Grace Ray, CEO of Milani Cosmetics, pointed to her new executive’s experience to help further drive Milani’s growth. That experience also includes senior leadership positions at L'Oréal Paris, Johnson & Johnson and The Estée Lauder Companies.
Soon after her appointment was effective in late October, Happi checked in with Wang about her new role and goals for the brand.
HAPPI:What has you most excited about taking on this new role at Milani?
Wang: I love the process of unlocking a brand’s personality and then connecting it to the right audience. It’s tremendously exciting to be tasked with exactly that as the brand’s first CMO. Milani has an amazing brand story to tell about dedication to artistry and craftsmanship, and how that enables you to express your individuality.
HAPPI:What do you see as the core strengths of the line currently?
Wang: This is a brand that already has a high degree of organic traction from consumers discovering its luxurious product quality at surprisingly affordable prices. There is a tremendous opportunity to amplify that process of consumer discovery and take Milani’s growth to the next level. I believe Milani has great potential to resonate with a diverse range of consumers as their next must-have cosmetics brand
HAPPI:How is the “masstige” segment of the beauty space different now than it was just a few years ago? What challenges are out there?
Wang: Consumers are becoming more channel agnostic, and respond more to a brand’s digital positioning versus its channel of sale. Similarly, their expectations of quality have shifted. They no longer believe it’s necessary to lower their expectations when it comes to products sold at a drugstore or mass retailer. They expect rapid, on-trend innovation inspired by what they see on social media. Milani is well-poised to meet this expectation, while also delivering uncompromising quality to the consumer.
HAPPI:One of your areas of expertise is tapping into Millennials’ marketplace. Do you see this group as a core customer base for Milani?
Wang: Milani is already resonating well with Millennials and there is opportunity is to amplify that. When I look at brands that are relevant today, I think they are brands that are tapping into key cultural moments and telling relevant brand stories. Millennial consumers are buying into a brand story, promise, aesthetic and identity and the tasks and the focus with Milani is to amplify and sharpen that aspect
HAPPI:What role will digital and social play in the brand’s marketing strategy moving forward?
Wang: Digital and social will be central to Milani’s marketing strategy going forward, but at this point, those should be the building blocks for any beauty brand. The key is understanding and coordinating an integrated momentum among all aspects of the marketing mix from product launch timing, compelling content, influencer relationships and social. Fundamentally, it will always come back first and foremost to ensuring the relevancy of your brand story.