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Leveraging Data at Mass With P&G Beauty

By James Manso,


P&G Beauty ’s newest mandate goes beyond snapping up buzzy brands, or incubating new ones.

The parent company of Olay, Tula and the recently acquired Mielle Organics has integrated its data capabilities into various operations to become even closer with its vast consumer base.

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“P&G Beauty is very consumer-oriented, so we spend a lot of time trying to understand their needs, whether those are voiced or not voiced,” said Damon Frost, P&G Beauty’s chief information officer, in conversation with WWD managing editor Allison Collins. “We spend time shopping with them to understand how they shop and what their habits are. We spend a lot of time in their homes, how they use our products. We solve for the consumer using those insights in how we innovate and build products.”

While the company has always done in-home visits, it’s also pioneering newer tools, like HairCode, an online survey which gives customers in-depth analyses of their hair and scalp health. It also delivers to P&G a treasure trove of information on its hair customers. “Consumers are willing to share more data to get better outcomes and to get better advice,” Frost said. “This is data we’re going to use to diagnose or treat what’s happening now. When they’re willing to share more, they’re going to get better outcomes and more personalized outcomes.”

The survey, for example, has also shown that 70 percent of women “know that if they know more about their hair, they have a better shot at having a good hair day,” Frost said. “We also know there are over 1,000 hair care [stock keeping units] on shelf with 1,800 coming every year. If we could figure out how to create the ranking algorithm to ask certain questions and understand the consumer a bit more, we can deliver a better outcome for that customer” by recommending the products that will work best for that person’s hair.

That open dialogue between customers and P&G is mutually beneficial. “This is going to get down to how you drive more frictionless commerce and be where she is when she’s ready to shop,” Frost said. “It’s about precision targeting of the right products in the right places, meeting her needs and getting her better outcomes.”

Those conclusions are based on a variety of factors, including lifestyle and environmental factors. “We’re able to micro-target ‘here is a product that we know is going to work perfectly for you, based on what your environmental conditions are,'” Frost said.

In the years ahead, Frost sees the customer journey to purchase becoming much shorter, thanks to data-driven optimization. “People live on their phones, and whether it’s Facebook or TikTok, they’re going to be in these places. They’re going to want to buy things and not leave that place. This already happens in China,” he said. “The reality is all those worlds came together in China, and there’s super frictionless shopping in China — it’s a different ecosystem, but the reality is those trends always come West.”

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