2010 TBC White Paper SeriesTo Derm or Not to Derm. Identifying the right dermatologist affiliation strategy for your brand and marketing needs may seem daunting, but there are options to get you where you need to go.
There are many ways to utilize an association with a dermatologist for your brand. Althoughthere are a plethora of ‘derm-founded brands’, this paper is not only about brands founded bydermatologists, rather; this paper will explore how to leverage the power of a dermatologistassociation in order to support and grow your business. We will explore the consumer per-ception (and industry reality) of terms like ‘dermatologist-tested’; investigate different dermendorsement scenarios, as well as conduct an in-depth look at those branding catch-phrasesthat we all use, yet for which no one concrete definition exists: dermatologist-tested, -recom-mended and -approved.While there are many ways to work with a dermatologist, not all will be right for your brand.In order to get the most out of this dynamic relationship, you first need to determine, ‘What isright for me?’ Does your brand need full-on participation by a dermatologist for the long term,or do you only need a minimal amount of participation, such as a day’s worth of press releasesand consumer testing? Once you establish what you hope to reap out of the association, youwill be able to create a strategy to bring the most benefit to your brand.From a consumer perspective, associations with a dermatologist lend credibility, believabilityand more importantly, buy-ability to a brand. Research shows that dermatologist-tested, -rec-ommended or-approved language is a key motivator in skincare purchases for women. In ad-dition, from a marketing perspective, having some sort of ‘dermatologist’ verbiage, or actuallybeing able to showcase a dermatological seal of approval on packaging or other branded items,further drives the credibility of your product in-market—and sets it apart from the competi-tion.Regardless of which strategy best suits your brand, there are options to help you get where youneed to go, and to support your business’s growth in the way that makes the most sense. Ourinvestigation into those ways will illuminate all the options, and help set you on the course toget the most bang for your buck!Current dermatologist endorsed brands on the marketThere are a number of ways for you to enlist a dermatologist to support yourbrand. While we are not focusing exclusively on derm founded brands in this paper, giventhe prevalence of such brands on the market, we felt a brief exploration of this choice waswarranted.Dermatologist developed or founded brands, such as Dr. Murad, Dr. Perricone and Dr. Wexler,are brands where the derm may be the owner/developer of the brand as well as the in-marketname and image for the brand. Sometimes referred to as ‘doctor brands’, they occupy a singularposition in the market. Consumers resonate to the doctor association as these brands are oftenperceived as scientifically or clinically-superior to traditional skincare brands merely becauseof the association with the dermatologist. In other words, “MD” = skin care credibility andauthority.
Choosing to associate with a derm as the founder or ‘name’ behind your brand offers manybenefits. In the consumer’s mind, the derm association is permanently connected to thebrand. Also, when the derm is a founding member of the brand, he or she will be a built-inpresence or figurehead, leading all communication and outreach: image, quotes, speaking en-gagements, photo shoots, and any other media exposure. Many derms also bring with themthe added benefit of their associations with colleges, universities and hospitals, which will notonly provide your brand with another level of authority, but it can potentially give you accessto research and development facilities for future product development.The following table lists brands already in-market, and how they utilize a derma-tologist relationship. Derm founded brands Derm endorsed or recommended brands Derm panel brands (where derm name is (derm may also be the founder, but is not brand name) in-market name) • Dr. Murad • Dr. Kunin (Dermadoctor) • Dermelect (derm panel) • Dr. Perricone • Dr. Sobel (DDF) • DermExclusive (derm panel) • Dr. Wexler • Drs. Rodan and Fields (ProActiv) • Dr. Brandt • Dr. Taylor (Rx for Brown Skin) • Dr. Baumann • Drs. Polla (Alchimie Forever) • Dr. Hauschka • Dr. Meisner (Cellex-C) • Dr. Denese • Dr. Fiorillo (Hydroxatone) • Dr. Dennis Gross • Dr. Cohen (pH Advantage) Skincare • Dr. Pugliese (Circadia) • Drs. Rodan + Fields • Dr. Herzog (Karin Herzog Skincare)Although not every brand utilizes their derm relationship in exactly the same manner, it is easyto see that each brand on this list has successfully leveraged their derm relationship to cementtheir position in-market. And with the exciting advances in consumer out-reach, that partici-pation has gotten creative and diverse.
For example, Murad skincare reaches out to consumers via a healthy online presence includinga homepage, Facebook,Twitter and even TV. One unique outreach program Murad hosts is aninteractive ‘Ask Dr. Murad’ live chat-session each month on their Facebook fan page, whichgives consumers a change to directly interact with the doctor (and the brand!):Like Murad, many other dermatologist brands use social networking to reach their consumercommunity. In addition to a Facebook page and Twitter feed, Dr. Dennis Gross, derm founderof Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare also maintains a YouTube channel, where tutorial videos areposted for consumers to learn about products:A successful dermatologist endorsement will require not only thoughtful marketing and col-lateral that utilizes your derm, it will also require consumer outreach across all platforms, andthe internet is a pivotal component of this strategy.
Derma-GlossaryAlthough no one definition is embraced by every brand, in order to clarify ourmeanings for dermatologist-tested, -recommended, and –approved, we have creat-ed a short derma-glossary to define the terms as we see them affecting the industry.Dermatologist-tested Dermatologist-recommended Dermatologist-approvedWhile no official definition exists, derma- Generally considered to mean that a Generally considered to mean that thetologist-tested is generally accepted to dermatologist has reviewed or tested the products have been approved by a der-mean that a product has been tested by products, and then recommend them for matologist for their intended use.a dermatologist for irritancy. The details their intended use.of these tests (How many participants?Is the derm an expert in the field ofcosmetic formulations, etc?) do not haveto be disclosed to consumers.Because these terms are so widely utilized by the entire industry, (yet so woefully undefined),we will delve more deeply into their many meanings, and their impact on the industry, laterin the paper.A derm a dozen? The derm market at a glance.The endorsement or recommendation of a dermatologist is important to consum-ers, even if they aren’t entirely sure what that endorsement means. • Thirty-five percent of women ages 18-29 buy skincare because it is dermatologist rec- ommended (The Benchmarking Company’s Pink Report™ Survival of the Prettiest 2007). • Five percent of women purchase their skincare at a dermatologist’s office (The Bench- marking Company’s Pink Report™ Survival of the Prettiest). • In 2008 there were approximately 46,100 physicians practicing dermatology and plas- tic surgery in the US, of which more than 11,600 dispensed skincare products to pa- tients (according to Kline & CO). • In the survey, women indicated that a preferred method of extending the duration between visits for costly dermatologic procedures is purchasing a professional skincare regimen (Kline & CO.) • Physicians’ clinics have been identified as the new booming marketing channel for cosmetics and skincare products in the US, according to Kline & Co. Although the medical distribution channel is currently extremely small in terms of sales, the market research company notes growth of 16.5% in sales of cosmetics and skin care products in 2007. • Over 70% of women say that a dermatologist is their number one influencer when it comes to advice on skincare. (Defy Your Age: 2009 Anti-Aging Report, Prevention Maga- zine)
What does she have to say?Women like to see the dermatologist endorsement and they believe it means theproducts are better for their skin, are safer to use, and they will work.Industry-insiders are well aware that the terms ‘dermatologist-tested’ , ‘-recommended’ and‘-approved’ mean different things to different people in the industry, but what do they meanto the most important person. What do they mean to her? To find out, we went straight tothe source. In December 2009, we conducted an online survey of more than 100 women inorder to probe their thoughts, feelings and perceptions of what these terms mean to a con-sumer. Their insights were remarkably consistent and shed a great deal of light on why thesecatch-phrases are so powerful and motivating to a consumer.The results also showed how thesephrases can be utilized as viable (and believable) selling-points for your brand.In our survey, we asked “What does the term dermatologist-tested mean to you?” More thanhalf of all women indicated that this term means the product(s) ‘had been tested by a derma-tologist and are safe for use.’ Even without explicit information on the endorsing dermatolo-gist, or the products themselves, the very presence of the words dermatologist-tested was enoughto inspire confidence that the brand was reputable. Accompanying comments shed even morelight on her thoughts. • “An actual dermatologist (with a degree) ran trials and tested the product” • “A dermatologist tested this product on patients in a clinical environment” • “Doctors have tested the products on patients” • “Dermatologists have used the product on patients and the product has shown ef- ficacy” • “That a physician with a specialty in skin (dermatology) has examined/tested the product and verified it’s affect”Clearly, these terms are powerful and motivating to consumers, but they also carry with theman implied promise or guarantee. Out of all respondents, nearly one-quarter believe that‘dermatologist-tested’ also means the product is ‘safe and proven to work’, or ‘has been testedby medical doctors (dermatologists) on patients‘, again supporting the consumer’s belief that aproduct endorsed by a dermatologist is necessarily safe and going to work merely because a derm isassociated with the brand. Powerful implications for how important a dermatologist affiliation,even one as simple as a ‘derm-tested’ seal, can be to a brand.As quickly as the consumer is drawn to your brand by this claim, she will be just as soon disap-pointed in (or potentially drop) your brand should she perceive that the promise of ‘derma-tologist-tested’, ‘-recommended’ or ‘-approved’ doesn’t prove true. If you choose to identifyyour brand as a ‘dermatologist-tested’, ‘-recommended’ or ‘-approved’ brand, you must be ableto back up these claims in order to retain and grow her loyalty.
Dermatologist Recommended/Approved/TestedNow that we know what your consumer thinks of these claims, what do you think?These terms are used frequently by almost everyone in the industry, yet they arevery broadly defined.What it is: The claims ‘dermatologist-recommended’ dermatologist-approved’ and ‘dermatol-ogist-tested’, while appealing to consumers, are very loosely defined by the cosmetics industry,and not regulated by the FDA. According to Mark Lees, author of Skin Care, Beyond the Basics,dermatologist-tested generally means, “ethically, that the products have been tested for irri-tancy under the supervision of a dermatologist”, however; there are no guidelines or regulatoryrequirements for what this term may (or must) mean. Paula Begoun, author of Don’t Go to theCosmetics Counter Without Me, notes that there are “no FDA regulations for the use of the termdermatologist-tested, or the claims some companies make about them.”About dermatologist-recommended and -approved claims, Ms. Begoun is even more critical,and calls them nothing more than marketing gimmicks, especially if the brand “doesn’t disclosehow or why the dermatologist is recommending or approving their brand”. Most companiesappear to use these claims to indicate that their product (or products), at the very least, havebeen used by a dermatologist, and the derm would ethically recommend them for the purposefor which they are intended.Interestingly, even though these claims are not clearly defined and broadly applied to a widerange of products (skincare, sunscreens, anti-aging products, hair care, etc.), their value andmerit to a brand should not be underestimated. Consumers across all demographics eagerlyembrace these claims, and believe it indicates the product in question is superior simply be-cause it was tested, recommended or approved by a dermatologist. As the controversy over dermatologist-tested, -recommended and -approved ‘claims’ grows(and it’s likely that it will continue to be an industry-wide hot button), there is a huge op-portunity for brands to take the lead in helping to define what the terms actually mean, and toreassure consumers that these claims are not merely marketing gimmicks or clever copy writ-ing, but a true indication of a product’s quality and standard. Consumers like the claim. Theybelieve in the message that a product ‘tested, recommended or approved’ by a dermatologist issafe and proven to work, but they are also thirsting for these claims to have a concrete meaning.Importantly, even though there are no regulations on the use of these terms, according to theFDA website, the FDA ‘may take regulatory action if it has information to support that a cos-metic is adulterated or misbranded.’ Therefore, any decision to brand your product or line astested, approved or otherwise recommended by a dermatologist should be valid and documented toprotect the integrity of your brand.
How it works: A dermatologist is contracted to go on record as recommending, approvingor stating they tested your brand. Long-term benefits are not necessarily associated with thisrelationship and usually, neither the derm nor the testing conducted is disclosed in marketingor branding materials, or in press releases. Because there are no regulations regarding the useof these claims, it is up to your brand to decide exactly what the claims mean.The benefits: From a consumer marketing standpoint, a dermatologist-tested, -recommend-ed or -approved claim is hugely beneficial. Even knowing there is no official regulation of theterms, consumers find value in these claims, and are more likely to purchase brands with theseclaims than without them.Seals of ApprovalSeals of recognition or approval have been, until quite recently, a very popular wayto indicate dermatologist approval or endorsement of a brand.However, one of the most well-known options, the American Academy of Dermatology Sealof Recognition, was phased out in December 2009, and the seal is no longer being given toany new brands or products. For Canadian brands, there is seal of approval program called theDermatologist Review Panel which offers a seal of recognition for over-the-counter consumerskincare products. This program is limited in scope, however, and is applicable to products onlysold in Canada. (See appendix for a detailed overview of both program.Derm-for-a-day/short-term relationshipShort-term relationships with a dermatologist are an ideal way to garner dermatol-ogist endorsement without resorting to a lengthy contract or association, especiallyfor smaller or indie brands.What it is: A derm-for-a-day relationship is a short-term relationship with a dermatologistthat can be utilized for marketing, product development or branding collateral, or to createa dermatologist-tested claim, or when a long-term relationship isn’t warranted. This type ofderm relationship is ideal for a smaller brand, or for a brand that only needs a limited affiliationwith a dermatologist, such as for press releases or photo shoots.How it works: An expert dermatologist who specializes in a field that supports your brand(acne, anti-aging, etc.) is contracted to work for a short-term such as a day, a few days or pos-sibly a week. During that time, the derm may be called upon to give their insight and opinionson the brand through a variety of methods. Focus groups can be staged to elicit dermatologistrecommendations or testing claims; the products may be tested and used by the derm; quotesabout the product from the derm can be generated; and photo shoots that include the dermcan be scheduled.
The benefits: There are several benefits to the short-term or derm-for-a-day relationship.For a small or indie brand, the costs associated with this sort of dermatologist endorsement aregenerally less, as is the time commitment. The derm agrees to give all rights to photos, claims,endorsements and approvals to the brand, and these valuable tools can be utilized repeatedly infuture branding and marketing efforts without incurring additional costs.Dermatologist sponsorship/long-term relationshipLong-term endorsement by a dermatologist is a powerful option when you need toconsistently build upon the credibility of the dermatologist for your entire brand,or for brands that cater to specific categories, such as anti-aging, sun care or acne.What it is: A long-term dermatologist relationship is ideal for a company that wants to utilizetheir association with the dermatologist for the life of the product or brand. For specific typesof brands and products – acne care, sun care and anti-aging – this sort of ‘brand evangelist’ is anideal relationship because it affords the brand the distinction of the derm association withoutthe image/name of the derm taking over the identity of the company.How it works: As with the derm-for-a-day opportunity, a long-term relationship with a der-matologist offers many benefits. In this scenario, your brand would be associated with a der-matologist for an extended time frame, potentially even permanently. In addition to producttesting, focus groups and photo shoots, long-term dermatologist relationships would also giveyou the opportunity to utilize the derm for ongoing quotes, speaking engagements and etc.The benefits: Many consumers report that a dermatologist recommendation or endorsementis especially appealing to them when considering a new skincare or cosmetics brand. A long-term relationship lets you enjoy the same benefits as a short-term relationship (testing claims,photos, press release quotes), and also gives you a built-in expert for future product develop-ment, marketing and branding.Dermatologist PanelOne of the newest types of dermatologist endorsement, derm panels are a greatway to build in-depth authority and believability in your brand.What is it: Another derm-endorsement option is to convene an independent derm panel.In this scenario, a group of experts are paneled to help research, develop and/or endorse yourbrand. These panels often include plastic surgeons, estheticians, and other skincare experts, aswell as dermatologists.Much like a short-term and long-term relationship, a derm panel can be called upon for quotes,speaking engagements, collateral development and photo shoots, as well as for press releases andother corporate outreach. Derm panels are becoming increasingly popular and they are a greatway to add a wealth of expert authority to your brand while reaching a wide consumer base.
How it works: As with other dermatologist relationships, you may choose to contract withyour derm panel for either a short or long-term affiliation, depending upon your businessneeds. If your brand is small, a short-term panel relationship might be the best scenario, allow-ing you to build a deck of marketing and outreach materials in a costly, time-efficient manner.For larger brands, or brands that intend to add multiple skus or product lines to existing catego-ries, a long-term relationship may offer a superior benefit. In addition to the marketing mate-rials, a long-term relationship with a derm panel will allow you to leverage their presence andauthority throughout the life of both your existing brands and any new skus that are released.The benefits: In addition to the added benefit of expert authorities from a wide cross-sectionof the industry, a dermatologist panel gives added depth and credibility to your brand. Themultiple experts on the panel will appeal to a large consumer base, thus making the brand ac-cessible and compelling to potentially more buyers.ConclusionChoosing to align your brand with a dermatologist can be one of the smartest moves a brandcan make. Not only will this association compel consumers, it is a sure-fire way to build andmaintain velocity in the marketplace both now and in the future. As advances in dermatol-ogy and skincare continue to grow closer together, a dermatologist endorsement is likely tobecome not just a luxury, but a necessity. Consumers are savvy and educated, and as such, wantskincare that offers them more than traditional benefits such as fewer wrinkles and fine lines.They want clinically-proven, scientific reasons as to why they should invest in your brand. Givethem the dermatologist, and they will come.
AppendixAmerican Academy of Dermatology Seal of RecognitionUPDATE: As of November 15th, 2009, the American Academy of Dermatology(AAD) is phasing out the AAD Seal of Recognition Program and will cease ac-cepting new applications effective immediately. The four products that carried theseal prior to the end of the program will continue to carry the Seal until the endof their two-year terms.What is it: The AAD SEAL OF RECOGNITION® Program is an Academy-driven publichealth initiative to educate the public about the dangers of exposure to the sun. The AADSEAL OF RECOGNITION® provides a reliable method for choosing sun-protection prod-ucts that have met a stringent set of evidence-based criteria established by the Academy thatare aligned with FDA guidelines and that have been verified by a panel of dermatologists andan independent scientist. Proceeds generated above the cost of administering the program willhelp to support public education programs that reduce incidences of skin cancer and improvepublic health. (*Important, product must have SPF protection properties.)How it works: The program is overseen by dermatologists with an expertise in skin cancerwho serve on the Academy’s Melanoma/Skin Cancer Committee. Companies may apply tohave the AAD Seal of Approval on their products after submitting extensive formulation andscientific testing data from independent laboratories, which is then reviewed by an indepen-dent photobiologist who reviews the documentation and recommends the products to theAAD work group, who approve the applications.Cost: $5,000 for the application of the seal; $10,000 on approval of application and further$10,000 a year later.Eligible Products: Sunscreens, cosmetics and moisturizers that provide broad spectrum pro-tection; garments and hats; shade structures; umbrellas; laundry additives (that infuse clothingwith SPF protection); sunglasses/eye protection; and windows and window films/tints.For the cosmetic category, these are the specific criteria:Sunscreens , Moisturizers, and Cosmetics* o Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. o Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays) as evidenced by in vivo testing using Persistent Pigment Darkening and the Critical Wavelength method (>370 nm). o Evidence of water-resistance* and product stability. o Absence of phototoxicity. o Compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines.*Moisturizers and cosmetics that provide sun protection are not required to show water-resistance.
Benefits associated with receiving the Seal:Products bearing the AAD SEAL OF RECOGNITION® demonstrate a company’s commit-ment to consumer safety and sun protection. The marketing benefits of participation include: • The use of the AAD SEAL OF RECOGNITION® logo and official statements on approved product packaging, in advertisements, promotions, and product Web pages. • Inclusion on a list of recognized products to appear on the Academy’s Web site and in Academy publications. • Placement of a link from the product Web site to the official AAD SEAL OF REC- OGNITION® program Web page, detailing the program. • Distinct Academy recognition for partnering to help fund Academy efforts in the edu- cation of the public to reduce incidences of skin cancer. • The funding of new or the expansion of existing Academy programs under the SCRIPT Plan*.*(Early in 2006 the Academy launched the Skin Cancer Awareness: Intervention Plan for To-morrow (SCRIPT) Plan. The SCRIPT Plan’s goal is to lead the charge to reduce skin cancermortality in the next 10 years and to reduce incidences in the next 30 years.The effort includespromoting public education, developing statistical benchmarks, identifying research gaps, andmore. Any fees above those necessary to administer the AAD SEAL OF RECOGNITION®program will be directed to the Academy’s SCRIPT Plan.)Dermatology Review PanelWhat is it: The Dermatology Review Panel (DRP) is made up of independent Canadiandermatologists (reviewers) who review non-prescription skincare products (including over-the-counter and other consumer products with skin care-related claims). The objective of thisprogram is to help consumers and medical professionals easily identify products that meet thepanel’s approval standards (as may be revised from time to time) and to encourage manufactur-ers to engage in more consumer and clinical skin care studies.How it works: Working independently, each Reviewer will evaluate submissions by manu-facturers to verify that there is acceptable scientific data to validate product claims. The Der-matology Review Panel’s “Seal of Approval” will then be granted to approved products for a 3year period pursuant and subject to the terms of the panel’s Product Review and CertificationAgreement (the “Agreement”). After the 3 year licensing period, resubmission of the applica-tion and data is required. This is to ensure that your product still meets the standards of theDermatology Review Panel and to review any additional information that has become avail-able. If there are any changes to your product during the 3 year licensing agreement, a newsubmission is required. The Dermatology Review Panel offers a discounted review fee andannual license fee for similar products in the same product line and with the same brand name
Submission Process: Manufacturer’s submit a product submission form, supporting data andreview fee, and then products go through a standardized review process by three reviewers fromthe panel. Those results are tabulated and a final decision is rendered by the Board of Gover-nors. The seal is available to all products that meet the criteria set-out by the panel.Cost: Licensing fees must be submitted for each product that is reviewed by the DRP.Eligibility: • The product must be sold in Canada (and only in Canada, not the US) • It must be a non-prescription product • The product must have at least one of the following elements: o A DIN or NHP number o A proven scientific benefit for consumers with skin, hair and nail conditions includ- ing products with claims for treatment of sensitive skin, or being hypoallergenic. o There is other scientific evidence to support the claims.The following will disqualify products from receiving the DRP seal: • Prescription products • Products not available in Canada, or sold in any other country but Canada • Products that have incomplete clinical information • Products that are deemed by the Dermatology Review Panel to be inconsistent with the mission and integrity of this program. • Medical devicesCategories: Products may be submitted in several categories. • Stand-Alone Product: You are submitting only one product. There are no other products being submitted at the same time that have the same brand. • Flagship Product: The main product in the line (has the most evidence of efficacy). • Product Line: More than one product and they have the same brand and product line name, are interchangeable (i.e. lotion or cream with the same SPF) and have the same key ingredient and approved use as the Flagship Product. • Multiple Products / Same Line: More than one product and they have the same brand and product line name, are NOT interchangeable (i.e. shampoo or conditioner / cleanser or moisturizer). A separate Product Submission Form, supporting data and fee is required for each product. The fees for additional products being submitted in this review will be discounted in accordance with terms of the Agreement. • Key product claims to be reviewed: Only those claims supported by adequate, scientific evidence will be evaluated.