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Lauder: It's a Shopper's World

The Internet has given consumers a giant megaphone, and beauty firms can't help but hear shoppers' concerns, uncensored take on products and shopping preferences, William P. Lauder, chief executive officer of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., told...

William P Lauder

William P. Lauder

Photo By WWD Staff

The Internet has given consumers a giant megaphone, and beauty firms can't help but hear shoppers' concerns, uncensored take on products and shopping preferences, William P. Lauder, chief executive officer of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., told Summit attendees.

"The consumer has become an ever more central and powerful decision marker in our lives as beauty marketers," said Lauder. He later continued, "We have to live with the fact that the consumer understands a different form of authority and reality than she did 10 years ago," referencing the shift of influence, in part, from beauty editors to blogs.

Lauder was responding to a question posed by Pete Born, executive editor, beauty for WWD. During the Q & A session, the two sat in armchairs, while Lauder shared his thoughts on the newly empowered beauty shopper, the company's international focus, the state of U.S. department stores and changes afoot at the beauty firm.

When asked what avenues beauty marketers should take to get consumers' attention, Lauder said, "We have to talk to her any way and every way possible. It's not just through the traditional means we've communicated with her in the past, which is traditional print advertising and perfect-bound magazines with many offers on the cover. It's not just through television. It's not just through direct mail. It's through different forms of communication."

Lauder used commuting media as an example, defining the phrase by global market. For instance, global media in the U.S. is radio, because so many people here drive to and from work. In Japan and Hong Kong it's mass transit, because that's the primary mode of transportation there.

He added, "So we've got to think first of the consumer. How does she see our brand, how does she want to interact with our brand? And then we've got to communicate with her in a manner that makes her comfortable."

As consumers' interest in alternative marketing vehicles have grown, so has their collective search for beauty product outside the traditional department store format to specialty stores, single brand boutiques and TV and Internet shopping.
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