Interview Spotlight: Driving The Right Audience For Your Brand
Charlotte Parks-Taylor, Director of Strategy and Insight at Cream UK
Panel speaker at Trend Beauty, November 2017
Charlotte joined Cream as a graduate and worked her way up to Director of Strategy & Insight in under four years. Her success has stemmed from a tenacious approach to new business and the development of exciting new revenue streams for Cream. Her affinity and instinct for luxury marketing has enabled Cream to secure business most recently from Charlotte Tilbury, Farrow & Ball and Bucherer.
Charlotte now oversees the strategy for all Cream’s clients, having previously run the luxury department where she built and nurtured a talented team of luxury marketeers. She views her role as that of provocateur, working hard to invigorate Cream’s thinking when it comes to brand strategy.
- Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be the Director of Strategy and Insight at Cream UK
My role at Cream allows me to explore passions that have always been part of my life. Fashion, Beauty and Luxury brands have continually drawn my interest but where they fit into the global economy and how they affect the psychology and behaviour of consumers over time is where my fascination lies. As Director of Strategy and Insight at a business like Cream focusing explicitly on affluent and high net worth audiences, I’m able to help clients build and position premium and luxury brands, as well as guide the manifestation of that positioning through every aspect of marketing.
- What would you say have been the main changes in consumer behaviour that beauty brands have seen in the past few years?
Modern consumers now have access to more information, and therefore sources of inspiration, than ever before. Whereas brands were previously the ultimate source of inspiration for beauty consumers, we have seen that power truly democratised and dispersed with audiences empowered to seek advice through the immediacy of online content – whether it be from celebrities, influencers, experts or often their peers. As a result, the most sophisticated consumers no longer wish to be patronised by dictatorial beauty brands telling them how they should look and behave through blunt broadcast advertising techniques. This is something we are encouraging our clients at Cream to consider; how can we put the new consumer at the heart of all our marketing and communications and speak to them in a language that will truly resonate?
- Similarly, in the next 5 years, what do you predict will be the main changes in consumers behaviour?
I think we will continue to see this phenomenon develop, with a new consumer increasingly taking on the role of protagonist in beauty brand’s campaigns and marketing efforts. With advancing consumer expectations through digitisation, it is likely that we will also see the point of inspiration and purchase continue to evolve. Technology like 3D printing could offer immediacy of fulfilment for digital customers, whilst developments in Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality will continue to enhance the customer experience and stop proximity to a retail outlet being a barrier to purchase.
- How do Cream use data to drive the right audience for your beauty clients?
From a marketing perspective, the great advantage of digitisation has been the sheer volume of data that consumers leave behind, offering huge opportunity to for beauty brands to tailor messaging and product selection accordingly. This is clearly immediately applicable in the digital media realm where we can use digital queues to adapt ads served to different audiences, however we have recently been using similar technology in outdoor advertising. Earlier this year, we worked with Charlotte Tilbury to create a dynamic digital outdoor campaign, with ad copy changing based on weather data and audience demographics to ensure maximum relevancy to those exposed to the campaign.
- How has influencer marketing shaped the beauty industry and do you think influencers will continue to have an impact?
Influencer marketing has been one of the key forces in the democratisation of power away from the traditional role of brands in the beauty sector. From our perspective at Cream, the success of influencer marketing can be brought back to the fundamental desire within all of us us to engage and interact with other humans rather than faceless brands. We see this manifest in the exponential growth and success of social networking platforms, and even simply in the fact that the number of Instagram followers of top celebrities and influencers hugely dwarfs the followers of even the biggest brands. Human-led interactions will continue to remain incredibly important in marketing as consumers continue to ignore or even block advertising, seeking more real and authentic interactions that they can trust.
- In your opinion, which top three beauty brands are currently leading in digital innovation?
Charlotte Tilbury has built her business, market positioning and brand tone of voice from an incredibly personal and intimate starting point. Her use of digital from YouTube tutorials through to data led advertising has ensured that the consumer always feels as though they are engaging directly with her, even in online channels which can often feel distance and cold. It was interesting to see L’Oréal bring digital influencers into the heart of their campaign earlier this year, signifying a real change from traditional beauty brand advertising. This did however perhaps end up also being a lesson in the fact that often the appeal of influencers for consumers is their ‘realness’ versus perfect models, creating considerable implications when an influencer does not tow the traditional party line. Finally, new brand to the market led by Trinny Woodall (of Trinny & Susannah) will be interesting to watch. Her approach to makeup is refreshingly fuss-free in a world of extreme contouring, and each consumer’s product selection is led entirely by digital profiling of skin tone and skin type which could be a lesson to more traditional brands encouraging audiences to ‘get the look’ rather than find the perfect products for them. Ultimately the brands who really steal share of voice in the market will continue to be those who are using digital to create more intuitive and personal interactions with their audiences.