La Roche-Posay, Vichy, SkinCeuticals, CeraVe and the DermaClub platform are the brands of L’Oréal Cosmética Ativa committed today to democratizing access to dermatology, in addition to fighting to banish the stigmas linked to skin diseases, which they still insist on leaving deep scars on people’s self-esteem. Beauty and health are the themes of the conversation that PROPMARK had with Roberta Sant’anna, director of L’Oréal Cosmética Ativa. The executive also spoke about the growing investment in digitization and omnichannel to reach 50% of sales in e-commerce.
How do you intend to democratize access to dermatology in the country?
L’Oréal Cosmética Ativa inaugurated the dermocosmetic market in the country in the 2000s, using its strength to raise awareness about the importance of health allied to beauty and promote preventive and corrective care, in addition to breaking with aesthetic standards, bringing more information for the population, representativeness, diversity and inclusion. We have complementary dermatological brands that occupy leading positions such as La Roche-Posay, Vichy, SkinCeuticals, CeraVe and the Dermaclub platform, which offers the best digital experience in skin and hair health care. We are the biggest partners in dermatology in Brazil. One of our main fronts is social protagonism. We work to transform lives through projects such as the Skin Cancer Fight Tour, held in partnership with the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD). In the last decade, we have served 22 thousand people and performed more than two thousand skin cancer diagnoses. For 2022, we will accelerate this process with the implementation of telemedicine technology, which will be a great legacy for the project.
What are the main taboos of skin diseases?
Currently, two billion people suffer from skin problems worldwide. This number is staggering and largely unknown. Studies show that skin problems can affect quality of life, well-being, self-esteem and social interactions. I am proud to be the spokesperson in Brazil of the campaign Much more than skin, launched this year by La Roche-Posay with the objective of raising awareness about the physical and mental impacts caused by skin diseases. Many people still believe that diseases such as acne, atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions are contagious or the result of a lack of hygiene habits. There is still bullying around issues like blackheads and pimples, which are so common and can impact emotionally, routine and quality of life. Lack of sleep, low self-confidence, anxiety and social phobia are some of the impacts. Another factor related to severe acne is the physical pain caused by pimple inflammation. And many people are judged, not just on how they look, but also on the scars that are left on their faces. And that’s why we’re here, to promote positive and necessary change, reinforcing the message of how awareness and skin health care transforms lives. Everyone has a role to play in this fight for a better life.
How to deal with issues involving inclusion?
The more diverse the team, the more we develop as people, human beings and a team. I try to promote conversations that help deconstruct taboos and use my leadership to apply what I really believe. And this involves expanding diversity and inclusion both in the corporate environment and beyond. We invest in recruitment practices that are more human, inclusive, agile and connected to needs and, thus, we are able to bring profiles that are not only more diverse, but that will also bring more creativity, innovation and collaboration to the teams. To fulfill this mission, diversity needs to be reflected in our teams. We need to have teams with people from different backgrounds, personalities and genders.
What difficulties did you face until reaching the position you occupy today?
Being a female leader is challenging in principle. You must have the ability to multitask and have a transversal view of personal life and business. Often women’s actions are judged. If we show too much strength, we give the image of being authoritarian. If we demonstrate our vulnerabilities, we can be considered weak. Throughout my career, I shared many fears that I still perceive in other women today, such as not knowing how the company would react to a pregnancy or, even, how I could conquer my space in an environment in which I still there were few women in the lead. That’s why my coming to L’Oréal was so important. I was hired pregnant with my first child, and two years later, with my second child, I was promoted. This is a very strong message for the corporate world. I am very proud to be L’Oréal and the vision we share related to women’s empowerment. Here, we have a very balanced leadership in relation to gender. More than half of our leadership roles are held by women. In Brazil, we have 53% women in the leadership and 64% in our workforce.
Is female empowerment speech or real concern?
Diversity must be seen as a strategic priority. In recent years, there has been a growing appreciation of female leadership within L’Oréal with a succession plan considering female profiles for key positions and training plan. This year, I developed an unprecedented partnership with the Toda Group, a digital platform for women’s professional impulse, which combines neuroscience with the practice of real life as a proprietary methodology. I was honored to be the first executive leader in the country to sign a partnership to grant full and free access to 500 L’Oréal employees to the platform.
What guidelines do you leave for girls to pursue their careers?
Just knowing where we want to go makes it easier for us to chart our path. Don’t expect someone to define for you what your next step will be. Know where you want to go and pursue that goal. It’s completely natural to feel butterflies in your stomach in certain situations. Moments of fear and insecurity can be used to give us more strength. And, of course, I always remember the importance of valuing the journey. She is more important than the final destination. If we reach the end of this journey tired, without having enjoyed it, without having celebrated, in the end, we will look and think: “What was all this for?”. That’s why I always say: enjoy every moment and step of building who you will be tomorrow. After all, you are the CEO of your life.
What is beauty to you?
Beauty is a force that moves the world and is closely linked to health. I believe that health is the future of beauty.
What are the priority media and communication partners?
We have many involved in different areas related to communication, public relations, media and advertising. Among them, I highlight FSB Comunicação, responsible for the press office of the L’Oréal group in Brazil, and the companies Nova Comunicação, Mynd8 and Samy Road, which operate mainly in actions related to marketing of influence of L’Oréal Cosmética Ativa, while Dojo supports us in the media and advertising. We are increasingly investing in digitalization and omnichanneling, integrating important channels and platforms to increase proximity to consumers and promote dermatology, offering secure information, entertainment options, emotional support and customized content. The digital transformation, which was already part of the strategy even before the pandemic, has been accelerated in the last two years. The L’Oréal Group wants to become the biggest beauty tech in the world, reaching 50% of sales in ecommerce.
How has brand communication been evolving?
Communication is fundamental to our sustainable growth and it reflects our strategic pillars: people, sustainability, technology and innovation. Each brand in the division has its own positioning. More than just promoting products, we want to raise awareness about the importance of dermatology. Valuing plurality is also essential to combat prejudice and break unattainable aesthetic standards. Plurality is the way to build an even more disruptive and innovative company. We work to bring more and more representation in our internal and external initiatives.
What does the company do to help preserve the environment?
Through the L’Oréal Para o Futuro program, we have impact reduction targets until 2030. The sustainable development strategy is built on three pillars: transforming business while respecting planetary boundaries, empowering our ecosystem, and contributing to society’s challenges. We already work with 100% renewable electricity from wind sources in all units in partnership with Engie. By 2025, the group is committed to being carbon neutral in all its facilities. We will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to the transportation of our products by 50%, on average and per final product, compared to 2016. By 2030, 95% of the ingredients we use will come from renewable vegetable sources or abundant minerals and, of these, 100% will be from sustainable sources. In addition, 100% of the plastics used in product packaging will come from recycled or renewable sources.