5 Questions with Coty Global Digital VP Kristen D’Arcy

This article originally appeared on brandchannel. 

Global beauty products manufacturer Coty boasts a large portfolio of brands and is responsible for some of the world’s strongest consumer franchises including OPI, Marc Jacobs, Philosophy and Rimmel. With over a century in the business, Coty has become a top name in beauty, housing over 47 brands across 40 countries.

Earlier this month, Coty relaunched its public website and corporate intranet—now called “The House”—with a fresh look highlighting the company’s creativity showcasing innovation, leadership and collaboration.

The new Coty.com reflects a heavy emphasis on editorial and imagery and aims to show visitors new and relevant content that better reflects the company culture and user interests.

brandchannel contributor Brittany Waterson spoke with Kristen D’Arcy, Vice President of Global Digital for Coty (and one of Ad Age’top digital marketers of 2014), on the beauty conglomerate’s digital strategy, the internal and external web moves, and creating a seamless omnichannel brand experience.

brandchannel: Kristen, what are your thoughts on content strategy and brands, like Coty, as publishers? 

Kristen D’Arcy: The storytelling abilities for brands using digital as a platform are both numerous and beneficial. Consumers who want to connect with brands can do so in a deeper, more engaging two-way manner via digital versus other, more passive mediums.

That said, brands as publishers are authentic when they deliver on the needs and expectations of their audiences. With prestige brands, consumers want a glimpse behind the scenes to understand the quality, craftsmanship and inspiration underlying a product or campaign. Acting as a publisher in that manner is something unique to the brand and can’t be duplicated from the outside.

However, authenticity is important, and in an age where digital has democratized communications, it’s important that we think of ways to strike the right balance between brand storytelling and consumer amplification with the ability to make the story their own in the online world.

Our site is editorially-driven, showcasing the breadth of creativity happening across Coty, but we provide links to our brand sites and social media channels to drive that further engagement.

brandchannel: How does the content strategy mesh the internal (intranet) and external (the new Coty.com) together?

D’Arcy: The content for both Coty.com and the House are geared around three major themes or conversation steams—creative collaboration; creative innovation, and creative culture and leadership. We approached our original content with these topics in mind, always looking for untold stories within our organization.

It’s amazing how much content we found; we just needed to ask! In the past, there was very little original content being created with an editorial eye for broader Coty Inc. purposes. The goal is to give our users, both internally and externally, a glimpse into the world of Coty and showcase not only our award-winning portfolio of brands but also our amazing people around the world.

Both Coty.com and the House provide an opportunity for us to become more connected with one other.

brandchannel: What features/functionality was added to make the corporate intranet a real destination? What significance does the name “The House” have?

D’Arcy: We wanted to create a digital house that welcomes our 9,000 employees and helps them feel connected—though they may be working on opposite ends of the world. We included the Leader’s Lounge, where senior executives can communicate with all of our employees, which is just one feature that we hope will drive an enhanced connection to our leadership team.

Spotlights on employees showcase the human side of the great work across areas of expertise within our Coty family. Corporate and industry partners across our product categories are highlighted to inspire our employees with creativity happening outside of their brands or immediate area of discipline.

If the intranet is meant to inspire, we thought the name should follow suit. At the start of the project, we knew we needed to breathe new life into our intranet while also branding this site and its functions. We needed to give it a name, and the House is a play on the term typically used for fashion brands. This is our House of Coty.

brandchannel: What new features/functionality was added to increase the value and engagement of the new Coty.com? And why is mobile an important channel for Coty?

D’Arcy: The challenge with all website redesigns is to strike the right balance between functionality and experience—which is exactly what we did with the new site. We made navigation simple and clear while serving up new, relevant content on each page without “dead ends,” which makes digital so interesting when it comes to its storytelling capabilities. The content helps drive the experience or engagement with Coty overall.

We included a search field to easily direct visitors to specific content should they be the more functional user. We also have a new, straightforward navigation but one that draws visitors in by teasing content that’s found in a selected section of the site. So we’ve struck that perfect balance. Overall, it’s an entirely new, best-in-class editorially driven website.

Also new is that we’re now mobile-optimized, so we have the ability to showcase the breadth of activity happening across Coty with flexible content modules, perfect for articles, videos and photography alike no matter what device the visitor is using. Mobile is where much of our audience lives and how they access content, so we want to ensure we deliver an experience that satisfies their expectations of a seamless mobile experience with Coty.

brandchannel: How do you make a seamless digital experience in terms of the corporate website, social media and e-commerce?

The tone of voice and the look of the content are key—and that needs to remain consistent across the corporate site, the House and, of course, our social media channels. Each channel has its own role within our digital ecosystem, but as long as the footprint is the same regardless of the channel, we’ve succeeded in creating that seamless experience.

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