Estee Lauder

Transitioning the leading beauty brand to global customer-centricity and dominance by challenging the conventions of a virtual world

1 min read


The 2010s marked a turning point in the beauty category, as e-commerce grabbed customers from traditional department stores; stores such as Sephora stole share; millennials took share with innovative new brands; and competitors arrived from Asia. This undermined legacy beauty behemoths including Estee Lauder, and forced them to define new sales strategies and focus on their prestige skincare and makeup lineups, and figure out how to appeal to and grow their global customers. 

La Mer, one of Estee Lauder’s most profitable and luxurious prestige skincare brands, found that department stores owned the customer in the USA/UK as small perfumeries did in Europe. Estee Lauder sought Ideon’s help to re-position La Mer as a “Why" brand, uniquely connected to its iconic past while transitioning to a new customer centric model, in a digital and retail future. 


Ideon conducted audacious, global market research focused on the brand’s global customer relationships, ultimately determining 11 distinct customer lifestyles and detailed paths to drive increased loyalty and sales. These customer lifestyle clusters enabled Ideon to craft a transformation roadmap with “new rules of engagement” to clarify the new customer-centricity, revenue and loyalty brand approach. 

The findings also pointed to a new, global omni-channel sales platform and a push into travel retail, in the duty-free environments of airports. Industry projections show more than 3 billion international travelers pass through airports each year, and this number is expected to grow 5% annually—helping Estee Lauder access new and returning customers in an unprecedented environment. 

Estee Lauder also asked Ideon to analyze customer and buying behaviors at MAC Cosmetics and Jo Malone and to develop revenue-driving strategies for both these iconic brands.


According to Statista, 2021 has been the most successful year in Estée Lauder’s history. After a decade of almost constant growth—fueled in part by Ideon’s work—the company generated global net sales of over $16.22b in 2021. Today, Travel Retail represents one of Estee Lauder’s highest growth channels, and enables it to globally recruit new consumers and build brand equity.

Estee Lauder’s former SVP CRM, Emily Schwinge, explains "Ideon strategically consulted over years to help grow our business via a deeper understanding of our customers. Ideon's team mined our data to drive actionable insights, cultivate our consumers and elevate our brand to beloved status. Thanks to Ideon's broad-scale analysis, unique insights and CRM strategies, we've renewed and strengthened consumers' loyalty and love for the brand. [We] just can't thank [them] enough.”