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Estetica’s Gimme-5: Coty’s Sylvie Moreau on Building a Challenger

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 18:47

It’s been one year and a half since the announcement of Wella’s merger with Coty, one of the world’s leading beauty companies. The merger is one of the grandest in years, and has expanded Coty’s role in the beauty market and gives the company access to the attractive salon and hair category.

In November 2015, Coty named Wella’s global leader Sylvie Moreau as the President of the Coty Professional Beauty division, which consists of Wella professional brands, OPI nail business and ghd, global premium brand in high-end hair styling appliances. We caught up with Sylvie for the latest news on Coty Professional Beauty and Wella.

At the Wella TrendVision event in Barcelona, you talked about being the clear challenger in the industry, how do you expect this exciting new era to continue?
"Since the merger on October 1st last year, it’s been a transformation time for Coty, being propelled to the challenger position in the beauty market. As we prepared for the merger we looked at reinventing the company completely. As we were defining what’s our mission, one of the things that were extremely intentional about is to celebrate beauty and to start from this position of challenger and embrace it. This is a great mindset that drives more appetite and is challenging yourself more, trying harder. The idea is to become the market leader, like we are in fragrances, because we want to have a different attitude with more speed, more ambition, more risk-taking and ownership. We think that through that culture, we can become more successful and eventually the leaders."

The real change is that P&G was an amazing company, but this one is 100% beauty.
"Absolutely, and it changes everything, because every conversation is about beauty, every capability is about beauty, every dollar we invest is to push beauty further, and we are all confident and professional about the industry we are in. We love that space."

There are also a lot of news taking place, like the acquisition of ghd, which only happened months later than the news about OPI... so these three power houses –Wella, OPI, ghd– open up amazing possibilities for the future.
"Absolutely. As we were creating the new Coty, we were also deliberate on how we will structure ourselves so that as a challenger in beauty we are set up for this huge mission of becoming the leader. The bold choice was that we wanted to be focused and dedicated to channels and customers so that we make a big difference and become experts in the field. That’s why we decided to be organized by division: Professional Beauty, Luxury and Consumer Beauty. It’s a big investment. That means there’s three general managers in every country, one for each division. Indeed, this investment choice is like if you had three companies within one and each is accountable for their own results. Each one decides about their innovation program, the investment on the ground, and controls everything end to end. And so, when it came to the ghd investment, clearly this is my bet: we love the great beauty brand that it is, the company has invested in it, we’ve done the business plan and I’m sure it will be successful."

So this is a very unique structure. Tell us a little more about the Coty Beauty Professional Division.
"It’s great because it gives us freedom within our division but also a big responsibility because of the fact that we are accountable for the growth. I think that the Coty story makes this the perfect place to be because in our new company we want to be what is called a bigger startup. We want to have both: the legacy and the heritage of the company founded in 1904, yet the challenger and starter mindset of someone who just founded right now. We want to have a portfolio where we respect the brands and their fans, so it’s inspirational for them too. For instance, ghd is a startup of many years on their own, who have managed to create an amazing beauty brand, and through Coty company’s culture, they will be able to stay who they are and thrive because of the capabilities of the company. They were excited about the opportunity but they also felt respected for who they are and will be managed as a stand-alone company within the Coty Professional Beauty division."

How do you translate that to the beauty professionals?
"We evolved our strategy in 2012 with the objective to grow the business of our customers – beauty professionals. When they grow, we will grow. Usually you talk about the business objectives and you talk about your own objectives but I always say, let’s remember we are not in the business of selling tubes of color and products to customers, we are in the business of supporting a whole profession and supporting our customers to grow their business. That is why education is so important to us, it is like the magic wand. When we talk to the salons, it is not about the next promotion to sell. It is more about the business opportunity for the salons in a joint business plan, diagnosing the performance of the salon, and giving them ideas and support so that they can grow their business. If it happens to be something that we have in the shop, perfect. But we are here to support them. This philosophy is the way that Wella was born. That’s part of who we are and I hope and think that our customers notice this too. I’ve never been in an industry where our customers want us to succeed so much. Usually with customers there is a bit of tension, but in this industry, we have the impression that everyone is cheering for each other, and that’s a great place to be."

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