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A New Era of Ultra-Personalization: An Interview with Coty's Sylvie Moreau and Laura Simpson

Thursday, 31 January 2019 16:43

The Estetica Team met with Sylvie Moreau, President of Coty Professional Beauty, and Laura Simpson, Chief Marketing Officer, to talk about the professional beauty industry and how the company and its main brands –Wella, System Professional, ghd, OPI, Sebastian and Nioxin– are taking a fresh approach to serving today’s client.

Yours is a global company. How can you design for all the different beauty cultures across the world?
Simpson:It’s true that there are many different beauty cultures. We see that as a cause for celebration! The salon is about individual looks, individual beauty, and individual transformation. At our parent company, Coty, we celebrate and liberate the diversity of beauty, and that’s reflected in Wella Professionals and the rest of our pro brands. Individual service and ultra-personalization are at the heart of what we and what our industry does. Many of our programs focus on ultra-personalized consultations to help hairdressers better understand the individual clients in front of them. Rossano Ferretti, our Coty Professional Global Ambassador, often talks about this: that understanding real women and men enables the beauty professional to create the exactly right look for the client—the look that best expresses who he or she is.
Moreau:I think what’s exciting is that although personalization is a big trend in every industry at the moment, it’s always been the cornerstone of who we are as professional beauty. Now, with the digital revolution, we’ve added the ability to take personalization to the next level, especially in terms of digital. On top of offering bespoke, tailor-made looks for every individual, we can now give them customized products that support the look. That’s one reason why we are so passionate about Wella Professionals’ Color DJ, with its capability of creating a personally calibrated color support masque for each individual client. That’s also why we love System Professional, our first major inroad in personalization from a product point of view, which prescribes a couture hair care regimen that evolves with every client’s needs.
Simpson:When we look at product development, we think about customization at every step. Take the recent launch of Wella Professionals Invigo Care range, which features three boosters that can be added to the care treatments so that salons can offer clients more volume, extra care, etc, depending on the individual’s needs. With System Professional we have millions of different product combinations that can be generated through Energy Code diagnosis. And of course we are definitely excited about Wella Professionals’ Color DJ.

How did you come up with this concept?
Simpson:We’d been looking at how we do customized, bespoke color to extend what salons can do into home care. We investigated different devices to see how we could accomplish this digitally. We moved naturally into the idea of creating a product for color glossing because it’s really something easy for clients to do at home between services.
Moreau:Color DJ is also a great example of our new working culture in Coty. The concept was there and the space where we wanted to innovate was there, but it was really brought to life by a group of individuals in our R&D teams who were very determined to make it happen in an entrepreneurial fashion. The team updated us along the way, but mostly, they moved forward fast, fueled by their passion.

How long did it take to develop Color DJ?
Moreau:From inception to the first prototype machine was less than a year. Our R&D team had a vision and felt this would be their legacy. They pushed really hard, working weekends, nights, whatever…
Simpson:… and achieved  great results!

How might the salon environment change with the development of such new technology?
Moreau: “Change is truly exciting and we in the professional beauty industry thrive on it. We’re can embrace change because we know what clients and consumers desire: they want personalization, they want connectivity, they want experiences and they want human connections—maybe in a digital way. but still human connections. I’ve read that millennials want prefer to spend more on experience than on products. And service is what we provide.
Rather than hesitating and being afraid of change, we need to own it by returning to the fundamentals of what made our industry successful: impeccable service and experience. And it’s not just hair service, but throughout, forging human connections – where consultation is the essence.
As an industry, we are not doing a good enough job on this essential service. Three out of four women say they don’t get the consultation they want. With the right consultation comes the individualization and experience that the stylist can provide. We can then leverage tools in the digital space to deepen the experience between the professional and the client. That’s when we’ll begin to shape the salon of the future.

Which region is ahead of the curve in creating the salon of the future?
Simpson:It depends. The U.S. has pioneered the trend of hairdressers working outside of the traditional salon environment. Asia is ahead when it comes to the online-offline beauty connection. We have programs in China for example, where we advertise in-salon services on an e-commerce platform where you can also book your appointment, pay for it, then map your route to the participating salon. Such programs are exciting opportunities to create more awareness of professional services and to drive traffic into salons. The experience works especially well when it is look-driven, particularly with trending colors like pastels and silvers.

What’s the impact of social media influencers on professional beauty?
Simpson:Wella has been about a community of professionals who are incredibly passionate about their job, and incredibly passionate about helping other people to be great at their craft. We’d done this offline model, but now we’re adding online to our model. We seek out the best, most authentic influencers. The vast majority of time and the biggest investments we make are with beauty professionals. We love it when we find hairdressers who are incredibly talented and either already have quite a significant reach online or really want to develop one. We then create partnerships with them in the same way that we’ve always been creating partnerships with hairdressers.
Moreau:The essence of influence is you have competence and you are authentic. Professionals who possess both are our partners.
Simpson: "We measure the impact of our content on our platforms and without a doubt, the most engaging is content that comes from hairdressers and our own educators—in other words, professional beauty influencers.
Moreau:In fact, hairdressers have always been influential. They are actually the people clients trust the most, by far, but they’ve never exploited their influence to the fullest. Hairdressers need to use their influential power to coach their clients on how to maintain their looks. They can do that online as well as behind the chair. They can and should strategically map out their digital actions to become the beauty expert in their city, region or even country-wide by creating inspirational looks, sharing them with their fans, increasing their online presence and getting people to talk about them and their work. Hairdressers can enjoy the same online success as we’ve seen among make-up artists. But they need to tap the huge power in social media to profile and influence. And when they add education to the mix, there’s no limit to how hairdressers can grow.
Simpson:Today, digital and education go hand-in-hand. Hairdressers in the U.S. tell us ‘all education starts online—all of it.’ You can start a wave of consumer interest with a simple piece of inspiration or a technical tip. In the same way consumers research purchases online, potential clients troll social media for a look that resonates and for the professional who can create it. As a professional industry, we’ve never had such powerful tools and we need to take full advantage of the possibilities.

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