MOVING FORWARD WITH
CLINIQUE AT CEW WOMEN IN BEAUTY SERIES
On October 27, Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) hosted a Women in Beauty Series event presenting three key players from Clinique at the Harmonie Club in New York City. The discussion featured Agnes Landau, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing; Janet Pardo, Senior Vice President of Product Development Worldwide and Lynne Greene, Global Brand President of Clinique, Origins and Ojon, providing insight into the ways in which the company adheres to its core DNA while advancing into the future.
Clinique’s roots as the first Dermatologist-developed brand began in 1968. A pioneering concept from the outset, Clinique has since evolved with the changing skincare and beauty landscape without interfering with its heritage or brand equity. “It is not about recreating the brand, it’s modernizing the feeling of what the brand has always been to the consumer,” stated Ms. Greene. “Each member of the team has respect for the history of Clinique and that generates a great trust we have with each other as well as with the consumer.” Ms. Pardo added, “Instinct plays a huge role in everything that we do. We know immediately if a new concept is a Clinique idea and when it is not.”
The panelists noted that innovation within the brand isn’t always simple. “Remarkable innovation and white space ideas are generally controversial because they’re unfamiliar,” said Ms. Greene. She shared the story of Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector’s inception and the wavering need for a product of its kind. “Consumers don’t know that their problems can be solved. We can give solutions to problems that they never thought possible.” She stated that success with innovation is about “being in the right place, at the right time and inspiring the consumer to connect with it.”
Approximately 60% of Clinique’s business is done outside of North America, and reaching consumers in varying geographical locations requires extensive research. “We do a lot of consumer research, but while research says one thing, evidence says another. It’s important to listen to what the consumer tells you and what she doesn’t,” said Ms. Landau. “We must learn about the nuances of each culture. We see ourselves as cultural anthropologists.”
While addressing the specific concerns and needs of one culture, many new products have gone on to become worldwide successes. Ms. Landau noted that the launch of Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30, a merger of makeup with treatment benefits, was originally created for the Asian market but has since become a global sensation.
The panel agreed that innovation must stem from all components of the company—from product launches to customer service. Clinique’s newly-established ‘Service As You Like It’ approach allows Beauty Consultants to know when their assistance is needed, changing the traditional dialogue between customers and Consultants.
The discussion concluded with a reference to the late Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Inc. Ms. Greene stated that Mr. Jobs’ familiar words of wisdom, “Stay hungry, stay foolish,” have guided the Clinique team to strive for success and maintain the company’s position as a worldwide leader in product innovation.
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