How Design Thinking Made P&G’s “Olay” a Key Player in the Beauty Industry

Every brand wants to attain or retain the number one position in their niche, but how do you go about this, when you run out of all possible options of growth and innovation?

Learn how design methods helped P&G in revamping their “Olay" product as the number one key player in the skincare industry.


Some years ago, P&G’s largest and best-known skincare brand, “Olay” was struggling as the company fought to retain their position as number one in the beauty industry.

Consumers’ demand for Olay dropped because they felt it was outdated and was no longer keeping up with their skin care needs.

Olay initially thought of surface solutions such as rebranding, reinventing their product, introducing a new product to the market or acquiring an established brand.

However, using a key principle in the Design process, a key method known as Design Research,  they spent time studying their customers, as they shopped. A few key insights emerged:

  • P&G was focusing on a specific age group, 50-year old women, meanwhile, another age bracket offered immense opportunities for them, the 30-40-year old age groups.These age groups were increasingly becoming concerned with their skin as they grew older, and this area marked an opportunity area for the brand.

  • They also discovered that their price was a sensitive issue with their user base.

With this rich user insight, P&G decided to rebrand & innovate Olay brand using the steps below:

Since women in their mid-thirties were highly committed to skin care, they were willing to pay more if their emotional needs such as age prevention, looking youthful and beautiful, were met.

Instead of focusing on only wrinkles, Olay decided to create products that would serve both younger and older women and treat the many other skin concerns that they uncovered during research, needs such as uneven skin complexion, breakouts, age spots, and dry skin.

They launched the “Olay Total Effects” followed by " Olay Regenerist" which impacted their bottom line, leading to a significant increase in profit and a very pleased customer base.

Olay Total Effects, the revolutionary new product Olay developed as a result of studying customer behaviours

Olay Regenerist another product solution


Lessons to Learn

P&G used Design Research (read our article on Design Research here) to find out how they could dominate the market once more, specifically focusing on how they could improve their customer’s experience with the Oil of Olay.

Instead of looking inward, or seeking out conventional methods, they took an outward approach, taking the time to study their customers, their needs and buying habits with respect to their products. And these yielded great insights that P&G leveraged on.

How Can You Use This in Your Business?

As a Business stakeholder in Nigeria today, you must become incredibly informed about your customers. How they use your product, why they use your product and how it improves their lives. Their buying patterns and behaviours, especially when it comes to your products, services and your category.

It’s no secret that people will buy into products and services that not only meet their needs, but that better fit their already existing lifestyles and behaviours and refer them to their loved ones and friends.

Building solutions for your customers without knowing them first is to err greatly.


Looking to study or test with your target customers to discover insights for the solutions your business offers? Contact us to see how we can help you.


  • DODO admin

    Oluchi Orji

    Digital Marketing Personnel

    I love the digital space and love helping businesses grow online.

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