The beauty industry is blazing a trail in terms of personalization that includes technology. I was recently at the Personalized Beauty Summit in San Francisco where we had on the stage the beauty giants alongside a myriad of startups. I'd like to share with you my three top takeaways from the conference.

Transcript

Hi, I'm Duncan. The beauty industry is blazing a trail in terms of personalization that includes technology. Last week I was at the Personalized Beauty Summit in San Francisco where we had on the stage the beauty giants like P&G, L'Oréal and Estée Lauder, alongside a myriad of startups in areas like AR and camera facial recognition, like Perfect and Revieve who have engines on which the platforms that many of the beauty brands are basing their personalized services. We also had skin biome and genomic startups like ELSI and LifeNome. We also had Philips who amazingly had a digital-only product now for someone who knows Philips quite well that's amazing. A digital-only product from Philips is like a telephone directory from Google.

Anyway, here are my three top takeaways from the conference.

Number one, efficacy will win. To be honest there's quite a lot of pseudoscience in this area and there were some companies whose evidence for their claims was pretty scant whilst there are others who are clearly deeply rooted in the science. So, I think the winners are going to be the ones that can combine efficacy of results with consumer loyalty. Similarly, there's a balance required between rigor and entrepreneurial behavior and those that can achieve that balance will be the winners in this market.

Number two, partner, partner, partner. The tech giants are a big threat in this industry, not only because they own a lot of the consumer touchpoints through the retail and usage of a product, but also because they're acquiring technology through startups to accelerate their growth, and this doesn't just threaten retailers it threatens the big brands as well. Now big brands have got two approaches to mitigating this risk, one is to develop their own digital transformation strategy and own more of the consumer journey themselves as many of them are doing. The other is to partner with the big tech giants like L'Oréal have done with Apple with their UV sensor to bring something to market that is unique in the combination of the digital and the physical.

Number three, regulation matters. Had a bunch of side discussions at the summit where there's a spectrum of beliefs from the regulators will never be allowing mixing on-demand through to companies that are already doing it. Of course, the truth is somewhere in between.  The regulators would need to go on a journey with the industry to change the regulations in time to meet consumer needs and keep consumers safe.

Personalization is going to affect many industries, not just beauty, so if you're interested in these topics reach out and talk to us or read our blogs where there's a lot more information about the trends and the technologies that are going into this. Or come to our panel at SXSW where I'll be on stage with thought leaders from different industries to talk about the future of personalization. 

Author
Duncan Smith
EVP, North America