Voice of the Industry

'Copy and tweaking isn’t innovation,' says expert with 20,000 consumer database

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

'Copy and tweaking isn’t innovation,' says expert with 20,000 consumer database

Related tags Cosmetics

That expert is Jo Fairley, co-founder of the biggest consumer beauty survey, the basis of the first ever successful ‘Beauty Bible’ with the feedback of 20,000 women on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to cosmetics.

In this, the ninth edition of Cosmetics Design's 'Voice of the Industry' series, the entrepreneur reveals why copy and tweaking isn’t innovation when it comes to new cosmetics launches and what women really want when it comes to beauty.

Before publishing the ‘Beauty Bible’ and years later, the ‘Anti-ageing beauty bible’, Fairley was firstly the co-founder of the famous Green & Black’s organic chocolate line, where she cut her teeth establishing what it is consumers really want, and giving it to them!

Whilst compiling the idea for the 'bible' back in the 90's, (it has since been republished as the industry evolves), the entrepreneur says both herself and her business partner knew beauty books didn’t sell.

"But, we established why," ​she tells Cosmetics Design. "It was because women wanted to know which product works rather than how it works and this is where industry has been going wrong."

She adds that offering highly scientific justifications of every molecule and why a product will do what it says it’s going to do is not necessarily what the consumer is after...  

What women want - 20,000 of them!

Fairley points to feedback from her own database that consumers are not interested in why a product works but whether it works.

"This is the great disconnect between cosmetics marketing and the customer. They don’t really want to know about the peptide," ​she tells this publication.

"Maybe they quite like to know there’s peptide behind it.  But I believe that the way forward for the industry is about the sensorial approach rather than the high-tech approach," ​she adds.

The beauty expert says that a product has to be hugely pleasurable as the consumer is not prepared to compromise on anything in terms of texture, fragrance etc.

"They want real optimum performance,"​ she says.

First product in a category, remains the brand leader

When it comes to innovation, Jo says every time a brand brings out a successful product, there’s this massive scramble to create something identical or highly similar.

However; she says it is very often the first product in the category that remains the brand leader.

Everything else is a ‘me too’ and it seems a huge amount of development, energy and money on copying something that’s been successful for someone else in that it’s a safe bet.

"I’m interested in what no one else is doing but I do weary of the twelfth DD cream to cross my desk in a month, those products are never going to emulate what the first did, which made all the impact​."

Cosmetic Vision event

Jo will be delivering a presentation at Cosmetic Design’s ‘Cosmetics Vision’ event which will take place at the Martinez Hotel, in Cannes, between March 5 -7.

There, she will further delve into these areas whilst also touching on the perfume industry, and why packaging developers may need to refocus their efforts in order to compete online.

The two day event features various networking opportunities, a round-table industry discussion and a two-day conference programme with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Will Smith, founder of King Of Shaves and Dr. Liliana George, executive director of corporate innovation and sustainability at Estée Lauder.

To know more about being a part of this must-attend event can click here​.

***If you see yourself as a bit of an industry expert and would like to take part in a ‘VOI’ series on a key issue please contact us via the editor button below for consideration.***

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