Thursday, September 16

CEW Event with Ed Shirley

Last night I attended a CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) event featuring Ed Shirley, head of Procter & Gamble's global beauty and grooming businesses. CEW is one of the premiere trade organizations in the beauty business, with brands and professionals participating from all aspects of the industry. The organization holds several educational and networking events throughout the year, including the very well known beauty awards. It's an impressive group.

Ed Shirley was fascinating. CEW just recently allowed men to join (hence my attendance!), and I think Ed must have been a charter male member.

I loved his philosophy on innovation. He spoke to something that I have long thought to be true -- we tend to introduce new products a little too frequently. For gosh sakes, it takes a while for consumers to even get a chance to try them, but as marketers we move too quickly onto the next best thing. In many cases, the consumer hasn't even tried our last new product before we send out the new one.

Ed says we should focus instead on "consumer led innovation", meaning let's come up with ideas on our existing products that really motivate consumers in ways that they've never seen before. Suddenly a tried and true brand is fresh and relevant -- even "new" again.

Witness the Old Spice advertising and social media campaign that completely revitalized the brand. No new products, just a fresh new approach focused squarely on the consumer. Also true of the "Proud Sponsor of Moms" campaign during the Olympics that totally stole the show.

Not a novel idea. More like "back to the basics" of effective marketing -- really understanding our consumers and driving innovation with current products. Pretty impressive.

What's your experience? Jim.


  1. I love that you write about the Old Spice Campaign. What a great example of a familiar brand with a face lift. It was a well done campaign that generated excitement and buzz. I think it also reinforced the value of social media for brand recognition and awareness.

  2. So true, and although early detractors said that it did nothing for sales, I am now hearing explosive growth. Jim.