“We are truly brand builders over time”

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In a full year of uncertainty and change, companies have found little to bet on. But for Estée Lauder Companies, its flagship product strategy was fundamental. In his latest quarterly results, 10 of ELC’s brands experienced growth. La Mer and its eponymous brand Estée Lauder saw double-digit sales growth, thanks to iconic franchises.

“[The strategy is] really focus on our heroic products. Because above all, these products are absolutely loved, ”said Jane Hertzmark Hudis, President of the Executive Group of Estée Lauder Companies, during the last episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. “They will lead to the greatest number of recruitments, which corresponds to new consumers for our brand, and loyal customers, which corresponds to product loyalty. Advanced Night Repair and Crème de la Mer are good examples. However, we are innovating in what we call these franchises.

A long-time ELC veteran, Hertzmark Hudis started at Prescriptives within the company before taking up leadership roles at Origins and Estée Lauder. She is often referred to as the driving force behind the organization’s skincare victories. In July, she became the first woman to be promoted to president of the conglomerate’s executive group.

Although the concept of prestige beauty evolves, Hertzmark Hudis affirmed that the Estée Lauder companies will be “pure-play, focused on prestige and luxury”.

“The luxury industry is booming and people want more and more luxury and more and more luxury experiences. So frankly, luxury is here to stay, ”she said.

Below are additional conversation highlights, which have been edited slightly for clarity.

Skin care for victory
“What’s great is that this is a time when people focused on the idea of ​​being healthier. Wellness is a huge trend, as you know, and skin care is really all the rage. People want to take the time to take care of their skin. And they have a lot more time in their bathroom because they’re not on an airplane. So it was an amazing, amazing time for skin care. I am delighted. Finding these opportunities has been amazing, because on the one hand it was about women going to their classics and the products they love, things like Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. Crème de la Mer was amazing. Initially, women and men flocked to the products they knew and loved over time. And at the same time, they’re incredibly interested in novelty, like Dr. Jart. We’re just launching Dr. Jart in UK in Boots, and the campaign is so amazing. It’s a fantastic digital campaign, and we’re launching it entirely online first because the stores are closed.

Looking to Asia
“Asians’ voracious appetite for skin care has been a huge lesson because, whereas in the United States, we thought it was only a step or two. People really go through several stages; people mask themselves, they take better care of their skin. And so there are a lot of lessons that come here. The idea of ​​watery lotions, which is definitely an Asian skincare trend, is starting to be used here, especially by Gen Z and Millennial consumers. So that’s one aspect of it – product trends and niche trends and new trends. And on the other hand, China was the first market to engage in virtual sales. And so we immediately rolled this out around the world, as an example. It started in China for VIP consumers, and now we are doing it in all markets…. Another example is Bobbi Brown, a makeup brand that I oversee. Their world has always been to have a makeup artist in the store. One of the cool things is, what do you do about it after the stores are closed? Well, you take that experience online – and they’ve developed a lifelong artistry, which is absolutely fantastic. You can go online to learn how to do a smoky eye or a bare lip etc. I would say, “How can I do this? Now it’s almost like having a pocket artist at home with you, and you can learn to do your makeup, quietly and in private or in class.

Prestige first
“We will continue to be pure play, centered on prestige and luxury [company]. The luxury industry is booming and people want more and more luxury and more and more luxury experiences. So, frankly, the luxury is here to stay. The other side is that the accessibility of beauty and the ability to buy beauty is also a parallel trend, which is why there are all these new distribution opportunities and so on. – because it is about attracting new consumers, in particular putting them online, but also putting them in stores. The idea in our business is to match the right brand with the right level of distribution, because not all brands are the same. So if I give you an example, Crème de la Mer is in a very limited number of doors around the world, because the idea is first and foremost to be where that VIP consumer is. And second, it’s about boosting the productivity of those doors, rather than just rolling out something because it wouldn’t be good for the brand. If you think of Hermès or think of other luxury brands, it’s a similar idea. While Dr Jart plays at the front door of prestige. So for them, Boots is right. And for them, Sephora is right. And for them, Sephora at Kohl’s is right. So it’s really about matching the brand, the experience, the consumer, in order to drive the trial, the repeat and the consumers to our brands. But each brand is different and each strategy is different…. We are truly brand builders, and we are brand builders over time as well. So the idea is that we really focus on sustainable and profitable growth, and that is our mission. We’re not just deploying distribution to do that, or to get sales and shipping, or whatever. It’s really strategic and long term.


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