Coty puts digital at centre of growth strategy by tapping Anthony Rhind for Beamly

Coty's portfolio of cosmetics brands has increased considerably following its acquisition spree over the last 18 months

Coty-owned Beamly has signed agency veteran and adtech expert Anthony Rhind as chief operating officer as the beauty manufacturing giant aims to further its global footprint following last month’s acquisition of over 40 cosmetics brands from Procter & Gamble.

Coty’s economic overview

The beauty products manufacturer, which owns a host of tier-one brands including Calvin Klein, Davidoff, Marc Jacobs and Rimmel (to name a few), reported an unexpected annual revenue decline of 3% for the last quarter earlier this week.

Company leadership claimed the closure of its $11.6bn purchase of multiple brands from P&G was a “massive distraction” in recent months, a purchase that was later followed by the announcement of its agreement to acquire Good Hair Day (GHD).

Purchase trail

Revenues for the quarter ending 30 September totalled $1.08bn, amid a slump in sales figures, with this decline further compounded by integration costs spurred by its purchase trail over the last 15 months.

Included in this acquisition trail was Beamly, which it purchased in October last year for its digital content plus analytics capabilities and it was on the company’s subsequent earnings call that its leadership gave an indication how digital media would play a core role in its turnaround strategy.

How digital will play a role in Coty's turnaround?

Addressing Wall Street investors, Coty’s recently appointed chief executive Camillo Pane noted the outfit, which owns a portfolio of over 70 brands, would further its focus on digital communications, and that this would play a primary role in his next report to the market.

“Beamly is already helping us improve the social engagement of our brands through campaign optimization, social listening and deeper brand targeting,” he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

“We have significantly increased the proportion of our media spending aimed at digital, and I'm pleased with the results I've seen.”

Rhind to lead Beamly to becoming a ‘new model agency’

Rhind, who was named Digital Personality of the Year, 2015 by The Drum, began his new role as Beamly COO in late September. He is based in London, where he’ll oversee its global operations but will be a frequent visitor to Coty’s global headquarters located in New York City.

He serves alongside Beamly chief executive, and Coty chief digital and media officer Jason Forbes (see image above), with Rhind explaining to The Drum that his team was tasked with overseeing the agency’s transition towards becoming a "new model agency."

Beamly currently handles the bulk of Coty brands’ paid-for digital media buying activity, or “platform media buying” as Rhind phrases it, (although it also works with other brands), as well as providing content, creative and analytics.

“Beamly was acquired by Coty to accelerate its strategies around digitisation of communication, but around the business more broadly,” he explained to The Drum.

His view on adtech

Rhind, who joined directly from Danish adtech company Adform following a career that saw him head up digital for agencies Dentsu Aegis and Havas, made his first public appearance in the new role at last week’s ATS New York, where he took part in a panel on the development of media buying adtech.

His input saw him pass comment on the developments he saw as crucial to the development of adtech over the next 12 months, where he said that improvements in the effective tracking of mobile media “would be nice for a change”.

Rhind went on to say: “I’d also like to see people to start using dynamic creative for things other than price-optimisation in performance advertising … I’d also like to see less ads on pages, which would help everybody, and some more intelligent data strategies being deployed and strategised, as opposed to being theorised around.”

Should the term ‘programmatic’ go?

Talking about the industry buzz phrase of ‘programmatic’, he questioned the legitimacy of the use of the term, as it initially emerged to help ease concerns around the transparency of media buying on ad exchanges.

He also went on to articulate his belief that media owners and buyers should continue to work directly with one another, and use software to aid targeting as well as ease work-flow. “We probably have to get rid of the term ‘programmatic’ … good inventory, is good inventory and we can allow data to be utilized to streamline it, as simple as that.”

What do brands want from adtech?

Speaking about the rationale of advertisers use of adtech, and some of the frustrations that can arise from working with multiple third parties, he added: “If your outcome [in the employment of adtech] is something other than media buying which obviously is the case with and advertiser – as that’s just a means to an end – then clicks and impressions are just too limited a tapestry of data points.

"So really it’s about understanding what can you do with the data attached to consumer exposure [to online ads], and buying, to get better insight.”

Also contributing to the panel, Ari Paparo, chief executive of adtech outfit Beeswax, forecast that further consolidation in the adtech sector would be played out in the space, as well as “a clean up of video”, which he went on to describe as a “cess pool”, given the lack of transparency, i.e. fraud, in the open video market places at present.

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