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Scents & sensibility
Global fragrances group Coty’s VP of marketing, Thomas Lalague, says you cannot fool Arab consumers
July 8, 2012 4:57 by Eva Fernandes
Forty-year-old Thomas Lalague, vice–president of marketing at Coty Prestige fragrances, often travels to the Middle East. He was in Dubai last April for the launch of Chopard’s new fragrance, Enchanted, but as a rule, the region holds a very prominent place in Coty’s growth strategy. To the point that even global brand communication is sometimes designed keeping it in mind.
Coty pursues a very aggressive expansion strategy, quickly growing its portfolio of brands. How do you handle so many diverse brand identities?
Coty’s key asset is the complementarities within its portfolio. We have 18 fragrance brands in the prestige division. It’s a lot. Nevertheless, hardly any of them compete with one another. We have [established] mega brands such as Calvin Klein; brands that are the leaders of tomorrow and have the potential to grow with very different offers such as Davidoff, Chloe and Mark Jacobs; and we have ultra prestige brands such as Balanciaga or Bottega Veneta that show we are able to develop more niche and more sophisticated brands. With these different types of brands and positioning, we are also able to target very different types of customers – hopefully all customers.
How do you manage the group’s identity balance between luxury brands and brands addressing the wider public?
Nobody knows Coty. We don’t sell products as Coty, contrarily to L’Oreal which is a mass market brand that also sells luxury fragrances – but, then again, they don’t say that Armani is L’Oreal. At the end of the day, [what matters] is the consistency of the brand: I couldn’t do high-end luxury with Davidoff, the brand doesn’t stand for that the way Bottega Veneta does, just as I wouldn’t touch my public if I wanted to do something very accessible with Bottega Veneta. People are not puzzled by [our different offers] because they don’t know they all belong to the same company.
Coty is also well known for its portfolio of celebrity fragrances. How to differentiate between one celebrity product and another?
They belong to the same category, but the appeal of celebrity fragrances is how [the consumer] relates to the role model that the celebrity represents. Fans of Jennifer Lopez are not the same as the ones that follow Sarah Jessica Parker or more recently Madonna. The talent of our top management is to really pick the new brand that will probably be [the most] inspirational for [segments] of customers that we haven’t addressed yet.