What beauty means to Asian consumers: Learnings from Unilever

Low Lai Chow

When Unilever engaged the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI) to look into how shoppers across the region understood the concept of beauty, the fast-moving consumer goods giant soon learned not to be seduced by superficial similarities.

"We realised there are many concepts of Asian beauty rather than 'Asian beauty,'" said B V Pradeep, Unilever's vice president of consumer and market insight for Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Latin America, while speaking at the Asia Business Summit, held in Singapore in October 2013.

"We also realised that it is not just about a particular portrayal. There are some things which are common. For example, the whole thing about fairness goes across some countries with different shades, but it filters through a very strong cultural lens. There are local nuances, and how it manifests is so very specific you need to get to the details in order to be able to capture it fully."