Summer has arrived! Whether you are already on vacation or you are leaving soon for sunnier places, chances are you’re going to need some sunscreen! All of us use products that protect us from sun exposure, but have you ever thought of the people behind the products and what it takes to create them? One of our star products during the summer is Garnier Ambre Solaire, so we asked Giuseppe, Product Manager for the brand, to share with us all about his job and how he surfs on market trends to build the most authentic and unconventional campaigns.
Giuseppe, tell us about your journey at L’Oréal!
My story at L’Oréal started about 2 years ago — but it feels like yesterday! I got in touch for the first time with L’Oréal while I was still in college. I don’t think I will ever forget that day — I was attending my Web, Analytics and Marketing lecture, just like any other day, when the professor informed us that a team from the Marketing Department of L’Oréal Paris would come to challenge us in a business game. I was immediately fascinated! They gave us the opportunity to work on a project for the Men Expert line, through which we would have to come up with a full marketing plan. It just seemed like a unique and super interesting project. And that’s how it all started!
Six months later, I joined the L’Oréal Paris marketing team as a Brand Management intern in charge of hair colour, Men Expert and styling product categories. This internship made me realize that L’Oréal as a company offered the right mix of creativity and business complexity to young talents, making it the perfect place for a recent graduate like me!
After my 6-month internship, I got into the Graduate Program in Marketing — a unique management program that recruits top university talents and turns young professionals into future business leaders. It was an extremely enriching program and was a great stepping stone to the start of my career. I had the opportunity to learn about the beauty tech industry through two rotations within different functions of L’Oréal. I started as Junior Product Manager for Garnier skincare, focusing on the cleansing product category and spent my last six months as a sales representative in Rome and the Lazio region.
And now, here I am: Product Manager for Garnier Ambre Solaire . Working in sun care is such a fitting job for a ginger guy, like me!
What’s it like being in charge of Product Management at 25?
Being a Product Manager is like being a small entrepreneur for me. I can manage the brand with full ownership, from the business to the communication part — and that’s why I have chosen marketing for my career!
What I love most about my job is that, despite my young age, I can genuinely contribute to the brand’s strategic decisions. It makes me proud, but it also highlights the fact that L’Oréal provides everyone with the opportunity to be relevant — you just have to be willing to seize that opportunity.
And being able to work for Garnier as a Product Manager is particularly special to me because this has been the brand I’ve worked for since I joined L’Oréal and I’ve really grown with it. I love the direction that Garnier is taking as a brand, now more than ever: sustainability and naturality are sources of inspirations that guide my everyday approach to business. As a multinational company that has a great impact on people’s lives and by extension on the world, I think we need to be aware of the nature surrounding us and it is our responsibility to try to safeguard it.
Can you tell us more about the cross-functional aspect of your job?
There could be no better example of cross-functional work! Actually, unlike the other brands of the group, that are continuously on, Garnier Ambre Solaire is a seasonal brand. This means that we have to pay particular attention to logistics, focus on returns, etc. On the financial side, we have to carefully study our competitors’ price lists, as well as our own. On the trade side, the process is fundamental because the secret of a product’s success is its placement at the right place, price and time. And of course, the launch is super important — that’s why we work on crazy marketing campaigns!
Speaking of, what’s the coolest marketing campaign you’ve worked on?
When I was on the Graduate Program, during my first rotation I worked on Garnier’s skincare detergency product line and had the opportunity to do a local marketing campaign. We launched a cleansing product that is called Pure Active 3-in-1 with charcoal, that serves as a face wash, scrub and mask against blackheads. I really enjoyed surfing on the trend of anti-blackhead products and active charcoal, and especially developing ad hoc digital assets. Of course, I didn’t miss the chance to personally test the product!
What is Marketing to you in 3 words?
For me, marketing can be summed up in three words:
I find “consumer” to be an abused term in marketing. I am not talking about the usual “consumer centricity” of the job, but rather the importance of the human aspect — from the product manager to the understanding of the consumers. When your #1 priority is the final customer, you need to be able to think like him/her, and you are able to do that through a mix of quantitative and qualitative data, business-related and personal feelings. That is what I love most about my job! L’Oréal is a company that has human relations at its core. Cooperation is actually one of the most relevant values and often, it is from the “crazy” interactions that you have with some people that arise the most innovative and creative ideas.
Finally, to me, innovation and dynamism are two sides of the same coin because they both imply transformation and growth. However, they also entail a certain closeness to the daily aspect of the business — this is my favourite aspect of the job!
How do you keep up with market trends?
Market trends are by definition fast and temporary — keeping up with them is not easy but it is essential! Following market trends also means you have to question everything. Elasticity and adaptability are fundamental in this job. You must be able to reformulate your business while remaining true to the brand and consistent. Market trends have an incredibly decisive influence on marketing strategies.
A popular trend at the moment that I find both interesting and challenging is personalization. It holds one of the most interesting aspects of the mass market: being able to sell the same product to millions of people by making them feel like it has been specifically created for them! Some of the products Garnier proposes, such as colourations, include the consumer inside the product funnel, and that makes them feel like they are at the heart of the process.
How do you envision Garnier in the future?
Garnier is a very modern brand within the market it operates. The clear vision and understanding of market trends make our business a strategy that respects both the environment and our consumers’ needs. I am proud of the concrete commitment that we have towards the topics of sustainability and recyclability, as well as the actions we take to make this commitment a reality. Ambre Solaire aims to minimize its environmental impact by being sustainable at every step of the product life cycle and it has 100% organic filters that have an impact on the marine environment. Moreover, by 2020, we are investing to use 50% of recycled plastic for our clear bottles.
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
How does this characterize you in your work?
That quote said by Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter is my favourite sentence because I live it every day — as a product manager, I have the opportunity to make choices every day. But these decisions hold a huge responsibility. That’s the game, and I love it!
You must know how and when to say yes or no, which path to choose when you’re at a crossroad. In this job, you can learn from your mistakes and from your victories — so for me, it’s a win-win!
Tell us about your passions!
As you might have guessed, cinema is one of my biggest passions. I’m probably one of the biggest Harry Potter groupies in the world — and not only because I look like the Italian Ron Weasley! I love movies and I start each day with the same curiosity for what will happen as I do when I watch a movie. I like to be surprised by the endless possibilities, be the author of what can happen, look for novelty. In a sense, I always want to amaze the consumer, the same way Tarantino and Nolan amaze me in their films.
When I’m not working or watching a movie, I love to travel and, yes I admit it, eat! Like the true Neapolitan that I am! This is a passion that I have always shared with my father. We started this challenge, where we go from restaurant to restaurant whenever we can — but now I don’t know which one to try anymore!
And well, talking about travelling, what could I say without sounding cliché? I love it because it makes me feel alive! I like the thrill of what’s foreign and the wonder I feel every time I discover something new.
If you were inspired by Giuseppe’s story and career, you can check our opportunities in Marketing at L’Oréal right here!