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20 To Know

By: Karen A. Newman, Jeff Falk, Leslie Benson
Posted: January 7, 2009, from the January 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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So how do you top all that’s happened in just the first year? “The next [products] will go beyond natural and organic and into the more encompassing concept of sustainability,” says Schaeffer. “Moreover, these brands will offer a better value than their predecessors.” As for Schaefer himself, continuing to grow Depth is his only plan.

David Frederick, Chief Engagement Officer, Alive Idea Media Group

In the not too distant past, outlets from which marketers could share their stories were fairly limited—print, TV, radio—and control of the message was almost exclusively wielded by marketers. Today, there seems to be no limit to marketing outlets, and the messages are free-form soon after they are released to the world—with consumers avidly going beyond participation in brand stories and, instead, reshaping them. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, regardless of whether you’re the one bombarded with messages competing for attention or looking for the magic formula that allows your message to stand apart. Within this storm stands David Frederick, whose reassuring and plain spoken message maps marketing’s evolution and provides the compass points for marketers to follow.

As director of living media at Coty Beauty, Frederick revolutionized the way the company marketed its products to the consumer, bringing Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwen Stefani, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang and Rimmel London brands to life via non-traditional mediums and integrated campaigns. As the chief engagement officer at Alive Idea Media Group, he has worked to cultivate consumer relationships that go beyond traditional media by embracing creative and forward-looking ways to connect brands and consumers through experiences that create unique emotional connections and inspire meaningful, two-way conversations.

Lyn Kirby, President & CEO, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc.

During the ongoing U.S. economic recession, expanding business by opening new stores is almost unheard of. However, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. has been able to rise above the challenges posed by tighter consumer wallets.

Under the leadership of Lyn Kirby, the company has transformed from the discount beauty retailer it was when it debuted in 1990 to the dual beauty superstore and specialty store it is today. Kirby has led Ulta into expansion since 1999, most recently by spearheading the grand opening of its 301st store on State Street in downtown Chicago—the first four-tiered, 18,000 sq ft prototype of its kind. The launch is part of Kirby’s long-term growth plan to more than double Ulta’s ownership to 1,000 stores in the next five years as it strives to become a billion dollar beauty business. The plan also includes expanding store sizes by up to 25%, developing more strategic alliances with major salon brands and learning from the outcome of the Chicago store prototype.

“Our passion is esthetics, escape, education and entertainment—the core of our consumer experience,” Kirby says, “and it’s what is getting us through this tough economy.” With Kirby at the helm, Ulta remains an innovative retail concept, having launched an e-commerce Web site, featuring 12,000 SKUs and 11 microsites in November 2007, which she says could provide more than 10% of Ulta’s business in the future. Sales also stay consistent thanks to the company’s “superstore” attributes: off-mall locations; intense marketing campaigns through direct mail, newspaper inserts and e-mail blasts; and value propositions that support a customer loyalty program.

“We attribute our ongoing success in a difficult economy to our proven marketing strategy, solid operational execution and the beauty category, which is more resilient than many retail categories,” Kirby says. “We are in great shape in this economy, and we believe it will be hard for our competition to follow us.”

Peter Kelly, Co-founder & Director, Taxi Cosmetics London Ltd.

Creativity, adaptability and resilience are important traits for entrepreneurs in any industry, and the beauty business has plenty of success stories to prove it. Peter Kelly has worked in the industry for more than 20 years, holding marketing and development positions with a number of contract manufacturers. In 2004, he took the plunge into entrepreneurship when he and his wife, Jane Williamson, created a British beauty brand with an identity tied to “the unsurpassed history and trends of the talented and enviable London fashion scene.” They chose the name Taxi London because the word taxi is understood around the world and connects with the brand’s ‘makeup on the move’ philosophy.