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A New Breed of BFF

Posted on August 5, 2014

Most of us have wonderful people in our lives who will tell us we look fabulous, even when we’re not feeling “all that.” Then there are those special friends who will be brutally honest about what they think of your new haircut, even when we didn’t ask their opinion. But where do you turn when you want an honest opinion about which lipstick complements your skin tone; which acne medicine is ideal for mature skin; or which eye cream is right for you? Sure, you can go to a department store and get the high-pressure sales approach, or reach out to a rep from a multilevel marketing beauty organization that will pressure you to start selling products yourself — but those options are not appealing to many of us. Brand Connections has built an army of people to turn to for health and beauty advice, who you can count on to be there when you need them for recommendations, and to help you navigate the ever-growing complexity of the H&B department at your favorite retail store.

Depending on the retailer, we call these wonderful resources Beauty Concierges, Beauty Advisors or Beauty Consultants. These highly trained individuals are some of the most educated, well-rounded resources in the aisles today, as each receives the equivalent of 12 college credit hours of training during their first year alone! We place these team members in high-traffic stores, during the busiest times of the week, to provide support to shoppers, customers and guests as they make the best choices to meet their health and beauty needs. Many are armed with technology, whether it be tablet or kiosk-based, to help guide their recommendations and empower shoppers with the knowledge they need to make informed choices.

As massive an undertaking as this was (imagine creating a training program to teach BCs/BAs about over 3,000 products in a typical health and beauty department), what I’m most proud of is the creation of a career-path for hundreds and hundreds of BCs/BAs that might otherwise not have had such an opportunity. Many of our BCs/BAs have traditional retail backgrounds, where they oftentimes struggled to make ends meet on part-time, minimum wage incomes. One of my first jobs as a teenager was working at Sears, first roaming the aisles to get customers to fill out an application for the Discover Card (which at the time was the only credit card, besides the Sears store card, that Sears accepted. Imagine that in today’s world!), then working in the men’s department. I view these two experiences as my launching pad, providing me with a wonderful foundation in both sales and customer service that has served me well in my career. I’m proud and humbled to be leading the team that has built a career path for so many hard-working, dedicated people who have also used their retail experience as a launching pad into a career that provides the compensation, benefits and career growth potential available to our Beauty Concierges, Beauty Consultants and Beauty Advisors.

Sherry Orel is the CEO of Brand Connections, an independent global media and marketing company that specializes in Making Marketing Easier for Marketers™, providing tailored solutions that link critical marketing disciplines to help marketers connect the dots to deliver a better business outcome. She has 25 years experience in working with Fortune 500 brands develop strategic, multi-channel solutions, integrating disciplines from out-of-home, digital, mobile, social, promotion, sponsorship, experiential, CRM and retail activation.

Posted in Marketing