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The Pursuit of Wow

By: Abby Penning
Posted: May 3, 2011, from the May 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.
Ingrid Jackel

Ingrid Jackel, CEO and chairwoman of Physicians Formula.

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It’s also about taking the time to consider what will stop the consumer in the aisle. Jackel says many product innovations, such as the new mood-enhancing Happy Booster collection, address problems consumers are experiencing now. “We have consumers who are becoming more and more savvy about what’s going on in department stores, about what’s going on in the professional makeup world, and so we want them to recognize on our shelves a unique proposition,” she says. “We constantly reassess our products to make sure we are providing the most impactful mix.”

To ensure additional impact, Jackel leaves no stone unturned when thinking about attracting potential purchasers. “We want to make sure that we can play a really unique role with the consumer, and consequently, with the retailers, bringing them incremental revenues,” she explains.

Making aggressively significant investments in promoting the brand in 2011, Jackel is now involving the brand more in the consumer press, in social media opportunities and even in retail marketing programs. “We increasingly want to educate consumers about Physicians Formula and about how we can help them solve their problems,” Jackel explains.

Becoming Something Bigger

Becoming stagnant is not an option for Jackel or Physicians Formula. “We thrive through newness,” she says, estimating that 35–45% of the company’s sales each year are from new products. And with such a commitment to innovation, the company also is very focused on strategically growing. “Because we are so innovation intensive, we tend to expand into adjacent categories,” Jackel explains, noting that the company currently offers a limited amount of lip products because it wants to have a significant impact when they do launch something new. “We don’t want to launch just another mauve lipstick,” she says. “We want to maintain the purity of our focus on innovation.”

As the brand begins to reach a more global audience—expanding into Canada, Latin America, Europe, Australia and South Africa—staying true to the principles that have made the brand and the company strong to this point are at the forefront of Jackel’s considerations. “Our tagline—‘Your beauty. Our passion. We promise.’—is about conveying the passion of the people working behind the brand to consumers,” she says. “It’s about a promise we make to help our customers, and that, to us, is a meaningful commitment.”