BEAUTY MAKERS : Meet Konstantinos Vernezos, category expert for Garnier

Konstantinos joined L’Oréal after competing in the Group’s international innovation competition Brandstorm, 3 years in, he shares what he has learned about L’Oréal, himself and grooming…


What does your current role involve?

It is hard to summarise as there are a lot of different aspects to it, but being a Category Expert for Garnier is primarily about orchestrating the teams in countries to ensure a consistent level of marketing excellence throughout the zone. I am at the crossroads between the European countries  I oversee, the International Supply Team, the International Marketing Team and the Zone Directors. I receive information from all these stakeholders and then it is up to me to make sure that the right information gets to the right people to ensure that the teams can perform to the best of their ability. From an operational point of view, that can be a challenge, but to really ensure optimum performance, I need convey the brand DNA to the countries, to instil in them the drive to make things happen and be the best they can be. I really enjoy being at Head Office because it gives me the opportunity to share with the teams at an international level. I help the countries with their plans, with their launches, with optimizing timing, processes and communication. And of course I work with directors and present to countries or to top management in important presentations throughout the year, and I think that is in a very general description!

What do you feel are the particular challenges that you encounter?

It is all a question of relationships: I deal with many teams in many countries and it is tough to build personal relationships, good, strong relationship with them, in order to help them achieve their targets. I think this is the biggest challenge, to get to know every market, every team, and show them, prove to them that you can give them added value and gain their trust at the end of the day.

Let us go back to before you joined the company. What were your impressions of L’Oréal?

I didn’t know that the Group was so big or that all the brands in the Group belonged to L’Oréal. I was really only aware of L’Oréal Paris and L’Oréal Professionnel, I didn’t know that Giorgio Armani Beauty or even brands such as La Roche-Posay were also part of the portfolio. The second thing is that I thought that L’Oréal and bodycare in general were mainly the domain of women.

So what inspired you to join the Group back in 2012?

A lot of things inspired me. Firstly the size of the group and the fact that it is the world’s leading beauty company. Secondly the international career perspectives the company can give you: L’Oréal is almost everywhere so if you want to experience different countries and cultures you can. In fact the Group encourages it. Thirdly it was the people: I had met so many inspiring and motivating people who worked at L’Oréal. I really had the feeling that there was an entrepreneur spirit within the company, and I can confirm that now. It’s really important that when you work, you feel that you are working for your own company.

Can you describe your career path so far?

It is a bit short for the moment, because I joined the Group in September 2012! But since then I’ve already moved from Athens to Paris and having that international experience so fast has been amazing. It all started with an internship in Garnier Skincare and Digital at L’Oréal Greece. I joined after taking part in the Group’s international business competition Brandstorm. Three months later I became a Marketing Trainee. A year after that the Group entrusted me with more responsibility by making me an Assistant Product Manager. It was a great period for me because I was responsible for Garnier Skincare and Digital, reporting directly to a Marking Director for Consumer Products. I joined the Europe Zone, here in Paris, in January 2015. So it was almost two years in Greece and now one year in Paris.

If you had to pick one really memorable project from your career, what would it be?

I would have to say my first big project, which was the launch of Miracle Skin Cream in Greece. Obviously it was really important for me and I really enjoyed the fact that I had to motivate people, the sales force and inspire my team. I participated in influencer events in order to convince all these people about the superiority of the product. We based our campaign on consumer insights from past research and Q&As we had done on skincare, so we created a plan that was really tailor-made to the Greek consumer and I really enjoyed identifying the specific aspects that I needed to work on and promote. As it was my first project, there was a bit of stress regarding timing and in the beginning I wasn’t sure how we would do it but in the end it was really rewarding to see everything come together. Especially when the results speak for themselves because we had the best results in Europe for the launch.

Would you say your grooming habits have changed since you joined the company?

I have to say I do use more moisturizer than I did before! And working for a suncare and haircare brand, I have the opportunity to use a lot of different products for my hair and to protect my skin from the sun. I haven’t touched the shaving foams (as you can see, that’s pretty obvious!) but I have started experimenting with different products.

Do you have a top grooming tip?

No, not really. What I do is what I feel — just don’t be old-fashioned!