Consumers to Industry: What Have You Done for Me Lately?

We face a real challenge in the beauty industry," said Marc Pritchard, president of strategy, productivity and growth at Procter & Gamble...

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John Demsey


"WE FACE A REAL CHALLENGE IN THE BEAUTY industry," said Marc Pritchard, president of strategy, productivity and growth at Procter & Gamble, as he introduced his panel at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit. "In spite of our great products, latest technologies and extensive marketing, the consumer is looking at us and asking one question: 'What more are you doing for me?'

"In beauty [the consumer] is telling us that she wants more from her brands," said Pritchard. "She wants brands of course with aspiration that fulfill her beauty desires. But she also wants brands with purpose and meaning. She wants brands with authenticity and integrity. She wants brands that give back and take a stand. She wants brands that make her look good, feel better and touch her soul. So what's driving this new consumer paradigm? I believe its consumer power."

Pritchard tapped John Demsey, group president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and chairman of the MAC AIDS Fund; Susan K. Neely, president and chief executive officer of the American Beverage Association, and William McDonough, founder and principal of McDonough + Partners and author of "Cradle to Cradle," a book on environmental sustainability, to make the point that today's changing consumer consciousness requires that beauty companies not only serve a consumer's needs and desires, but must also connect deeply with her values and ideals.

"As an industry we always innovate with new ingredients and products, and although the FDA states that we're virtually the safest consumer products industry that they regulate, with a stellar track record of protecting consumers, concerns still get raised by credible activists and legislators," said Pritchard. "So consumers want constant reassurance that we are responsible. There are a lot of voices out there. And sometimes, she pays more attention to initiatives that negatively target our brands. The truth is, we are doing a lot as brands and as an industry to protect consumers. But the question is, are we being heard? What do we need to do to ensure our voice is heard to reassure consumers we are doing everything we can to be responsible, while still innovating to meet her ever-increasing desires?"
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