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Shiseido Q&A: Propelling Innovation at the Local Level

Contact Author Jeb Gleason-Allured
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Yoichi Shimatani, chief research and development officer, Shiseido Co. Ltd., recently told Global Cosmetic Industry, “Restructuring our R&D function around the globe builds on our heritage of innovation and consumer insights to create products that our consumers around the world are passionate about and have a genuine emotional connection with.”

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Shiseido recently enhanced its global R&D infrastructure to boost the consumer relevance of its beauty innovations. (Read the company's latest financials, including insights into its prestige business, here.)

The company has unveiled an upgraded consumer research and product development facility in East Windsor, New Jersey, which will collaborate closely with the New York-based Makeup Center of Excellence, which is headed by president Jill Scalamandre. These sites are part of a larger innovation network that includes the U.S.-based Center of Excellence in Digital, Europe’s Center of Excellence in Fragrance and Japan’s Center of Excellence in Skin Care.

Putting Excellence into Action

The company is already leveraging this network as part of its recent acquisition of prestige and luxury beauty company, Gurwitch Products, which has brought Laura Mercier and RéVive into its portfolio. According to an official announcement, Gurwitch’s 2015 sales totaled $175 million.

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Shiseido is looking to expand the reach of Laura Mercier and RéVive in the United States and internationally, particularly Asia, as the prestige beauty category continues to heat up. The company’s Global Centers of Excellence for skin care, color cosmetics, digital and its Americas Innovation Center will leverage “consumer-facing marketing activities” and “collaborative expertise” to enhance the offerings of Laura Mercier and RéVive, according to Shiseido.

"Shiseido R&D has been developing many cutting-edge technologies and will continue to strengthen this function furthermore."

The goal is to optimize the product development process and boost the brands’ marketing impact and awareness around the globe. Shiseido notes, “The brands will also be able to leverage Shiseido’s regional infrastructure in the Americas and shared resources to improve productivity and effectiveness.”

Of the brand synergies, Marc Rey, president and CEO of Shiseido Americas, said, “Laura Mercier’s classic French elegance and artistry perfectly complements the unique styles and offerings of NARS, bareMinerals, Shiseido and Clé de Peau Beauté to create a formidable portfolio of prestige makeup. And RéVive, with its proven restorative formulas and use of Nobel prize-winning technologies, is a terrific fit with Shiseido’s skin care heritage.”

We aim to create products that deliver incredible results, marketed in new and innovative ways that really speak to our consumers wherever they may be.

“Shiseido has the tools and expertise to help these brands continue to thrive, and shares Gurwitch’s unwavering dedication to empowering customers and celebrating individual beauty,” added Candace Matthews, who oversees the Gurwitch Products business and is president of the Americas region for Amway. “I am excited to see what’s in store for these brands and their customers as part of the Shiseido organization.”

Where Innovation is Going

Recently, Global Cosmetic Industry spoke with Yoichi Shimatani, chief research and development officer, Shiseido Co. Ltd., regarding the future of innovation at the company and its implications.

GCI: Why is regional innovation so important to the company?

Shimatani: Shiseido’s global strategy for the future, Vision 2020, will enhance brand value for consumers worldwide by propelling innovation at the regional level and creating innovative products based on consumer insights and values.

The global centers of excellence are a tremendous resource for the entire Shiseido family and allow us to make the most of our organization’s global footprint by tapping into local expertise. We aim to create products that deliver incredible results, marketed in new and innovative ways that really speak to our consumers wherever they may be.

GCI: How do the different centers of excellence coordinate in developing new products with regional or local relevance around the world?

Shimatani: Shiseido has established “Centers of Excellence” in regions where key brands are based and expertise is found. The goal is to help break down silos among Shiseido’s portfolio of brands so that best practices can be shared and innovation in both product development and marketing can be unlocked, thus strengthening the company’s global resources for the benefit of every brand and every customer.

"Restructuring our R&D function around the globe builds on our heritage of innovation and consumer insights to create products that our consumers around the world are passionate about and have a genuine emotional connection with."

The newly expanded Americas Innovation Center will strengthen Shiseido’s consumer research, information development and product development in the Americas, and will closely collaborate with Shiseido’s recently launched Center of Excellence for Makeup, which is based in New York. Shiseido R&D has been developing many cutting-edge technologies and will continue to strengthen this function furthermore.

Our Global Innovation Center (GIC) will be established in 2018 at the center of Yokohama city, a core area of the Japanese fashion source. We will increase the investment in basic research at GIC and leverage the global R&D network to develop outstanding products and services for our global consumers.

GCI: How do the changes at Shiseido reflect broader trends in beauty and consumers’ lives?

Shimatani: Restructuring our R&D function around the globe builds on our heritage of innovation and consumer insights to create products that our consumers around the world are passionate about and have a genuine emotional connection with.

We want consumers to be at the center of all our activities, from R&D, marketing and communications, to ensure that we have an understanding of our customers’ behavior and attitude toward skin care and cosmetics. 

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