Bob McDonald says innovation will help P&G face current challenges

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

As Procter & Gamble continues to battle against shrinking market share world-wide, CEO Bob McDonald emphasizes how his vision for increased innovation will help the company face up to its current challenges.

“Innovation is the key to improving quality of life for people in every part of the world,”​ said McDonald during a keynote address at the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) World Conference on Fabric and Home Care in Singapore.

“The heart of our business model is innovation. Innovation has been the primary driver of P&G’s growth over our 175 years,”​ said McDonald.

Four-point plan for innovation

During the presentation McDonald underlined a four-point plan, which he says has evolved in the course of the company's long standing history and will prove to help shape the business structure, especially during the challenging economic conditions it is facing up to presently.

The four points centered on the fact that innovation has to be balanced, it must communicate value, the fact that it concerns all of the company's employees and the fact that it has to be sparked by connecting with the consumer.

“Deep empathy helps us identify tensions in people’s lives that we can help resolve, which leads to insights… that inspire big ideas… which become life-improving innovations… that grow our industry,”​ McDonald said.

Creating new categories and brands

All of this suggests that the research and development teams at P&G are going to be very busy in the coming year, and undoubtedly one of the main focus areas will be the cosmetics and personal care category, traditionally one of the fastest paced areas of the consumer goods sector.

“We need more discontinuous innovation,”​ Mc Donald said. “Innovation that obsoletes current products and creates new categories and brands.”

In recent months the new product offerings from P&G's cosmetic and personal care division have been multiplying, which is a trend that is expected to continue to grow during the course of 2013.

Hair care, devices and skin care get innovation treatment

During the course of this year, the Pantene hair care range, together with the Naked Skin Hair Removal and Braun CoolTec dry shaving devices have all been launched with the backing of significant technological breakthroughs.

The Expert AgeDefy and Advanced + Keratin Repair lines are said to use the most advanced technologies and ingredients to help repair damage and return hair back to full health by providing luster and bounce.

P&G is going with the bold claim that the AgeDefy product can make hair look ten years younger for women in their 40s and beyond, while the Keratin treatment is said to restore extremely damaged hair to give it extra strength and a smooth, shiny appearance.

Focus on technologically advanced devices

P&G has also said that it wants to increase its footprint in the fast - growing market for increasingly sophisticated beauty devices, an ambition that is underlined by the recent launch of the Braun CoolTec dry shaver and the Naked Skin Hair removal devices.

The Naked Skin Hair Removal device incorporates intense pulses of light energy to the hair follicle using ipulse, which the company says is a patented IPL technology consisting of patented software and hardware

Likewise, the company claims that the CoolTecPatented active cooling technology effectively cools down the skin while shaving, to give a smoother and more effective shave, while not irritating the skin.

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