Chris Good - Being aware of the power and importance of beauty advisors is key. In the prestige market the point of differentiation is the service, so it’s essential to offer the best training and support to our staff. They are the face of our brands and the contact with our consumers. What pleases me most about our UK headquarters is the first and second floor where we have what we call internally our Training Academy - giving them the tools and opportunity to train in a first-class establishment is great.
We are working as one with our beauty advisors. We also encourage all of our team members to spend time in the “Field” to experience the Point of Sale. We recruit from a diverse pool of talent both within and outside the beauty industry to drive innovation and creativity and ensure we have a complete understanding of our customers. Our workplace culture is structured around strong values that we refer to as “High Touch” which are integrated into every aspect of our business, focused on service, teamwork, innovation and passion. This has resulted in some great stories of career journeys in our business - excellent examples of people who have begun their careers as beauty advisors and are now leading our brands at General Manager level.
Premium Beauty News - What industry challenges are you seeing ahead of us?
Chris Good - There is a general shift of the industry - everything is developing so fast that keeping-up is a skilful juggling game. New technologies mean that anybody can now start a brand and have a global presence overnight. This encourages a lot of new ideas and the industry is more innovative than ever.
In terms of packaging and design South Korea is very innovative, and also California with cosmetics and skin care. We have research facilities in South Korea, Japan and California for instance. It’s a real global game, and the challenge is to be agile and inventive to stay competitive.
Premium Beauty News - In terms of retail, where do you see growth, strength and creativity?
Chris Good - The United Kingdom is a very innovative market. I was appointed here to run the business as an “emerging market” not as a mature one. We have created a culture that supports and empowers innovation - what we refer to as ‘Test and Learn.’ We have been trying out different retail concepts. We were present in Box Park last year (a pop-up retail park in East London), also Piccadilly Circus underground station, and the St Pancras train station. We have to take measured risks to grasp opportunities and London is a great territory to do so. The city is a forerunner in retail.
Premium Beauty News - Do you see any big future trends?
Chris Good - It’s difficult to consider one trend only. There is a real polarisation of the market with the fragmentation of product categories. We don’t just talk about ‘make-up’ for instance, but we talk about make-up sub categories: brows, lips, etc. It’s more challenging than ever to be global, serving every category of the market. Being innovative, understanding consumers and being in the “Field” are the keys to success.
Premium Beauty News - Regarding the “older” consumers (over 40), which represent a huge portion of the market in terms of numbers and buying power, what is your strategy to address their needs?
Chris Good - The UK demographically is becoming an ageing population. We refer to this group as the ageless consumer. They are equally important, if not more so, than the millennial consumer. Our strategy changes across different brands in our portfolio, we have brands that are targeting younger consumers and some than are targeting an older demographic and the ageless consumer is top of mind for us in everything we do.
Premium Beauty News - The male grooming sector is growing, what is The Estée Lauder Companies offering to this segment?
Chris Good - We have a rich portfolio of men’s brands and products including Clinique for Men, the number one prestige brand in the UK market, LAB Series, Aveda Men, Tom Ford for Men and men’s fragrances such as Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle.
The male market continues to evolve and we’re seeing more segmentation and new categories as men become more comfortable with grooming. Our pop-up concept in St Pancras station mentioned earlier, The Grooming Station, was launched to help us understand how men engage with our brands and what men value when shopping for grooming products. The learnings from this concept and others - including a grooming destination in John Lewis Oxford Street and distinctive experiences such as the pop-up Aveda barbershop - are helping us to understand how to provide an enhanced and tailored offering to our male customers.