Global Espoir Cosmetics is approaching the company’s 50th Anniversary (a year out)

50th affords Espoir the opportunity to launch a global brand strategy – new CMO was hired in part because CEO Ed Johnson) wants a more cohesive brand strategy / more cohesive “global” brand identity by coordinating local strategies.

New CMO sees a “global” tie-in with the new movie Diana’s She Devils II as a prime vehicle to “do something splashy” in advance of 50th Anniversary + DSD II cast “diversity” has potential to deliver geographic appeal. CMO idea: develop new color palette for each star, and promote new palette(s) as a summer line + direct global tie-in/sponsorship of DSD II release in each country/region.  CEO: “If I were you, I would check with the regions before going any further.


 CMO is new, and you get a feeling that Ms. Singh’s position is new … not only for her, but for Espoir. So, here’s the question: while she may have the CMO title, does she have both the responsibility and authority to drive “global” marketing initiatives across the Espoir global enterprise. Additionally, it appears that doing the “heavy lifting” and the due diligence that is required for an initiative of this scope and scale is in Ms. Singh’s wheelhouse. And, the politics surrounding the Key Issue… the internal political landscape sets up some real challenges for both Ms. Singh and Espoir to move things forward.


#1 There is NO strategy: this (50th Anniversary Campaign and/or DSD II movie sponsorship) initiative is nothing but a one-off, tactical execution in search of a strategy. On a 1-10 scale (with 10 being highest) for “Danger, Will Robinson … Danger”, Ms. Singh’s current plan is about a “23” – there is no strategy; the is no sustainability/long-term play; and she has no clue as to what is involved in terms of pulling together and pulling off a global campaign initiative inside the Espoir organization. Even the CEO is questioning, “Who will take responsibility for the success of the anniversary line after its launch? … You?”.

#2 Budget: Espoir Cosmetics seems to be managed on a very decentralized, regional basis, so CMO will have to go out in the regions to churn up funding for the “global” sponsorship/tie-in of DSD II. CEO tells Singh that in light of the recession, he may need to cut back on marketing budgets/funding.

 #3: Global Campaign Uptake … this is coming across as a “top down” corporate initiative vs. a collaborative, “locked arms” built from the ground up approach. And as a result, there is open and considerable push-back.


Pass on the DSD II tie-in/sponsorship … (1) no clue as to how much Supreme Studios is “asking” for the sponsorship rights; (2) no business objectives, plan, budget, ROI; (3) no product pipeline planning … pricing, SKUs, supply chain, logistics & distribution, etc. (4) no understanding of in-market/country campaign “activation” costs; and (5) Espoir as an organization is not prepared to undertake an integrated brand campaign. To quote College HOF basketball coach John Wooden, “failure to prepare is preparing to fail”.

Allow each region to develop and implement a 50th Anniversary program … Espoir currently operates on a decentralized basis, and the CEO does not want to discourage innovation, and, the current management structure is far more attuned to local market/consumer dynamics than corporate at this point in time

Develop a Global  strategic brand platform for Espoir that has the “consent of the governed” … get all of the “players” and “stakeholders” together and hammer out a strategic brand architecture and framework (values, equities, personality, relevance, culture, “promise”, etc.) that can be implemented globally with minimal alteration to the core. Use the global strategic platform as the metric against which all product initiatives/innovations and marketing communications efforts will measured.



Develop a global strategic brand platform for Espoir Cosmetics …  first things first, develop a long-term, strategic master brand (not product, brand) platform that has buy-in from the CEO on down through the entire Espoir organization. And critical to this effort will be Ed Johnson (Espoir’s CEO) ability to articulate Espoir’s mission and vision, as these two components serve as the “North Star” for Espoir as well as the foundation for Espoir’s brand promise.

Given the diversity of the Espoir organization, a centralized, top-down dictate will not work. What needs to be developed is a “framework” that is anchored by product/innovation, consumer experience/relevance, and the “brand promise. And, the regions need to be given “freedom within the framework” to build the brand, gain market share, and achieve local relevance. The key metric for any initiative, be it new product launches, promotional campaigns or retail channel management needs to be: is this on brand?  The brand, and the equities that are associated with Espoir, become a key driver.

The development of the Espoir brand framework needs to be a collaborative effort, with active regional representation involved in every stage of development. The specific language that surrounds each “pillar” of the framework must be mutually, and collaboratively aligned at both the corporate and regional levels. And it would probably be a good idea to develop a set of visual guidelines (i.e. product placement, typeface, talent, photography, etc.) along with a set up strategic guidelines (brand promise, tone/voice, communication apertures, etc.) to ensure there is not only global brand consistency, but an understanding of how to implement the “framework” on a regional and/or local basis.  And, global campaign opportunities, e.g. DISD II, must be vetted against not only the initiative’s ability to advance the Espoir brand promise, but to ensure the idea can be activated within the “framework”.

The CEO, along with Ms. Singh need to convene a “global” brand planning conference that has two objectives: (1) collaboratively establish the global brand foundation and promise for Espoir that will drive the “framework”;

identify 50th Anniversary campaign options, the “framework” of which that can be tested across the regions to identify those that not only resonate with both retail trade and consumer audiences, but provide sufficient “freedom within the framework” to ensure local uptake of the 50th Anniversary campaign.


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