Think Tank: Global Fashion Eyes Beauty to Source Talent

Amazon recently announced that the former chief executive officer of Victoria’s Secret Beauty, Christine Beauchamp, would head the company’s fashion division. The high-profile hire comes on the heels of Ralph Lauren’s recent appointment of PatriceLouvet, aProcter & Gambleveteran who most recentlyoversaw the company’sglobal beauty business, to the post of ceo.Themoves signal growing demand for a diverse set of skills within both fashion and beauty industries as brands look to innovatethrough non-traditional hires. Beauchamp also held senior positions with fashion brands including Ann Taylor and the Ralph Lauren Group. Louvet spent decades leading various CPG brands at P&G, including Gillette.Kirk PalmerWith well-established companies like Sephora, Estée Lauder andUltashowing continued growth and new brands like Supergoopgaining traction despite a saturated marketplace, beauty is a growing hotbed of innovative marketing know-how. Global fashion houses are increasingly crossing the line tobeauty toidentify and recruit new talent — particularly those with digital and/or retail expertise.In a similar way,beautybrandsaretapping fashion talent for expertise in merchandising, creating desirethrough a product-centric approach, anddriving cross-collaborations with creativeand business. Deborah Yeh, the senior vice president of brand and marketing at Sephora who joinedfrom Gap, is one example. Greg Unis, formerly of Coach Inc., who was recently chosen to headup the Victoria’s Secret beauty division, is another.Here are the skills that beauty talent can bring to fashion:Creating an ExperienceUnlike in fashion, in beauty, products do not sell themselves.They often requirea consumerto interact withthe productto makethe sale.Considerconsumer favoriteSephora, ormost anydepartment store counter where salesstaffengages with consumers throughsamples ordifferenthands-on approaches. While fashion retailers talk about this idea,this kind of “experiential”shoppingis a fundamental part of the culture of beauty companies.Leveraging this concept within the fashion industry can be a game-changer for many brands, and create a distinct difference for consumers in how they connect, engage and purchase the brandin-storeversus online.LeveragingConsumer InsightsIn the beauty industry,knowing the consumeris the most importantelement of building a successfulrelationship that drives sales.Beauty companies have become masters in connecting with consumers, whether through an immersive, in-store environment, through social media or online, beauty brands haveincredibly successful CRM platformsworking tounderstand what motivates customer engagement.Further, bysegmenting andtargeting high-growth categories likeMillennialsorGeneration Z, beauty companies know how to differentiate and the message to reach important, but smaller sub-segments across the customer base.Tapping a DeeperSkill SetIntraditionalfashioncompanies,executives build their careers within one functional area of expertise, leaving them ill prepared for senior management positions that require a broader perspective.Conversely, executives coming from the beauty industry bring with them a much more diverse set of skills.While training programs have largely gone by the wayside in fashion, in beauty, companies likeL’Oréalstillbelieve in rotating executivesevery two to three yearsthrough various functions and geographies.This, in turn,develops anoverallmanagement skill set and bigger-picture, globalpoint of viewnecessary forleading a growing brand. Fashion and beautycompanies havelong had adifferentiated approach to marketing, consumer engagement and leadership.However, in the digital age whereevery company in every industryneedsto be agile, innovative and forward-thinkingto not only compete, buttostay alive, sharing best practices through talent may be one of the most efficient, effective ways to ensure success.Kirk Palmer is founder and chief executive officer of Kirk Palmer Associates.For More Business News From WWD, See:Amazon, Wal-Mart and Apple Top List of Biggest E-commerce RetailersConsumer Preferences Reshaping Retail LandscapeAs IoT Grows, AT&T Sees Broad Deployment of Connected Devices and ProductsHow Malls Can Satiate Consumer Desires for ExperiencesYou're missing something!

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