Coty, the US beauty company, insists on having a diverse team of partners in order to address a diverse consumer marketplace, according to its CMO.

In some ways that’s intuitively obvious, but it’s just one element of a five-step initiative to “move multicultural advertising beyond a level that is just skin deep” in nature, Ukonwa Ojo CMO/consumer beauty, told a recent conference.

“I’m one of those people who actually thinks that the agencies are part of the brand; they’re part of our strategic sections; they’re part of the team,” she said.

“If you look at the agency teams that are working on Coty brands today, whether it’s CoverGirl or any of the other brands, you’ll see a full spectrum – whether it’s Asians or Hispanic or African-Americans – working on the business.”

Nor are her efforts limited to ethnic background: “You see a variety of orientations on the business. You see a variety of different genders,” Ojo added.

“The basic philosophy is that the team that’s creating the work should reflect the community that they’re communicating to. That’s the fundamental philosophy.”

In more detail, Ojo’s “five complete steps” to create multicultural programs that not only connect with consumers but also reflect a richly diverse creative process include: knowledge; inclusion; the power of diversity; partner properly; and set a goal. (For more details, read WARC’s report: Coty’s five-step march to excellence in multicultural marketing inclusion.)

Regarding knowledge, Ojo stressed the importance of being honest with oneself: “Who have you ignored?”

For example, CoverGirl’s decisions around launching a new TruBlend Matte Made foundation product didn’t rest in the integrity of the product, as the brand stewards had the research that identified an audience and a need.

The question was volume. CoverGirl had identified 40 different shades, but it wasn’t at all clear how many of these should be included in the initial launch. With no intuitive insight and no learnings from past introductions, CoverGirl had to learn what it didn’t know.

“When you realize who it is that you’ve been forgetting,” Ojo advised, “you start thinking about them as individuals that are part of our community, people who deserve to be part of the majority and deserve to be heard.”

It’s also the kind of consumer knowledge that often doesn’t trickle down from strictly quantitative research. Rather, the Coty marketer explained, “It comes from a place of genuine empathy – from really walking in their shoes and trying to see if you have the power and resources to delight them.”

Sourced from WARC