Byline: CARA KAGAN
NEW YORK -- Global consistency is one of the main goals Revlon will pursue over the next few years, according to Jerry Levin, president and chief executive officer.
"We have decided that we needed to have a more consistent image world wide," he said. "We feel that it is essential in such a complicated market place. It is confusing to have Revlon looking different with different products in different places. "We also felt that it was inefficient to use separate technology, sourcing and creativity," he added.
"This is not a revolution for us, it is more of an evolution. We have been working on this for the last three years. But over the next two or three years, we will be putting more energy behind it."
As part of the company's plans for globalization, Revlon will make sure that its product lines, packaging, technology, positioning and advertising will be virtually the same worldwide. "Three years ago it was possible to come across 27 different Revlon lipsticks and several different permutations of our Flex shampoo, since each local market place developed their own versions for their country," Levin said. "This is not the case now."
According to Levin, international sales now represent 40 percent of the company's total volume. He anticipated that in two years, international sales would account for 50 percent of sales.
Last year, according to Revlon, the company's international net sales were $633.3 million, while U.S. sales were $953.8 million. "Our international group is the fastest-growing segment of the company," Levin said. "This group will be the primary beneficiary of these actions, but we feel there will be significant margin increases overall since we will eliminate redundancies." To help spur the globalization effort, Revlon recently appointed Jill Scalamandre to the new position of vice president of worldwide creative development.
Scalamandre, a 14-year Revlon veteran, most recently held the title of vice president of marketing for new business development.
"My top goal is to coordinate the product development and marketing efforts of the 125 countries where Revlon products are sold," Scalamandre said. "Basically I will be working as a catalyst to integrate everyone's ideas together worldwide." Scalamandre noted that starting this month, the company would begin holding global marketing committee meetings.
The first area of concentration will be skin care, Scalamandre said, adding that right now Revlon markets more than 10 different treatment brands in worldwide. "We are looking to find one great umbrella brand that will be distributed worldwide," she said. "It could be just a repositioning of a brand that already exists, or an entirely new one."
Scalamandre added that the company sees the same kind of opportunities in fragrance and in toiletries. To some extent, the company has already started fragrance marketing on a global level. In September, Revlon will start launching the Fire & Ice women's fragrance worldwide. A men's version will follow in November. In October, Charlie Red, a sultrier, floriental version of the 20-year-old Charlie, will be launched in the U.S.
The fragrance made its debut in the U.K. last year.
Levin noted that for the last three years, the company has been taking steps to achieve a more homogeneous image worldwide with its color cosmetics and toiletries businesses.
"We feel we have achieved global consistency with color cosmetics and that we are most of the way there in toiletries," he said.
The company also has developed global ad campaigns for its color cosmetics during the last year. "We have made the decision to be an American color cosmetics company in every country where our products are distributed, so we thought our campaigns here were relevant," Levin said. "This is the niche that we are pursuing with, of course, some flexibility.
"Clearly, that may present us with some limitations," he added. "We may forgo the leadership position in certain countries. But we feel that staying true to our image no matter where we are is the best way to achieve global success."