“Our ideal of beauty has changed – and that is good“

Dr. Daniel Ibarra, Senior Vice President EAME Sales & Global Marketing
Symrise

Symrise’s Cosmetic Ingredients Division will be presenting its new marketing campaign, the story behind it – and a new brand ambassador. 
In an interview, Dr. Daniel Ibarra, Senior Vice President EAME Sales & Global Marketingat Symrise, explains the idea behind the new campaign. 

Symrise’s Cosmetics Ingredients division has a new look. Why is that? 

Beauty today is more diverse than ever. The focus is no longer on the conventional beauty ideals of the past; now, it has shifted to encompass character and values, individuality and self-assurance. Today, beauty means feeling comfortable in one’s own skin. That is precisely the starting point for the Symrise Cosmetic Ingredients division’s product concepts and solutions: They aim to serve a modern idea of beauty in all its countless facets. This is the message we want to communicate, and we are using a modern marketing concept to do this. The concept creatively communicates our specific and unique strengths: Our holistic approach to the concept of “beauty”; our ability to unite the best of nature, science and technology and harness the results to develop truly outstanding solutions for beauty and personal care. This is a concept that reflects not only our expertise, but also our identity, our philosophy and values: Protecting our planet, respect, diversity, tolerance. A sustainable lifestyle and economy. Integrity and resilience.  

Do you think the world is ready for this new idea of beauty?

It is well on the way to accepting it, and I really don’t think that this inspirational change can be halted. We consider ourselves pioneers and guides on this journey. Beauty is no longer exclusively dependent on models and idols; instead it has become an expression of individuality and how we choose to present ourselves. It has gained an incredible and also astonishing diversity. Beauty has evolved far beyond superficial perfection; more than ever, it is a question of character. The emergence of the LGBTQ movement has changed the way we see and comprehend roles and beauty. Our new approach is rooted in this altered reality. I believe that we are experiencing an evolution rather than a revolution. This is not just a fashion – it is an enduring shift towards a great and inspiring diversity.

Values obviously play a major role in your story. How do you make this claim come alive? 

That’s something we do every day. Sustainability has always been an integral part of our business model. We assume responsibility and in all our activities we consider their impact on our customers, consumers, our employees and the world we are leaving for our children.

We have a long tradition of using active ingredients from nature. One example is our production facility in the Amazon, which opened in 2015. We designed it to incorporate sustainability aspects along the entire value chain – from the procurement of raw materials to production and social commitment in the region. These are key aspects, and as such we want to go beyond just presenting them visually. Instead, as a division and as individual members of Symrise Cosmetic Ingredients, we want our vision and philosophy embodied by an authentic personality with a credible narrative who can communicate our values to the outside world.  

So where did you find this “new” face for Cosmetic Ingredients?

We hunted in many different directions, looked at many people, including models, actors, athletes and environmental activists. Finally, we came across Domitila Barros. I have rarely experienced such a unanimous decision at Cosmetic Ingredients! (laughs)
She is our perfect ambassador. We share the same values and the same understanding of modern, sustainable and responsible beauty and personal care.  

Let me tell you little bit about Domitila: she was born in 1984 in Recife, Brazil, and presently lives in Berlin. She grew up in a favela with no schools, no hospitals, not police stations, no playgrounds. In 1983, her parents set up CAMM, a project to help street children. As a young woman, Domitila became involved in the project and in 2000 received the United Nations’ Millennium Dreamer Awardin recognition of her work. She has a master’s degree in politics and social sciences and works as a consultant, actor, presenter and model. In 2017, she founded a sustainable beachwear and jewelry label called Sheisfromthejungle; 10 percent of all profits are donated to the CAMM project. Domitila is the perfect match for us, and her commitment to social causes is a constant reminder for us to examine our values and keep them strong. 

Can you tell us a little more about the communications concept behind the new campaign? 

In the past, our product categories were represented by different models. For the new campaign, though, we deliberately chose a single model, a model who is very versatile and highly recognizable. 
 
Faced with a growing number of products and advertising messages in Cosmetic Ingredients, we decided to communicate to the market that despite the complexity and the many different product categories, they all belong to one family, namely Cosmetic Ingredients. This was a key consideration when we were looking for our ambassador. The new “face” had to comply with the requirements of our new branding concept in terms of both looks and presentation. Domitila ticks every single box – she is perfect for us. But rather than me trying to explain, I’ll let the images that embody the new image of Cosmetic Ingredients speak for themselves.

Domitila is also an influencer with nearly 80,000 followers... Does this mean that you intend to step out of the B2B world and communicate more with consumers in future?

Absolutely! Just look at where communication is heading in terms of technology and content. Businesses simply cannot afford to ignore this development. Our goal is to go beyond exclusively communicating with the B2B sector; we also want to make consumers aware of us and our values.

Although we do not offer consumer-ready products, we want consumers to perceive us – through our ambassador – as an important and sustainable supplier of key ingredients for the products they use.      

It’s unusual for an individual division to have its very own branding. What’s the story behind this?

The Symrise divisions – scents and flavors, cosmetic raw materials and active ingredients, functional ingredients and nutrition solutions – offer very specific services for very specific target groups, all with their own aesthetics and messages. Naturally, the Symrise brand umbrella always ranks highest in terms of importance, but within this framework we are relatively free to design and project an identity that is unique and recognizable in our market.

What do you hope to achieve with the new visuals? 

We want to communicate our strengths even more effectively with a distinctive look, to boost our authenticity by using a strong ambassador. And above all, we want to be an inspiration for the industry – in keeping with our brand claim “always inspiring more.”  

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