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FIT and Unilever US Partner to Look Ahead in the "Evolution of the Beauty Landscape"

Posted: February 4, 2014

Unilever U.S. and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) announced a new corporate partnership with FIT's Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management (CFMM) master's degree program. Through this partnership, Unilever U.S. will be the sponsor of the 2014 CFMM Capstone research project and presentation. The college's Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management program, now in its 14th year, was developed in collaboration with the beauty industry as a leadership development program for outstanding mid-career executives. This partnership, rooted in research, is a natural fit for Unilever U.S., which grounds all brands in both consumer insight and world-class innovation.

"Evolution of the beauty landscape" will be the focus this year as the FIT students explore "The Changing Face of the Beauty Consumer." Under this theme, they will research three challenges that shape the way beauty companies operate, from economics to gender to ethnicity.

  • Accessible Beauty will look at the current generation of consumers and what "value" means to them, specifically analyzing how beauty companies are facing pressure to offer value in ways like never before. One aspect of this research will uncover how prestige products will become more accessible to more consumers.
  • The New Beauty Consumer will study the new patterns emerging in the U.S., which include the blending of cultural influences, the LGBT market and non-traditional households, and shifting notions of lifestyle marketing and segmentation. The research will explore how the multi-ethnic consumer and the globalization of cultural influences are impacting beauty, identifying how to serve these consumers through products and advanced brand storytelling.
  • Men's Beauty and Grooming research will explore the growing opportunities for men's products, both in the U.S. and internationally, including analysis and identification of needs and desires, packaging, go-to-market strategies, usage differences, education, new channels of distribution, execution at point of sale, and digital implications. This section will demonstrate how companies can make the category more accessible to male consumers.

"The beauty industry is evolving rapidly. We are rushing to adapt to demographic, socioeconomic and global changes that promise to transform our business and dictate what consumers want from us. We at Unilever are proud to collaborate with FIT and its world-class students to acquire their expert view on how we build the beauty business of the future to meet the needs and wants of our changing consumer," said David Rubin, brand building vice president for United States hair care at Unilever North America.

"The new beauty consumer will pose challenges to the way today's top beauty companies operate—from innovation to execution," said Stephan Kanlian, FIT professor and chairperson of the CFMM master's program. "This year's capstone research with Unilever U.S. will help industry leaders understand how to approach current and future beauty consumers with innovations in new products and enhanced engagement."

Research results from the 2014 Capstone program will be released in June 2014.