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CEW Welcomes Andrea Jung
By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: September 27, 2011
From left, Carlotta Jacobson, president, CEW; Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO, Avon; and Jill Scalamandre, CEW chairwoman and CMO, Chrysallis.
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Scalamandre noted that Avon is the largest engine in the world for women’s financial independence. Jung responded, saying, “We love beauty and we love our brand. The uniqueness of the high-touch channel is what distinguishes it. It really was about selling, but we also sell economic independence for women. The vehicle and the pride is the brand. For millions of women this direct sell environment is empowering. If you look at the last 10 years, direct sale has gained share. With the Internet and other modes of sale, it has somewhat eclipsed the direct sale model, however, high tech has had to marry high-touch.”
Jung discussed the ways in which Avon has merged with the Internet world. “Today’s Avon lady is not the Avon lady of five years ago. How to make today’s Avon a tool to enable the Internet savvy world has been one of the challenges. We have e-tools, a virtual Avon store, and PDFs can be sent out to customers easily. Social media and Internet tools are the new ways to reach followers and fans. We’re staying modern and keeping the channel relevant,” said Jung. She noted that some shifts can be seen in the age demographic, including the fact that a predominantly young population in Asia is using smart phones to place orders.
“Technology is the biggest enabler. We have examples of countries that are 50% Web enabled. If you incentivize people to do that, you’ll get results. We’re helping women to change their relationship with the Internet. It’s a question of blending and learning. Everyone has to have Web strategies. It’s so competitive,” said Jung.
In response to a question regarding consumer relationships, Jung noted that the key for direct sale is the relationship. “All consumers shop different channels, and strategies always have to change. We want to continue integrating different channels,” she said. Scalamandre, noting that Avon develops 1,000 new products annually, prompted Jung to say, “We are a product innovation machine. There’s a lot of alignment. We look at fragrances and skin care, and we look at what the worldwide consumer wants.”
“When you talk about the specificity of the channel, a new shade of lipstick is a great door opener. A lot of Avon business is done in combination with direct sale catalogs and customer contact. Our offerings are refreshed every two weeks in the U.S. and every three weeks in other parts of the world. The new products give me a reason to see you,” she said.