Friday, July 13, 2007

A Beautiful Success

The last time I was in Paris I was invited to the headquarters of Clarins. Clarins is a billion dollar, family-owned company with around 6,000 employees across 150 countries. This is one of France’s greatest stories; how 50 years ago Jacques Courtin-Clarins created a company that now has 24% of its category in France and 30% in the UK.

Jacques died a couple of weeks ago which was traumatizing for this family company. My invitation to their headquarters had come from Jacques' eldest son, Christian, who leads Clarins today. Christian and I spent two hours together. Our conversation started with his admiration for the All Blacks and then moved on to his early journey into sustainability in Amazonia in 1985, his work for the oppressed through Soeur Emmanuelle and his dreams for Clarins. Christian is well over 6 ft., an ex-rugby player, and a man’s man with a beautiful feel for the mystery, sensuality and intimacy of beauty. Clarins products are particularly revered by the ageless French woman who, with Clarin’s help, continues to look and feel younger every day.

Christian, who was very close to his father, is obviously reeling following his death. Nevertheless, he was fascinating company and an exquisite host. Clarins is a brand that is irresistible to many and is certainly a Lovemark, a fact supported by Tânia from Portugal who wrote on “Par amour Clarins”.

In fact, the reason Christian and I met was because he had read Lovemarks and followed up by sending a copy of the book to every member of his company. Lovemarks and love hearts were scattered throughout his conference room as we talked about new media, new in-store experiences, new consumer led packaging design and the future of beauty. To complete the picture, Christian rocked up to the meeting on a big 500c motorbike. A beautiful success indeed.


Susan956 said...

If it was a Harley, I am in love...

One of the songs I learned as a teen was the Harley version of the Joplin song "Mercesed Benz". I learned it from the US biker magazine Easy Rider. So, again, I would have liked the bike touch.

Nice story today. The companion image reminds me of how artistic cosmetic advertising has become at times; the use of face art designs et al.

I like the use of the Lovemarks you're offering for the reason that I'd hate to see them static once offered. I believe there is considerable room to employ (in the broader sense) what people have offered.

I would welcome feedback re nominated brandables that aren't accepted though. You just don't get told. Maybe I should be persistent and try again :)

The following is complete off topic however this is so much fun, I think it worth sharing. Take a look at the Japanese, "why my girlfriend is mad" piece of theatre. Great stuff from a group of young people:

CONSUL said...

Kevin`s blog readers might also be interested in the fact that Clarins co-created in 1989 the ARP (Association for Polyarthritis Research.

Nowadays it has become a very important international organisation widely supported by Clarins and many other institutions.

The disease affects 1% of the global population (mainly woman)and thanks to the charitable support of Clarins, bankers,suppliers, et al,tangible hope exists to conquer polyarthritis soon now.

Susan956 said...

Excellent point Consul. I've long been interested in both philanthropy as undertaken by business and the support of medical research et al. I believe there are many quiet achievers in this group.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

As per what Consul mentioned, it's great to see that large corporations such as Clarins and Unilever (Dove) are establishing their power for the "greater good". There are so many issues in the world that require help and motivation to conquer, yet so little channels through which these requests for help are voiced.

The Clarins family has been doing a wonderful job of creating a well respected and loved brand worldwide. It's also interesting how Christian, a "man's man" with great charisma, sees the future successes of a company in women's cosmetics.

Best of luck to him!

Susan956 said...

Piotr.. This is an adjunct statement and NOT intended to offend any female readers but I must say that over the years it's men in workplaces who I have seen come to the defence of women having problems (with other men) and not female colleagues.

I believe many men have a more natural sympatico to women than is discussed contemporarily and I suspect Christian would maintain a wonderful umbrella view.

I was thinking of the image again that Kevin (or someone) chose for the piece. It's an elegant and yet jazzy design however it's presence reminded me of an ancient Chinese saying that suggests a flaw or 'mar' makes greater statements about the overall beauty of a person. I think that often true. At least I believe the beauty is more able to be connected to and internalised.