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Positioning Strategy Template: Drugstore Shampoo Makes a Comeback

Positioning Strategy Template: Drugstore Shampoo Makes a Comeback

TikTok Trends Influence Luxury Shoppers to Clean Up with Value Brands

This Positioning Strategy Template helps value brands understand how to attract consumers who seek luxury experiences. There are three key elements:

  1. Affordable pricing
  2. Deft use of social media
  3. Understand luxury trends

I am too lazy to get my hair cut very frequently. As a result, it’s grown quite long. Somehow, my smartphone knows this (or maybe it just knows that I have started watching haircare videos), because now when I mindlessly scroll YouTube shorts, a lot of the videos are like this one on Instagram: explaining (or claiming to explain) the science of hair care, or giving personal accounts of women’s ‘hair care journeys’ (at some point one begins to wonder what does not qualify as a journey). 

If you, like me, are frequently exposed to these sorts of videos due to an almost involuntary tendency to watch YouTube shorts, one thing you will notice is that videos with titles like “Amazing Drugstore Shampoos,” “Day 1 of Switching to Drugstore Shampoo,” and “Best Drugstore Shampoo and Conditioner” are very popular on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. 

@alyssakimber Day 1 of switching to drugstore shampoo ????????????‍♀️ #bestdrugstoreshampoo #drugstorehair #targethairfinds #targetshampoo #alyssakimber #summerhaircare #haircare ♬ Good Vibes (Instrumental) – Ellen Once Again

The “Day 1” video in particular tells a fairly typical story: while the woman making the video had previously used a high-end shampoo from Pureology, after she had a new financial commitment (in this case, a wedding to plan for), she switched to a drugstore brand, L’Oreal. The branding on the L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner set she holds up is strikingly similar to the Pureology branding, and indeed L’Oreal owns Pureology, It would seem the parent company, L’Oreal, is losing money on this customer, although it is better for them that she switch to another one of their value brands instead of to a competitor. 

But I digress: what is notable is her switch, and particularly the fact that she says she is “jumping on the bandwagon” of switching to drugstore shampoo and conditioner, which of course implies that there exists a bandwagon to jump on. How are drugstore hair care brands positioning themselves to benefit from this trend? In this Positioning Strategy Template, I will explore three ways drugstore shampoos can position or market themselves in order to benefit from this trend.

Positioning Strategy Template:
Affordable Pricing

As the woman in the “Day 1” video suggests, there is a very simple reason that customers might choose to switch to drugstore shampoo brands: price. Affordable pricing is the first key part of this positioning strategy template. 

Regardless of what economists say, Americans report feeling the pinch of increased prices after the massive inflation of the last few years. Emily Stewart, writing for Vox, puts it pithily: “the economy is good, and people hate it”. Everything costs more now, so it is not terribly surprising that fewer people can justify spending a lot on shampoo and conditioner. 

Returning to the brands from our “Day 1” TikTok: the creator switched from Pureology to L’Oreal. On the Pureology website, you can buy the “Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner Combo” at a “great value” of $3.6 per ounce. Similarly, another popular shampoo, Prose, which is actually personalized and heavily advertised on platforms like Instagram and Youtube, costs $4 an ounce. By contrast, on the L’Oreal Paris website, you can buy “Ever Pure” shampoo (which seems to have been featured in the video) for $1.18 per ounce. 

Other drugstore brands that are popular on TikTok and Instagram are even cheaper. We will discuss the Aussie Miracle Moist line of products shortly, as some of the most mentioned products on TikTok and other platforms. A combo pack of Miracle Moist shampoo, conditioner, and “deep conditioner” costs only $0.18 per ounce on Amazon. Aussie seems especially well-positioned to sell to consumers who still want effective products but are looking to economize.

Positioning Strategy Template:
Making Use of New Forms of Social Media

The second element of our positioning strategy template is the use of new forms of social media. While this element is less a positioning strategy than an advertising tactic, we should not ignore the importance of paid promotions in driving the popularity of drugstore shampoo on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. The first video I linked to in this article is a paid promotion: while the video does feature an actual PhD chemist, she was paid by Pantene to make content about the way in which drugstore brands often have the same chemical ingredients as their high-end counterparts. 

By employing a popular, science-based influencer like Lab Muffin , companies like Pantene can seed the public conversation on things like TikTok and Instagram to shift public opinion in favor of their products. Then, individuals like the creator of the “Day 1” video will begin to make free content promoting these products. 

Positioning Strategy Template:
Following the Botanical Trend

As I previously mentioned, the Aussie brand of haircare products has been a big winner on TikTok: for example, you can see it listed in both of these two articles about haircare featured on TikTok. Aussie is a very good example of the third element of this positioning strategy template for drugstore hair products, which is a use of botanical ingredients. 

According to Mordor Intelligence, one of the dominant trends in the global shampoo market is increased “demand for safe, natural, and organic shampoo products.” These shampoos and conditioners increasingly include “natural ingredients such as jojoba oil, argan oil, coconut milk, and onion.” 

While botanicals might seem more at home in fancy salon products, many drugstore brands include botanical ingredients. Along with a low price point, the inclusion of botanical ingredients might account for Aussie’s success on TikTok and other social media. 

Aussie uses natural botanical ingredients, which has always been core to its brand identity. Visitors to the Aussie website can read about its history. According to the website, the brand has stayed true to its roots in Australia, which is:  

“home to some of the most diverse, and naturally potent botanicals… We’ve bottled these beauties together with our unique conditioning blend since 1979 to create a collection of hair miracles for you.” 

Aussie maintains this botanical emphasis in the design of its bottles. Most of the products that Aussie sells have an image of a particular plant ingredient. he Miracle Moist line group of products all have an image of an avocado on the bottle: coincidentally (or not) this ingredient is very trendy.

Positioning Strategy Template: Drugstore Shampoo Makes a Comeback

Brands like Aussie manage to position themselves effectively in multiple ways. They still give consumers what they want and what is trendy, meaning that the product does not simply seem stodgy or utilitarian, but at the same time, by offering options at a lower price point, they appeal to customers who are looking for more affordable alternatives. The lesson of this positioning strategy template is that even in times of economic difficulty, brands should try to position themselves as trendy and exciting. 

Do you want to position your brand more effectively? You can make use of the wealth of knowledge on the Insight to Action resources page. Our newsletter is your go-to source for staying updated on the ever-evolving world of market strategy. Furthermore, our team is at your service during office hours, ready to meet with you and tackle any questions that come to mind. Insight to Action can help develop a positioning strategy or any other marketing strategy your business requires.