Shiseido, the Japanese cosmetics business, is using huge volumes of data, artificial intelligence and a range of other digital tools to deepen its understanding of consumers and modernise a 140 year-old business.

Alessio Rossi, the company's New York-based global chief digital officer, described to an audience at the dmexco conference (Cologne, September 2017) how the organisation is using innovation and technology to drive gradual transformation across all of its 26 brands to prepare them for the future.

"The company realised that the traditional way of working wasn't sustainable any more, so they had to shift gears and promote change across the organisation, not just in digital, but innovation can come from the supply chain or anywhere," he said.

But change at scale can be frightening and hard to bring about in a large company; people who don't understand it often either keep quiet for fear of appearing ignorant or form pockets of resistance, he noted. And, of course, many people hear the words "artificial intelligence" and immediately fear for their job.