Erica Culpepper, General Manager, Multi-Cultural Beauty, L’Oréal USA, has two things on her mind: her team and her customer. Here, Erica shares with freelancer Laura Ziv her thoughts on the importance of video conferencing, crafting relevant messaging with consumers online, and being fully stocked and ramped up on her brands’ D2C sites. And yes, she is grateful for her Peloton.
This is not business as usual. We have a new normal. Now, what are we going to do about it?
It’s still very early in the crisis and things are evolving quickly. My top work priorities are my team and our consumer. With the team, it’s about ensuring that they have what they need professionally and personally. I create a safe space to talk about the challenges we are facing, and try to proactively problem-solve together. It is mission-critical to ensure that we have a forum to keep the engagement and connection strong. If we can’t or don’t fully solve an issue, at least we operate with a different awareness and understanding.
I video conference with the team as much as possible versus conference call. Teams are hungry for it. We all need each other. It makes a huge difference to see faces, interact, build off each other’s energy. I also set up twice-weekly touch bases as a leadership team. Information is happening at a rapid pace, we need to digest and talk about it, ask questions, express concerns, work through together.
Being honest about what you are facing right now is key. For some, it is managing as working parents or taking care of elderly parents, while for others it is dealing with feelings of isolation. We need to ‘normalize’ our differences and try to adapt as much as possible.
Working from home can be hard. You can feel like you’re not doing enough either in your job or as a parent. I started off my meeting on Monday asking my team what their vulnerabilities and challenges are in this current situation. It’s okay if you’re on a work call and you hear little people in the background.
It’s okay if you’re on a work call and you hear little people in the background.
We need to be prepared from an online standpoint to support our customer’s beauty and hair care needs. That means making sure we are fully stocked and ramped up on our D2C site.
We have found that our consumers are engaging with our brands at higher numbers than ever. They have doubled engagement in our story views and content. Brands have an opportunity to create content that is contextually relevant, meeting the consumer where she is. But we need to do what we do best, which is provide beauty content and let the other platforms manage education on the crisis itself. Things are different, but our consumer is not on vacation. She still has to ‘show up’. She still wants to look her best, feel her best, be confident, ‘go to work’, and she is still looking for pick-me-ups.
We have found that our consumers are engaging with our brands at higher numbers than ever. They have doubled engagement in our story views and content. Brands have an opportunity to create content that is contextually relevant, meeting the consumer where she is.
With Carol’s Daughter and Dark & Lovely (our SoftSheen-Carson pillar brand), we have high touch, high engagement brands anyway, with consumers engaging about their hair, and looking for tips and education. Our overall approach, message and tone throughout our social platforms, brand websites, and e-commerce is, ‘We’re here for you. We support you. We are in this together. And more importantly, we will get through this together.’ We are extremely sensitive to that. We need to make sure that our messaging is not over-stylized or over-glamorized. At the same time, we are giving her an escape from life and a sense of self-care in this new reality.
I schedule a start and stop time to allow time and space to continue to have a full, productive and complete life. I journal in the morning and evening, and set my intention for the day, what I want to accomplish and what I’m thankful for. You won’t solve all the challenges in one day! I track what’s working and what’s not. Right now is really intense because things are moving and evolving so fast. We have to be prepared to take quick decisions to keep things moving and anticipate what’s coming next, so in reality we are dual and triple-pathing everything.
It’s important to make time to do things that make you happy. Monitor your intake of the news and social media. I feel my personal best and I function best when I look good. Some are happy in their pajamas and sweatshirt and that’s okay! I just am not that person. I meditate and work out with a video platform that streams content with my Peloton. We have to find whatever it is that helps us get through this difficult time.
I am an eternal optimist and always looking for the little bit of sunshine through the clouds. When you can’t control what’s happening, try to be calm and control how you respond to what’s happening. That’s where the power is and that’s where your peace and happiness lies. A favorite quote of mine is ‘When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark, look for stars.’