Dave Lewis, president of Unilever Personal Care (PC), spoke on May 8, 2014, at the annual WWD Beauty CEO Summit, setting forth the company's strategic direction for growth as well as a new philosophy on beauty. Lewis described personal care centered on the idea that all people are beautiful, rather than made beautiful.
“This unique vision allows [Unilever PC] to nurture a broad and ever-expanding portfolio of global brands that help us to provide personal care in a number of different ways: from Lifebuoy that saves the lives of millions of children to trendsetting brands such as TRESemmé or Toni&Guy,” he explained.
Unilever is currently one of the fastest-growing and most profitable personal care businesses. It also uniquely has 60% of its business in emerging markets.
“[We are] making beauty as much a part of our personal care business as the need for cleanliness and the bars of soap that helped build the foundation of our business.” Lewis added, “For many years, we were organized in categories that studied the world’s body parts—each separately. This deep category knowledge is one of our greatest strengths. But by looking at the whole person, not just the sum of the physical parts, we are able to see more and understand more. And we are therefore better placed to serve people.”
This holistic approach is being applied to product development. Without disclosing too much, Lewis noted that Unilever is leveraging its R&D expertise and capabilities across categories to deliver ground-breaking innovation.