For more than 40 years, BENlabs has been proud to work and collaborate with many brands in the television and film industry to bring them to life on screen through the power of popular entertainment. Recently, BENlabs’ Senior Director, Client Development Leslie Cohen connected with Anthony Pietrini, Head Of Marketing at Schick Edgewell Personal Care, to discuss how his team was able to successfully market his category in hair removal as the #1 selling personal care product on Amazon during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
What was the aha moment for you in terms of dermaplaning?
This goes back 7 years or so. I was in an innovation role at the time, and knew how important beauty was to our consumer. I was researching skin care trends and I sat down with a dermatologist and asked, “what’s going on in your world?” She told me a lot of women were beginning to come in for this new treatment called dermaplaning. She explained the process, and it really piqued my interest! No brands were doing it well at the time! I immediately started to think which of my brands under the portfolio could align with this process and credibly deliver this! That was my first aha moment– the dermatologist telling me dermaplaning was even a trend.
How did you leverage an entertainment strategy to talk to consumers and how do you keep authenticity at the core of your approach?
I try to think through how we are going to make a consumer’s life better, what makes them tick, and what is the motivation as to why they do things. I worked with our consumer communications agency; we had a heart to heart on how consumer’s lives had changed at the time. During Covid most people were wearing masks so a lot of women’s perception of beauty changed. Lips were no longer the center point of your face and we were introduced to an idea called “brow talk.” What that conversation turned into was an influencer content campaign that educated women on how to communicate using their eyebrows. We saw a ton of consumer engagement there! It was executed across most of our social channels, and within 6-8 months we became the #1 selling beauty product on Amazon.
How do you lead in a digital first/ virtual world that we’re in?
It comes down to establishing common goals and creating a sense of trust. I have full trust in my team. I try to set clear expectations and let them have input. What I’ve also done is treat everyone the same whether remote or in person. When something goes wrong or well, I address them with the appropriate level of feedback. I say what needs to be said but in a kind way that’s constructive, and I think that’s benefited us as a team. Lastly, I take their feedback very seriously and try to be responsive to it. My team is empowered to do things their own way. I’m more focused on outcomes/results and I will engage with them as much as need be to get there.
Which leaders have impacted you, and what is the biggest lesson you’ve taken from other leaders?
My first leader was very instrumental teaching me to become a more polished, professional version of myself, while not losing my personality. The biggest thing I took from him is how to simplify the complex. To understand the big picture and really focus on what you’re trying to do as a company. The second lesson is a famous quote by Maya Angelou: “people won’t remember what you said, what you did, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.” People don’t buy on function, they buy on emotion. I try to keep that in mind when thinking about my consumer strategy. How can I make people feel a certain way?
Did you ever have doubts about being in the women’s beauty brand space?
There will always be a bit of doubt when outside of your comfort zone, but, whether I’m marketing to men, women, babies, moms, I take the same approach to understand the consumer group and what makes them tick. My biggest focus is on understanding my consumer. I watched and admired some of my past leaders do it and paid close attention to how they interacted with things, and marketed to consumers where they were not specifically the audience. I pay close attention to my consumer– I’ll spend my time watching Tik Tok videos, browsing through female focused websites, studying consumer feedback, research, ethnographies, etc, and that’s been a huge help. I have a lot of women on my team and I listen to them. I encourage them to respectfully challenge me, and I take their feedback seriously.