12 Key Takeaways From Day One of WWD’s 2024 Beauty CEO Summit

Beauty industry executives and powerhouses rubbed shoulders at the 2024 WWD Beauty CEO Summit at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami starting Monday evening.

Themed “Expanding Minds and Creating Opportunities,” the three-day event kicked off with a fireside chat about how to effectively broaden brand reach between Jenny B. Fine, editor in chief of WWD’s Beauty Inc, and Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble — which saw growth across each of its specialty beauty divisions in 2023.

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Here, key takeaways from Day One of WWD’s 2024 Beauty CEO Summit.

1. Balance the quantifiable with the qualifiable to maximize impact.

“What’s going to make a difference is how brands make you feel,” Pritchard said. “Reach as many people as you can; make sure you’re representing all and each, and [strive for] resonance, make sure you show up where you’re going to best meet [consumers].”

2. Build the brand you want to see.

I’ve had eczema my entire adult life, and one of the things I was looking for was products that are not only clean but also stayed consistent, so that’s exactly what we are,” said Amy Liu, founder of skin care and makeup brand Tower 28, which is 100 percent compliant with the National Eczema Association.

“I’m the world’s most reluctant beauty founder,” said Tina Chen Craig, who founded U Beauty in 2019 with the aim of harnessing active ingredients through formulas that don’t irritate skin. “We have not pivoted from our original brand promise, which was to deliver science-proven results which streamline skin care [routines].”

“We wanted to create fragrances that reflected our experiences as Black women; we wanted to create fragrances that elevated your mood; something that’s enjoyable and takes you to a place and a destination outside of yourself, but also helps you to feel great,” said Tai Beauchamp, cofounder of functional fragrance brand Brown Girl Jane.

3. There will always be an audience for going back to basics, in spite of technological advancements.

“Mother Nature is the last great luxury house,” said Richard Christiansen, founder of Flamingo Estate.

4. True ROI is often a long game.

“There are a lot of instances where people will say, you know, we need to see a return on investment — for some things you just don’t; it’s a long game,” said Mary van Praag, global chief executive officer of Milani Cosmetics, which recently logged 10 consecutive quarters of growth and is seeing steady gains among Hispanic and multicultural consumers.

5. Young, sexy and included is the Gen Z holy trinity.

“Sexuality is a key purchase motive for consumers…neuromarketing can boost the performance of beauty brands [looking to reach] Gen Z,” said Olivier Tjon, neuromarketer and cofounder of Beyond Reason, adding that a balance of inclusive and “sexy” tactics are most effective at reaching young consumers. “Inclusivity and gender fluidity are major societal themes, and brands must include them in the backdrop of stories they tell about sex and being free.”

6. AI can be a superpower for anticipating and meeting consumer needs.

“AI is the new cyberspace GPS navigation,” said Dana Upshaw, chief growth officer at Recom, adding that a recent survey indicated 39 percent of shoppers reported AI had a positive impact on their shopping experience. “It’s powerful, accessible and it’s changing the way we approach business as a whole.”

7. New beauty tech is going bigger by getting smaller.

Guive Balooch, global managing director, augmented beauty and open innovation at L’Oréal said he is “so excited about the miniaturization of devices and AI together — this link between physical and digital.”

8. Always be prepared to pivot.

“Be alert. Be nimble and find every single opportunity,” said Anastasia Soare, founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills, in a conversation with longtime friend Tommy Hilfiger. Kris Jenner added: “There’s just always something around the corner, something new to look forward to.

9. The convergence of industries — beauty, tech, wellness — is where innovation lies. 

“In terms of macro forces, it’s very much looking at the convergence of technology, wellness, health care and beauty. I always say it’s in the convergence of these spaces that the most disruptive innovation ideas come from,” said Vasiliki Petrou, CEO of Unilever Prestige. “We see potential everywhere.”

10. Love what you do and the rest will follow.

“I used to think that work breeds work. You just gotta work, gotta work, gotta work,” said Courteney Cox, actress and founder of luxury cleaning brand Homecourt. “Now, I think that passion breeds happiness. I want to do things that I really love, and I have to put everything into it.”

11. Be a teacher and a student.

“Our job now is to mentor and find the group of leaders that can take it to the next level,” said Séan Harrington, CEO and cofounder of Elemis. “Keep learning. That’s critical.”

12. Understanding an increasingly segmented creator landscape is integral to effectively creating social content at scale. 

“Macro-creators — those who have between 100,000 to 1 million followers — are slightly better than celebrity creators when it comes to targeting specific niches, but they also still have a wide audience,” said Caspar Lee, cofounder of influencer.com. “Microcreators can be very cost effective and create visually high-quality content, and aspiring creators are not only cost-effective but can be really important to humanize your brand.”

“It’s also important to build relationships with brand fans because one day they may become influencers as well; starting that relationship early is quite [important],” said Armaan Mehta, cofounder of Odore.


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