The sense of energy was palpable last Thursday night at the Harmonie Club, where three Clinique executives spoke to a packed room about team dynamics, innovation and brand building for CEW’s Women in Beauty Series “Behind the Scenes With Clinique’s Key Leaders.”

During the conversation, moderated by WWD Beauty Inc editor, Jenny B. Fine, Lynne Greene, global brand president of Clinique, Origins and Ojon, Agnes Landau, senior vice president of global marketing for Clinique and Janet Pardo, senior vice president of product development worldwide, shared some of the philosophies and experiences that have helped shape the company. 

“Everyone at Clinique understands what the brand is,” said Greene, who began with the topic of balancing brand heritage and innovation. “Today’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster. You can always be better.”

To that end, the women chatted about recent initiatives at Clinique — including the redesign of the classic “Clinique Computer” the brand’s original sliding Skin Diagnostic design, first launched in 1968, which now has morphed into an IPad format at the Clinique Counter.

“[The question is] how to modernize the feeling of what this brand has always been to the consumer,” said Greene. “[Clinique] has always been the focal point. We all respect what was created.”

“It’s about going to the equity of the brand and making it come alive,” added Landau. “It has to be true and authentic because the consumer knows.”

All three women echoed the importance of constant communication, both with the each other and the entire Clinique team as well as with the consumers.

“We each have what we do best,” said Pardo. “There’s an incredible synergy — we build on each other.”
Charged with the task of revving up the brand’s color offerings, Pardo helped develop and launch Clinique’s cheery Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balms and the accompanying marketing visuals.

“[The campaign brought] animation, warmth, and fun to Clinique,” said Pardo. “You see the Jell-O blocks on the advertisement and you smile ear to ear.”

For Pardo, a big part of the job is anticipating a consumer’s needs.

“[It’s about] creating that product that a woman doesn’t think she needs today [but] once she gets it, she can’t live without it,” said Pardo.

Greene also touched on the brand’s “Service as You Like It” program, which offers consumers a variety of new ways to shop.

One of the newer additions to the program offers customers one of three colored rubber bracelets, which they wear to indicate the kind of service they are seeking (i.e. “I have time. Let’s talk,” “Browsing and Happy,” and “Time is of the essence.”)

The result, according to Greene? “Consumers and consultants loved it,” she said. “[The consumer came in] wanting one lipstick, and ends up spending $100 because the barriers were down.”

Another product launch the team discussed was Clinique’s best-selling skin brightener Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector.

Pardo said after speaking with dermatologists about their clients’ needs, the brand sought to develop a product that would be equal to prescription- strengthen four percent hydroquinone, without harsh side effects.

“The hardest part is getting into the right place at the right time with the right people to communicate it,” said Greene. “We want to offer her [the consumer] a solution to a problem she never thought possible.”

With over 60 percent of its business done outside America, Landau, who is responsible for the development and execution of launching new products abroad, talked a little about the global Clinique consumer.

 “We definitely do a lot of research getting to the nuances of the culture,” said Landau. “Travel is a big inspiration. You have to be out there, be with consumers in their regions.”

To that end, Landau says the company is looking to the digital world for increased connection.

“Digital has opened an incredible universe for us. We now have an instantaneous back and forth dialogue with consumers.” 

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