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Diversity and Global Leadership and Corporate Culture

By: Joe Aphinyanaphongs, Jeanine Bernstock, Mary Ellen Ferri, Manami Kuwamura and Margaret Martin
Posted: June 8, 2012

The 2012 graduates of the cosmetics and fragrance marketing and management master's degree program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York presented their Capstone presentations at the Innovation Through Diversity in the Beauty Industry event and reception, sponsored by L’Oréal USA, at FIT’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre in May. The following white paper accompanied the presentation from Joe Aphinyanaphongs, Jeanine Bernstock, Mary Ellen Ferri, Manami Kuwamura and Margaret Martin.


The beauty industry today shares a common goal—to reach one billion new consumers.

"We still have the potential to conquer one billion consumers worldwide.”1 Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal

“To thrive in today’s world, we have to shift from selling products to improving the lives of one billion new consumers.”2 Robert McDonald, P&G

"We have an ambitious goal to help more than one billion people improve their health and well-being.”3 Paul Polman, Unilever

Currently, we compete over the same market shares of the middle and upper class population: the 1.4 billion adults living on more than $10,000 per year.4 This creates a red ocean of struggling business models, while there is a huge blue ocean waiting for us to explore at the bottom of the pyramid, the 3 billion adults living on less than $10,000 a year.5 To achieve our collective goal of reaching one billion consumers, we must reinvent the way we work today.

Who Are They?

The billions at the bottom of the pyramid are people just like us, with desires, aspirations and values. They represent over two-thirds of the world’s population, making them the largest socioeconomic group world-wide.6 They are economically active as consumers, producers, entrepreneurs and employees. They represent almost 44% of the world GDP, even though they are largely excluded from formal markets.7 Contrary to popular belief, the populations at the bottom are not just found in developing markets. There are people living on less than $10,000 dollars per year in our own backyards.

Common Misconceptions About These Consumers