Interview with Vanessa de Silva: no day is the same as a Head of Communications
At Carter Murray, we support the recruitment of marketing and sales professionals across the full marketing spectrum.
Our own Anna Eickhoff sources marketing and sales professionals within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), retail and wholesale sectors and within professional services.
In her latest industry leader interview, Anna sat down with Vanessa de Silva – Head of Communications at Caudalie, the well-known French skincare company that specialises in products for face, body and hair.
What are your responsibilities as Head of Communications at Caudalie?
I am responsible for all communications for Germany and Austria at Caudalie. This includes PR, influencer marketing, media and brand collaborations as well as CEO positioning.
I create a holistic communication strategy and report to the management and the communication team in our global headquarter in Paris. It’s about making Caudalie, our products and our philosophy visible in media to key opinion leaders and to the public.
What has your career been like up to this point? What has your development been like?
My first contact with the communications industry was during my studies when I worked as a student trainee in PR at L’Oréal – where I met Anna!
I realised early on that I saw myself pursuing work in this field, so I gained further experience through internships.
After graduation, I started in PR in the classic way via a trainee programme. Initially, I spent five years on the agency side at Ketchum Pleon and at HaebMau. From there, I was brought to Caudalie. The agency know-how was a very good basis for the work on the corporate side – that’s how you can combine the best of both worlds.
So what do you love most about your job?
The variety. No day is the same as it’s not a classic office job – you travel a lot to maintain and expand your network.
It’s also a very dynamic job. The fields of influencer and social media alone change so quickly in such a short time that you have to constantly question the status quo and deal with new platforms, functions and possibilities.
Since I started ten years ago, the scope of tasks in communication has completely changed and expanded.
What qualities do marketing/communications profiles need to be successful in the long run?
Passion, openness and creativity.
What are your greatest challenges?
On the one hand, the rapidly changing media landscape. Publishers are struggling, circulations are falling and print is having a hard time, so you have to react to this and pitch strong stories that offer added value.
On the other hand, digital has developed significantly in a very short time and gained importance. Influencer marketing has become more and more professional as a strategic marketing tool.
It is a challenge to find perfectly matching partners from the mass of creators and to build long-term collaborations that are also successfully reflected in the key performance indicators (KPI). It will also be interesting to see how the industry develops through AI, Web 3.0, etc.
What trends/changes in the beauty industry are you currently observing?
The influence of TikTok in the last two years is enormous. Here you can see what measurable influence viral videos can have. Some (sometimes believed “dead”) products experience a hype that is reflected in Google search queries, sales and also in their own follower growth.
Skin, dermatological and doctor influencers in the skincare sector have become strong multipliers thanks to their expertise, as they have extremely high credibility even among critical communities.
Finally, what tips and advice can you give to communications managers based on your experience?
Consider communication also in the sense of self-PR. Social media offers the opportunity to drive a brand forward and make it more accessible through successful personal branding.
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