So You Want to Work With a Beauty Brand?
Round three of Cosmo’s career series is dedicated to lots of exciting (and useful) beauty banter from India’s brightest brand managers!
How to bag your dream job... as told by the experts!
Q. So, what exactly does a beauty brand manager do?
a “You have to do just about everything... from hiring people, to ensuring sales, customer satisfaction and re-visits, as well as crisis management.”
Nidhi Saraf, Assistant General Manager, Maybelline
b “The most important part of my job is to understand what products from my Lancôme International portfolio will work well in the Indian market and bring those particular products here.”
Laetitia Ayache, Marketing Manager, Lancôme
c “I need to keep a check on new trends and see how our products fit in. My job includes meeting sales targets, digital media marketing, customer engagement and PR, plus launch new products.” Anjuli Pradhan, Marketing Manager, Sephora
d “My job entails writing on and researching cosmetic dermatology, seeking educational opportunities with media, creating PR strategies, and converting existing customers into loyal brand advocates.”
Priyanka Bedi, Manager - PR & Corp Comm, Kaya Skin Clinic
e “My role involves a lot of relationship handling, from working with an ambassador to coordinating with our head office. Then there’s crisis management and planning new launches for the year.”
Savita Dhami, Marketing Head, The Body Shop
“You could be innovating on a new product, planning an event, or projecting growth numbers. Brand management is about analysing your business, identifying the gap, and projecting the way ahead.”
Mamta Saini, Senior Manager, Hair Colour, L’Oréal Paris
“Being a brand manager requires you to be on top of everything. I need to know about sales, customer perception of the brand, and whether the salon owner and hairstylist recommend my product.”
Ankita Rojinder, Assistant Brand Manager, Schwarzkopf Professional
h “Everything from digital marketing, to sales, hiring and profits come under a brand manager’s KRA. You have to be on your toes about current trends, and possess great leadership skills.” Tashnu Khariwala, Manager-Marketing Operations & Training, Shiseido
i “A big part of my job is to create a balance between maintaining the global imagery of my brand and figuring out what the Indian consumer wants and marrying the two needs.” Namrata Hariana, Operations Manager, Inglot
j “Since Avon is a direct seller and only operates through catalogues, product innovation is the centre of our business. Apart from that, there are regular things like PR, sales, celebrity endorsements, etc.”
Shweta Kumar, Category Manager, Avon
Spending their time amidst tonnes of gorgeous products, planning launch events and shoots, building the brand, managing price points and even helping with the R&D...if these brand managers are anything to go by, working with a beauty brand in the country is a whole lot of hard-work, but a lot of fun too!
Cosmo: Does one require a formal degree to work with a beauty brand?
Anjuli: “Yes, having a formal degree makes sense, even if it isn’t an MBA and is a correspondence course or a diploma programme. That said, it’s important to have soft skills so you can pick up the aesthetics and experientials of a brand.”
Ankita: “Yes, I have an MBA degree and didn’t have any prior experience in beauty. But you can’t just be good with numbers and clueless about the world of beauty. You need to have a balance of the right and left brain.”
Cosmo: What do you look for when hiring someone?
Shweta: “I would look at how updated she is with the latest trends and her understanding of the market and industry.”
Laetitia: “Being a luxury brand, we look for prior experience with a similar portfolio. The person needs to understand the difference between selling a luxury brand and a mass brand—like, a mass brand’s strategy will be centred around TVCs, while ours will be more service and experiential led.”
Namrata: “We ask candidates questions during interviews to understand how they think. I usually give them a specific scenario—like, how would you increase footfalls in a store?—to gauge interest and knowledge.”
Mamta: “Communication skills are critical. Since our role involves so much coordination, I check how good the person is at relationship building, articulation, and selling their ideas.”
Ankita: “I ask them about basic marketing principles and how they would position my brand. If a candidate’s basics are unclear, then creativity won’t compensate.”
Savita: “I give them make-believe sticky situations to judge their people management skills.”
Tashnu: “It might seem like a small thing, but you need to be very good at Powerpoint and Excel, as these things come in very handy.”
Cosmo: What is the last problem you faced at work?
Priyanka: “To ensure that my brand is considered credible and authentic. You have to convince people about your product, without being pushy.”
Tashnu: “Driving footfalls! Then holding on to customers and creating opportunities for their re-visit.”
Mamta: “My last problem was to get my creative agency to release the TVC of my new launch for me to see it in time.”
Anjuli: “Since Sephora has so many different brands, I need to ensure they’re doing equally well.”
Savita: “Timelines. At any given point, there are yearly timelines, quarter timelines, shoots, launches, editorial tieups...they all come with strict deadlines.”
Cosmo: How much money can one expect to make in this biz?
Shweta: “A fresher can expect to make about 25K per month. With five years of experience, about 55K, and with 10 years experience, anything between 1-3 lakhs monthly.”
Cosmo: What are the perks of your job?
Tashnu: “We get a 20% discount on our products. Plus, I get to travel for training and marketing conferences.”
Namrata: “You get to visit the stores in different countries and learn new selling and marketing skills.
Nidhi: “We have a brand store inside our office where we get all products—across all brands—at great discounts.”
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Priyanka spoke about the importance of converting customers into brand advocates
Namrata: “Recently, I faced problems with pricing because of the frequent dollar rate fluctuations.”
Laetitia spoke about creating a balance between her International office and the Indian market