By  on May 23, 2014

Although the market continues to speculate about who will be the next chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble Co., Deb Henretta, the company’s group president of global beauty, was very clear on who the new boss is: the consumer. Of course, as Henretta noted during her presentation at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit, the consumer has always been front and center at P&G. However, before the advent of the digital age, consumers had a much more passive voice. “But that was then and this is now,” Henretta said, noting that, today, consumers are taking a much more active role in cocreating products and services that meet their needs and engage both them both intellectually and emotionally. “The new consumer is the new force of change,” she declared.

Many industries have already started to adapt to the new consumer, Henretta said, citing the self-health revolution, in which apps help people monitor everything from their body temperature to their glucose levels, and smartphones, like one by Samsung, measure things such as heart rate. Henretta sounded the call for beauty to lead the way, too, then outlined three key areas in which the consumer has changed. “These changes are not simply demographic, they’re democratic,” she said, “where the world of supply and demand is fast turning into a world of demand and supply, a world where consumers are playing new roles as critic, as creator and as new media.

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