Interview Spotlight: How Coty Gets Personal With its Customers
Interview with Amy Kean, VP of Transformation at Coty’s internal agency, Beamly
Keynote speaker at Trend Beauty, November 2017
Amy Kean has mostly worked in strategy and innovation throughout her career. She is passionate about change, and all the ways someone can get there. As her job necessitates, she tries to be a bit brave, every day. Whether it is doing something outside of her comfort zone, having a new and challenging conversation, even agreeing to do a 10k!
She has a book being crowd-published soon — the book is all about bravery in young women, and how the world needs more of us! (Not that I’m young, of course!).
Amy will be opening the next TREND: The Digitalisation of the Beauty Industry on Thursday the 9th of November with her keynote speech: ‘Digital from inside a beauty brand’.
- Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you start in digital marketing?
I actually did my dissertation on the internet, many years ago. I was the first person at the University of Bath to study The Impact of Digital on Celebrity Culture, and after my studies, it just made perfect sense to go right to the centre of where it all happens: IAB. I stayed there for five years because there was always something new and exciting to get involved in.
- How would you define ‘premium beauty’ and how do you think the consumer perceives it?
Cheesy answer, but in the last couple of years, the definition of ‘premium’ has been totally turned on its head. Think about The Ordinary… they have beautiful, simple packaging and their products have a really luxurious feel, yet they’re relatively inexpensive and as such, hugely competitive. I think in this day and age, ‘premium beauty’ is any product that makes the consumer feel exceptional and there’s a lot of that around.
- Working across Coty’s product line has to be very exciting. Which premium brands are experiencing the biggest growth? Why do you think they are?
Whilst I can’t comment on an individual brands’ sales figures, it is safe to say the luxury industry is booming right now. Skincare brands like Philosophy have shown that innovation is possible within this space. Products such as masks and peels are an increasingly popular part of the everyday skincare routine. The face mask trend that was kickstarted in South Korea has wholeheartedly worked its way over here and more women than ever want that daily touch of decadence.
- How do you think the beauty sector is leading innovation in the retail industry?
In personalisation because it has been essential. Innovation – when done properly – has to solve a consumer problem. The need of today’s consumer is to receive a personal and customised approach from day to day brands.
The biggest challenge facing women in beauty is how will this look on me, with my skin tone, based on what I like, at my budget. Tech such as AR has really found a home in our industry.
- What has been the most challenging digital change for premium beauty brands?
That’s easy: e-commerce. How do you sell products that historically need to be touched and smelt, but on the internet? Do people even want to? You’ll have to watch my presentation to find out!
- Digital innovation is at the core of the leading beauty brands. Do you think such (marketing) innovations massively improve today’s customer’s conversion?
Good question! Perhaps not at the moment. Most beauty brands sell mass, spontaneous products that are sold in-store where there are little need and desire for an innovative shopping experience. What we’ve found is that innovation improves conversion but only for the limited amount of women that innovation reaches in the first place.
- What would your advice be to emerging beauty brands that want to compete against the bigger players in the industry?
Be cute, be cheap, give people something to talk about. Social media is where beauty brands are built these days and I have heard that rapidly increasing earned media is a good sign of business success.
Tarte Cosmetics, for example, call their customers and fans ‘Tartelettes’ – it might sound silly but it works incredibly well because it is all over social. It is the sense of community that appeals to beauty consumers.
- Can you give us a short snapshot of your keynote speech at Trend on the 9th of November?
I’ve never worked in an industry that needs digital as much as beauty, that’s why Coty has been so committed to it’s ongoing transformation, including the acquisition of Beamly. I will be be focusing on the customer journey, the disruptions within it and how Coty is embracing relevant tech trends like personalisation for our customers to make sure we remain relevant and at the forefront of today’s consumer beauty needs.