At Colgate, everything starts with people. Our innovation always starts with listening and understanding people.

At Colgate, we are always working to improve and innovate in order to deliver products that enhance the lives of the people who use them. Learn more about how our research leads to new ideas and discoveries that are incorporated into our products every day.


People are at the core of everything we do. This means our innovation starts by first reaching out to people and connecting with them so that we have the ability to create products and services based on a sincere understanding of their challenges, desires, and habits.

We use the PEOPLE acronym to guide us in this endeavor.

People: Consumers are real, multidimensional people. They’re more than customers.

Empathy: Everyone at Colgate - from our market research experts to our scientists and engineers - aims to cultivate a deep understanding of what people want and what we can do to make their lives better.

Outside: We frequently go outside the office and into the real world—including drugstores, supermarkets, and even consumer’s homes—to learn about the habits and preferences that matter most to people.

Practice: Our employees don’t develop people-centric sensibilities overnight. It takes time and effort to really listen to the people who ultimately drive our business. We’re committed to the process.

Listen and learn: We don’t make assumptions and hope to confirm them; we start by listening to people and really learning about their wants and needs.

Embedding: We aim to fully embed ourselves in all cultures in order to gain a better understanding of what makes our customers tick.

A Comprehensive Approach

Prioritizing people-centric innovation isn’t always simple, but we believe it’s worth it. In order to be as thorough as possible, we use a variety of strategies, and traditional surveys and focus groups are only the beginning. For example, we observe how people hold and examine products in stores before suggesting changes to Colgate toothpaste labels. We talk to housecleaners to learn about how and why they use Fabuloso, and we connect with veterinarians and pet owners to gain a deeper perspective on our Hill’s Pet products.

We connect with about 100,000 real people every year, and we engage with hundreds in one-on-one settings. We do in-person home visits or use smartphones to virtually be with people in their bathroom as they’re brushing their teeth with Colgate, washing their hands with Softsoap, or applying an EltaMD skincare product.

We aim to act not simply as interviewers but as ethnographers and fully understand the customs and rituals that take place throughout peoples’ daily lives. We observe the products they use, how they use them, how they shop, and how they engage with members of their household. We also strive to understand the “invisible” aspects of their lives, including deep cultural influences, personally-held beliefs, aspirations, and fears.

Our Values

At Colgate, our people-centric approach coincides with other key values. We are:

Adaptable and progressive. We are constantly evolving and embracing new tools as they become available. We progress and advance and always strive to deliver the best experience for our consumers.

Multi-faceted. We don’t rely on one strategy but instead aim to gather a rich, holistic picture of people all over the world based on different sources of input, from social media to real-life engagements.

Technologically-savvy. We use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning to synthesize the vast amounts of real-people data we accumulate and use it to predict market trends and fulfill consumer desires. We blend big data and soft data by melding machine-learning with empathetic connections to real people around the world.

Inclusive. You can’t thrive as a global brand without deep insights about diverse groups of people. We understand that diversity means more than varying skin tones and different languages. We connect with people from big families and those who live alone, people who are extremely wealthy and those who struggle to meet their basic needs, and people with a wide variety of abilities and limitations. We embrace both the averages and the outliers, and we strive to design quality products for everyone.

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