on the brand and its packaging, which could have been burdensome for loyal customers accustomed to seeing products packaged in a certain way, it seemed correct to us to first reorganize the extensive product range and then only in a second phase decide on which ones to operate graphically and in what order.
As a first step, we focused on the reorganization of the Marseille family, which seemed to us to be the most heterogeneous, asking ourselves if it was possible to identify lines with similar usage or values to group them into new families of lines with clearer propositions for the end user.
Given the antiquity of the brand, which in 2022 was granted the status of Historical Brand of National Interest by the Ministry of Economic Development, it was important for us that the lines remaining within the Marseille family, the first one born with the company, reflected its historicity.
In our proposal, the remaining products, once all the lines that could give rise to new product families were separated, would have actually been solely dedicated to daily body care, as the original premise of the Marseille family.
Furthermore, an additional division between the classic line, where the products with almond oil that give the name to the company would be included, and the modern line would have allowed us in the future to launch marketing campaigns for specific products, leveraging the value commonly attributed to historical brands.
After merging some product lines to create new families dedicated to specific needs or target markets, our proposed product reorganization was as follows.
The product lines characterized by local fragrances have become a separate family: Regional. In this way, we could later launch targeted marketing campaigns focused on the theme of travel and the exploration of exotic sensations.
The products dedicated to expectant mothers, new mothers, and newborns have been grouped together in the Mamma & Bimbo family, allowing us to create marketing campaigns that accompany women during pregnancy up until the first two years of their child’s life, potentially fostering customer loyalty for three consecutive years.
Organic products and solid cosmetics have been grouped together in the Eco Bio family, aiming to bring together all those potential customers with a green mindset who care about the well-being of the environment.
From product lines to e-commerce
The reorganization of the products aimed to provide potential customers with a clear idea of their main features at a first glance through the catalog, along with a subsequent packaging restyling for each product family.
Of course, that was not the only purpose; in fact, a clear organization of the product lines can help potential customers navigate through the product catalog not only in physical stores but also, and especially, on the company’s e-commerce platform.
However, not all users search for products online in the same way, and the organization chosen by the manufacturer doesn’t always align with the search intents of all its potential customers.
If a user wanted, for example, to be able to compare and have all the shower gels in front of them at the same time, regardless of their fragrance? Or all the body care products?
For this reason, we have organized L’Amande’s product range into multiple layers so that, although the graphic restyling of the packaging would be based on product families, users would also be able to search for them on the e-commerce platform using other parameters such as usage, type, or fragrance.
Following the analysis of the extensive product range categorization, we proceeded with an analysis of their packaging. Before embarking on a restyling operation, which can be challenging for loyal customers accustomed to seeing the products on the shelf in a certain way, it is important to understand what can be improved and which graphic elements can be preserved as they are.
Click here to read the report of our analysis on our client’s packaging.