NEW YORK: Estée Lauder plans to focus on innovation to achieve its goal of growing at least 1% faster than the global prestige beauty category for the foreseeable future.

Speaking at the 2013 Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference, Carl Haney, executive vice president of Global Research & Development, Estée Lauder, outlined four different types of innovation the company undertakes.

He identified these as: "breakthrough hero product" innovation; "sustaining" innovation; "surprise and new trend" innovation; and "launch and leverage" innovation.

As an example of the first model, he cited the La Mer brand, where its "Miracle Broth" product was improved with a "weightless" new texture, which helped bring in new consumers and won awards.

"And these hero products beget other hero products," Haney added. One such example was an eye serum, inspired by similar lines in Asia, which "extends our franchises to a whole new generation of consumers."

Elsewhere, Clinique's Repairwear Laser eye cream was offered as an instance of "sustaining innovation", where "we've taken an existing property, improved it with technology and upgraded it." 

Alternatively, the "surprise and new trend" form of innovation leverages brands' "creativity intuition", said Haney, and is "critical" to the company.

He offered Archie's collection, part of the M-A-C brand, as "a great example where we've created news, driven interest and excitement that brings consumers to the store, which then allows a M-A-C artist to then provide service [and] enhance the product experience."

For the fourth strand, "launch and leverage", Haney explained how "we take new stories, new claims, new regimens to re-engage consumers and attract new users". He mentioned a year-long study with Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair "to show that the product delivers significant improvements, lines and wrinkles, skin clarity and skin tone".

Earlier, Fabrizio Freda, the firm's CEO, had stated it was vital to be relevant to consumers, and how at beauty counters around the world Estée Lauder's brands "are attuned to local cultures and focus their product assortment, language and expertise to local needs".

The point was taken up by Haney who declared that the company's vision was very simple: "We want to be a sustainable worldwide beauty powerhouse for a multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-tiered world."

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff