How to Identify Leaders with Montse Passolas of Rimmel at Coty
January 29, 2018 By Lauren Stiebing
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Montse Passolas is a highly qualified Global Marketing and Branding board level executive with over 18 years of experience in marketing and communications, digital, new product development, retail, PR and business development strategy within leading brands and companies. Montse is a true international profile with experience working in Spain, France UK, US, and with an emphasis on the beauty and luxury markets with a proven ability to adapt and work efficiently in fast-paced organizations. She is a marketer with strong commercial acumen, online discipline and consumer focus; excellent leadership, charisma and communication abilities.
In this podcast we discuss:
The shift from a boss to an inspirational leader
The qualities which some of the best leaders portray
Camillo Pane and Barack Obama – Why Montse believes in their leadership skills?
Some of the learning platforms she uses to brush up on her leadership skills
Empowerment, guidance, inspiration and recognition – Montse’s secrets to supporting leaders
Lauren: Hi I’m Lauren Stiebing and on this episode of the career success podcast we will be discussing how to identify leaders with Montse Passolas. Montse is a highly qualified Global Marketing and Branding board level executive with over 18 years of experience in marketing and communications, digital, new product development, retail, PR and business development strategy within leading brands and companies. Montse is a true international profile with experience working in Spain, France UK, US, Australia and an emphasis on the beauty and luxury markets with a proven ability to adapt and work efficiently in fast-paced organizations. She is a marketer with strong commercial acumen, online discipline and consumer focus; excellent leadership, charisma and communication abilities. She has demonstrated capability in motivating and managing large teams with all levels of experience and she speaks four languages proficiently. Welcome Montse.Montse: Hi Lauren. Hi, thank you very much for having me. Thank you to LSI international, it’s a pleasure to be with you guys.Lauren: Great! So as I mentioned in the introduction, the topic of today's podcast will be how to identify leaders and since you’ve held multiple leadership roles, I thought you'd be a great person to share with us some of your ideas and opinions. So, my first question is how has the idea of a leader change since the start of your career?Montse: I started my career almost twenty years ago and in beauty, is a sector that I still love. The main change is that I've seen from many days ago to now, I think before you used to be a boss, maybe they tell you very much what to do. There was very little inspiration and nowadays possibly because we are managing millennials and generational Z, we have moved to a very inspiring role, where you have to of course, guide them in their professional development, but also nourish them in their curiosity, an in the way they relate to the world and to their peers and to their families and to the work life environment. It is a very nourishing, in a certain way, or at least that’s how I see it that the people who are now… truly does not… not… not only incredible on their vision or their role itself but also they are truly inspiring people who understand the needs of the millennials, the gen Z. That … And in the way they see the world nowadays in terms of authenticity. In terms of how they relate to social causes; And at that rate that they are also entrepreneurial, you know young people, the young generation they don't find something that they will do themselves. They will have a way to have it, right? And that immediacy in reactions before you know, remember when I started working, email was in it’s infancy. Though that immediacy…. immediate information was not as a highly requirement as it is today. So, the leader has not only to adapt to the way your relationship is relating with the younger generation and inspiring them and embracing their way of thinking but also that immediate reaction; the immediacy need of fulfillment.And you have to adapt in this way of technological progress because they are born with it, mainly gen Z.They are the first generation that know about internet. So, the new leaders had to adapt to that way… there way of thinking and the way they relate to technology and speed. So, those leaders are truly inspiring because they have quickly adapted they learn and they embrace them. Lauren: When you are identifying leaders this can be done you know internally at your company or externally when you are hiring or even you know at congresses or events or in your everyday life. What processes do you undergo to identify leaders?Montse: It's the way they…. I think it’s the way they portray themselves. The confidence, they trust they also inspire in others because I think trust is a very important feature; reliability. You can identify leaders… even my hair dresser, everywhere.And because the way they portrayed in talking with conviction, with confidence and inspiring trust to the others. And that person who recognizes their weaknesses and at a conference with people who say I'm not better for the subject and this… this and then you want to listen to them.You do want to listen to them. So, I think for me the leaders after the whole had this conviction, self-confidence without being cocky, and creation of trust. Reliability.Lauren: And can you give some examples of great leaders, well they can be people you know or people you don't and you know, why you believe in their leadership skills.Montse: I mean me… I had been very…. very blessed working in great companies like L'oreal.And I’m currently at Coty. I would say my current CEO, Camillo Pane, is incredible and I truly admire him because he's passionate for what he does, incredibly clear in visionary, talks with conviction but at the same time has humbleness; that makes him so approachable where at the same time inspiring. He's a truly there for me, motivating change and empowering people to be their own entrepreneurs.He’s giving recognition when needed, when needed and when awarded. I think for me my current CEO; I truly admire him, he’s transforming the way we’re operating in beauty. So, that will be for me one peer one and as a world, I think that Obama Because he was true to his values and he motivated change and open minded.Not only the US but in the rest of the world. He made possible the first chance of having a black president and he took the whole world with his convictions and he's inspiring rhetoric. So, I think I will highlight those two for a moment.Lauren: Okay thanks and for those of us who wish to build on… on these skills what would you suggest that we do?Montse: I think that reading… reading not only book's but reading magazines and interacting with other people, networking, online and off line. I see… I love listening to Ted; I love listening to speeches of women. There are so many inspiring women nowadays. I really … am… is a topic that I'm absolutely passionate about, the most fascinating women. But listening to them to what they have to say, and children; there are very inspiring children like Malalah, like super genius Rahul who is the most down to earth boy and he's incredibly clever. So, I think a listening, radio podcast programs; it’s very interesting because you capture ideas, the way they … not only the way they think but that way they also say it. For me sometimes content is important as the forums when you're trying to have those inspiring and authentic ways of portraying yourself.Lauren: And for you, when you identify a leader in your team, what actions do you take to get the most out of their abilities?Montse: First is empowering them … empowering them to take their positions and come up with solutions when the problem arises. Let them drive it, guide them when necessary and certainty … certainly recognizing their value. Montse: And not only recognizing their value only in a one to one, or in the formal of feedback day. It is even the small thing to the big, big presentation. To the small email that it was like change the way someone relates to a project or a launch to you know a big project that they have led. So, it is as important recognition and the value they bring into the team; it is very important, I think. So, empowerment, guidance, inspirations and recognition.Lauren: Well, Montse thank you so much for joining us today on our career success podcast. I'm sure our listeners have definitely enjoyed and probably you've given them some ideas as well to take with them Montse: Well, I hope so too and thank you very much again for having me; take care.
The global cosmetics market in 2017 was valued at over US$532 billion. This large market, which includes products for the likes of hair care, skin care, oral care, color cosmetics, fragrances, soaps and shower gels etc. is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 7% in the next five years.
Historically, this market has been dominated by large players with well-known brands such as L’Oreal, Coty, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden... but like in most other consumer markets, the winds of change are blowing in the beauty products market too. The following trends are especially noteworthy in terms of their impact on the future of this business and how players must respond, as they impact both the demand and supply sides of this industry:
Baby Boomers and Generation X consumers are being supplanted by millennials and Generation Z
Growing move away from synthetic chemical-based products to those made from natural ingredients
Rapid growth outside western markets, especially in countries like China
Ready capacity for outsourced manufacturing is available in North America, Europe and Asia
Outsourced R&D of cosmetics and beauty products is now far easier than before
Convergence of channels to enhance experience
Digital technologies are making it easier for sellers to connect with and sell to consumers and prospective consumers
Social media is playing a key role in influencing first-time product users.
The most disruptive outcome arising from the combination of the above trends is the rise of the so-called “indie” players in the beauty products industry. These are typically new companies or brands, “independent” of large existing players.
What makes “indies” successful?
Given their newness, indies are in a good position to be able to take advantage of trends at every stage of the value chain.
Target market: Customers from Gen Z are digital natives. They rely on input and opinions of peers rather than brand recall or advertising. In the LS International Career Success Podcast, Gianni Pieraccioni, experienced Board-level executive with decades of experience in the consumer products space makes prescient observations about Gen Z, which accounts for a major chunk of first-time users. He says “These are people who either reject or do not know the brands of their mothers… they are the selfie generation… and they really are very much individualistic consumers”. He further adds, “They don’t look for brands… they see products rather than brands and jump from one to another in a perennial search…”.
Indies are able to come out with new products and because the loyalty to brands is rapidly decreasing in a key segment of the market, they can target that segment very effectively. And because this segment has both the money and the willingness to spend, it represents an ideal niche for up-and-coming indies.
Reduced time-to-market: By outsourcing R&D as well as manufacturing, indies are able to compress the time needed to launch new products or target new geographies. In addition to not having to lock up capital in fixed assets like manufacturing facilities or invest in in-house R&D, indies have the flexibility to capitalize on unique opportunities- for example, categories with shorter life cycles. These drive revenue and cashflows, while also creating brand awareness.
And because indies have outsourced manufacturing arrangements, they can scale up or scale down quantities more quickly. By tying up with manufacturers who have excess capacity around the globe, indies can also focus on reducing logistics costs, thus being able to benefit from the ability to reduce prices or gain from higher bottom-lines.
Marketing: Online sales eliminate the need for indies to invest heavily in their own stores. To take advantage of merchandising opportunities in brick and mortar stores, they can tie up with companies like Ulta, the US-based beauty product chain that offers superior customer experience by converging channels. In the above-mentioned LS International podcast, Mr. Pieraccioni explains how Ulta is making a difference. “You enter a store and you have mass-market products, prestige products and professional products… and the reason why they can offer all three categories and overcome the idiosyncrasies of the channels and the exclusivity of the channels is because they also offer services in store. They offer skin care services, makeup services and a full salon for hair color, hair care. So, by doing this, they are basically creating an experience for the consumer…the consumer is allowed to have access to every kind of product from every kind of channel in one place.”
Using social media channels to create demand is now very much a reality. For example, the US brand Glossier (which already has a cult following) was launched on Instagram; its website came much later. Glossier’s products were developed based on interviews conducted by founder Emily Weiss, a former beauty editor with Intothegloss.com. As Glossier’s web site informs visitors, Ms. Weiss “wanted to make beauty as much of an element of personal style as fashion” and that “Personal choice is the most important decision a brand can never make”. This fits perfectly with the highly individualistic style that a growing number of younger generation consumers are- irrespective of whether their gender and location.
Marketing as a business function has been one of the earliest to acknowledge the power of digital media and social media to influence target segments. Over time, technologies have made it easier to profile individual preferences and tastes with such finesse that customers are sent digital marketing communications based on evidence of their interest. In this knowledge-powered economy where there is greater propensity to consume video than pages of text-based copy, informed vloggers (video bloggers) are emerging as a powerful set of influencers, especially in the beauty products industry. Beauty bloggers like Zoella, Tanya Burr and others have millions of followers across channels like YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. In a recent blog, beauty blogger Sophie Bianchi writes that in her opinion, “beauty vloggers are influential due to their likability, similarity to viewers, physical attractiveness, expertise and trustworthiness”.
The emergence of beauty bloggers as influencers is a huge change from times when celebrities were used as brand ambassadors. Another reason why the venerated habit of celebrities endorsing beauty products started losing its sheen was because technology allowed images to be doctored to make models look perfect. So people like you and me, who were supposed to be influenced by advertisements featuring “flawless” models, started becoming sceptical. In combination with other reasons listed earlier, loyalty to brands started to erode.
Digital technology is making it even easier for consumers to purchase online. Mr. Pieraccioni points to how in China, consumers can already purchase directly from social media platforms, without separately having to visit company websites or ecommerce portals. Such capabilities give indies tremendous opportunity to leapfrog more-established competitors with much larger advertising budgets.
If the above sounds like huge change for the industry, it’s because it is! Indies need talent that understands the brick-and-mortar aspects of this business, while traditional players need talent that can shake up ossified, conventional ways of thinking and infuse agility, innovation and technology-enabled transformation so that they too can remain relevant in the emerging landscape. And of course, established players willing to acquire indies need experienced talent for deal-making and integrating the acquired company with the acquiror.
PS: Men use beauty products too and the range of products they are willing to try is only growing. So right there’s another box you have to think outside of! https://www.reuters.com/brandfeatures/venture-capital/article?id=30351https://www.glossier.com/abouthttps://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sophie-bianchi/beauty-bloggers-zoella_b_11566248.html?guccounter=1https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/mar/08/glam-or-sham-are-youtubes-beauty-vloggers-selling-out
The FIFA World Cup has started on and the sponsorship circus is on. When brands try to get traction from their partnership with the elite football teams and the World Premium Football competition we can question the future of sponsorship in the new digital era.
A long time ago, when Gen Z’s parents just graduated, i.e. approximately 25 years ago, sponsorship was all about putting brand names on panel boards around the football pitch and on team jerseys. The objective was to raise brand awareness in a gamble that the TV audience will help recognise and memorize the name and/or logo.
Sport Marketing Sales agencies have continued to flourish by selling to medium-sized-wannabe-big companies the opportunity to have their name around the pitch of a national or European matches or other sporting events, comparing real advertising time with hazardous visibility raising more internal C-suite pride than consumer intention to buy. When it comes for big or major events, on site visibility has moved from prime argument for partnering to must-have but not-enough-to-have, a somewhat reinsurance for the potential sponsors.
The measurement of the so-called TV exposure is still a golden standard as a KPI and the bread and butter of some research companies in the sports industry, without demonstrating the impact of the sponsorship as delivering big numbers in terms of equivalent advertising’s time and valuation, which doesn’t provide any insight about the performance of the brand among the main target audience of the corporate sponsors.
With premium right holders driving the most of their revenue from broadcasters with a correlated effect to push the matches’ broadcasts from free to air TV to pay TV with sometimes very narrow audience, the power of the brands as event sponsors is shrinking and the potential influence of the TV brand exposure is a less and less sustainable argument. Although TV is still king in terms of media consumption for sporting events, sport is going digital and social. The youngest audience and young adults have been shifting from TV to digital devices – the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio have been the turning point and the FIFA World Cup 2014 suffered from a decline of TV audience of the youths for the first time ever due to a transfer of viewing to digital devices (Laptop, mobiles, tablets). The digital landscape has currently no recognised measurement standard similar to what exists for TV, which brings more uncertainty about the understanding of the impact for sponsors.
Mc Kinsey already pointed out in 2014: “Sponsorships have become an integral component of marketing strategy. Yet many companies still do not effectively quantify the impact of these expenditures, even for events requiring significant spending such as the World Cup. A systematic commitment to a menu of analytic approaches allows executives to identify sponsorships that create value as well as those that don’t live up to their names.”
Disrupting the sponsorship approach is now mandatory to hit brands’ objectives as it’s more
and more is all about consumer engagement, impact and return on investment.
Brands should focus on 5 key rules to get more impact and traction and none of them is about brand exposure during the games.
Exclusive territory of expression vs. exclusivity of product category: so far Coca Cola gets the exclusivity of communication for the product category soft drinks and water for the main contracts. Now to raise the interest of the consumers, brands should define a territory allowing them to demonstrate what they bring to them and their community. The territory can be shared with several corporate brands as long as the consumers get the message: sustainability can apply to energy carrier, water supplier, waste management company… It’s all about a convincing and acute story telling towards the company main target audience.
Exclusive contents vs. “same right for the same category of sponsors” policy. Since the late 80’s, sponsoring packages were the same among the sponsors of a set level. Now each brand needs to offer a unique experience to their customers and consumers to differentiate from their competitors and deliver a strong advantage against those which are not official sponsors and use the theme. This implies as well that the right holders (for example an International Sports Federation) carve out some media rights to allocate them to their sponsors such as behind the scenes stories, athletes’ preparation … We have all seen during the last winter Olympics athletes sharing directly on their social media depriving the sponsors from potential activation.
Preferred access to data and analytics. Very few organisations are able to nail down all their data in a same place (for example ticketing buyers, merchandising consumers, audience). So far the ticketing data of the last Olympics or FIFA World Cup don’t belong to their respective international organisation, preventing to share with their international sponsors a clear picture of the fans. Sponsors should access data and connect them with the own ones to elaborate sophisticated and efficient activation’s plan.
Co-creation of unique assets. One of the privileges of an official sponsor is to use and print the logo of the sponsored event or organisation on products. Millions of Coca Cola bottles have been carrying the logo of the FIFA World Cup, for example, all over the world. This doesn’t deliver any advantage neither to customers nor the company itself as such. Sponsorship will move to strategic alliances allowing the co-creation of new products and new services with a revenue sharing scheme for a mutual benefit of the right holders (more potential revenues if the strategy is correctly defined and implemented), the corporate company (more profit if the offer is very attractive and unique vs the competition or money saving if the sponsorship doesn’t prove to be successful), the consumers (better engagement with the co-branded product or service).
Definition of sponsorship purpose. A sponsorship deal is usually contracted for a set period of time and the corporate company is focusing on getting a return of investment during this set period of time. The subject of legacy is more and more of importance for the companies’ shareholders, staff and consumers. What should the sponsor achieve to make its world sustainably better? This element is now crucial for companies willing to partner with mega events such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup
A purpose-led organization and its benefits
Leadership gurus affirm that the single most important responsibility of a leader is to define their organization’s “purpose”. And having done so, they must ensure that stakeholders understand that purpose and are empowered to act in ways that help achieve that purpose.
But what is “purpose”? It is essentially the raison d'être. Maximizing profits has for long been seen as the reason why businesses exist. However, in recent years this belief has begun to change, and “purpose” is now being defined in ways that go beyond profit maximization. This shift is the result of the growing realization that for any business, sustained growth and profitability depends on people- whether they are employees, customers, prospective customers or business partners.
Especially in the face of rapid change, a clear organizational purpose acts as a beacon to decision-making and as a rallying point. It also helps the organization make better decisions around whom to hire, how to retain talent, what products/services to offer, how to market/sell them etc. It also motivates people to do their best- and stretch. In turn, that drives higher levels of innovation, customer service and commitment to the organization.
How you, as a leader, create a purpose-led organization?
The theory, as always, is simple. As Prof. Dan Cable says in an HBR article (Source), leaders must trigger employees’ “seeking systems”. Let’s now look at some specific actions leaders can take to create and nurture a purpose-led organization.
The implementation of the theory must clearly begin with defining an organizational purpose that is both authentic and aligned to the business model. But the real task lies in personalizing this purpose to individuals and teams within the organization. Leaders must recognize that individuals are motivated when they have the freedom to express themselves. This means giving them more opportunities to do what they are good at, so they can shine. This means assigning people roles that leverage their strengths- in practice, this could well include facilitating transfers and role reassignments based on perceived or assessed strengths and not just qualifications or experience. It could also mean allowing employees the time, budgets and space to experiment with ideas. Of course, to the extent possible, all such experimentation must be aligned with the organization’s strategic priorities, so that the outcomes will help further the organization’s legitimate interests. The payoffs are potentially huge, though, as people working on what they like doing will almost always be better performers.
Research also shows that people tend to be more engaged with their work if they can see how their role/work contributes to larger organizational goals. To facilitate this, leaders must break down corporate strategy and departmental plans into smaller components and explain them to the relevant departments and teams. This allows people in individual departments to formulate their goals and KPIs in ways that are clearly aligned with the larger purpose. Many leaders and managers do not deconstruct and personalize the organization’s purpose and strategy; this results in employees feeling disconnected or like they are in a black box, not knowing the value of what they contribute.
Periodically (say at the end of each quarter), managers must show each department how it has made a difference. This may mean going beyond the standard performance dashboard or evaluation metrics- and this is what Purpose-driven leaders are willing to take the time and effort to do. For example, leaders at Novant Health encouraged employees to create their own job titles; this prompted people to highlight their unique contributions to their teams, and over time, caused a marked improvement in morale and performance.
Leaders must remember also that keeping the organization purpose-led is not a one-time exercise. As the business grows, new people join, and some people retire or otherwise separate from the organization. Regulations change, as do technologies. Collectively, these shape operating conditions. In response, company managements will take actions from time to time that may also impact employee morale and motivation. It is at such times that reaffirming the purpose and painting a clear picture helps. It may also need a new purpose to be defined. It would be a big bonus if As Peter Hall, President of Consumer Brands at New York-based Dean & DeLuca says, “The most motivating thing I think as a leader is to paint an exciting vision (for the team). And then secondarily, define team members’ part in the plan… then you’ve gone some way to fulfilling your leadership obligations and to motivating your executives.”
April 30, 2018
LS International Global Compensation Survey
Check out the 2018 compensation survey from executives across the consumer goods industry.