The half-day conference event was a new format for Cosmetic Executive Women, an industry professional organization that puts on over 20 events each year, most of which are hour-long panel discussions or presentations that follow a networking reception where attendees socialize and connect.
The Connected Consumer Conference ran from 7am to 12:30pm and brought together a veritable who’s who of more than a dozen beauty and tech industry experts, including Frédéric Rozé, president and CEO of L’Oréal USA; Marc Rey, president and CEO of Shiseido USA; Jessica Rotnicki, SVP of North America ecommerce for The Estée Lauder Companies; Flynn Matthews, global insights lead for home and personal care at Google; and Karen Moon, CEO of Trendalytics. The sold-out event drew over 300 industry pros to the Cipriani 42nd Street event space near Grand Central Station.
Speaking on the topic of video impact, Rotnicki emphasized that “video consumption is on the rise.” She pointed out that “500m hours of video are watched on YouTube every day.” And perhaps most significantly, she shared that “video is the most trusted source for consumers looking for beauty information.”
Rotnicki showed sample video from The Estée Lauder Companies’ brands, highlighting interactivity and the fun playful tone the content had. To conclude her presentation, she shared five video tips: “make first 3-10 seconds count, take advantage of the video medium, ensure the format will work across all channels, consider pulling videos in from YouTube, and include multiple calls to action.”
A panel moderated by Jenna Menking explored how social media and other online platforms use data to help cosmetics, personal care, and fragrance brands reach the right consumers with the right messaging.
Every platform has distinctive data that correlates to the sort of content and communication that happens there. As Vikram Bhaskaran, head of market development at Pinterest, sees it “Facebook owns the social graph, Google owns the knowledge graph, and Pinterest owns the taste graph,” which is to say that in broad terms Facebook’s data show who know whom, Google’s show who knows what, and Pinterest’s data show who likes what.
“What I love about beauty brands,” says Flynn Matthews, global insights lead for home and personal care at Google, “is that they are absolutely obsessed with brand story.” Which may, in part, explain why “beauty is growing faster than search in general,” as Matthews notes. She also explained that brands that benefit most from working with her and her team “know what they want to measure,” and understand the nuances of messaging in so far as recognizing “what's better said by a brand and what’s better said by a consumer.”
Facebook knows a thing or two about beauty too. “You type 'beauty' into our platforms, you get 526m posts every day,” quips Karin Tracy, head of industry for beauty, fashion, luxury, and retail at Facebook and Instagram.
Tracy emphasized that brands today must figure out “how to connect with the new consumer mindset…people with shorter attention spans, consuming more content than ever.” To engage today’s consumers she advises brands create “mobile-first assets and shoot in vertical.”
As much consensus as there was among the speakers, everyone who spoke revealed their company’s unique vision of what beauty looks like in the age of the connected consumers. For instance:
“At L’Oréal, people are the most important part of our digital transformation.” - Frédéric Rozé, president and CEO of LOréal USA
“If I really want to create a competitive advantage, I need to look outside the beauty industry….We look at how to disrupt, why to disrupt, and how disrupters work.” - Marc Rey, president and CEO of Shiseido Americas
“Content drives experience as well our business goals and productivity.” - Jessica Rotnicki, SVP of North America ecommerce for The Estée Lauder Companies
“Poshly gathers consumer data that is hyper-personal.” – Doreen Bloch, founder and CEO of Poshly, an on-demand consumer insights platform for the cosmetics, personal care, and wellness industries
“The future is letting the consumer see what happens on the backend.” - Karen Moon, CEO of Trendalytics
“Beauty is one of the four key reasons people come to Pinterest.” - Vikram Bhaskaran, head of market development at Pinterest