Cristina Scocchia is clear that her position as KIKO Milano’s CEO is about providing a strategic vision with a well-defined path for its employees to reach the company’s ambition.
“It’s about inspiring and enabling the organisation to achieve the goals that will make the company prosper,” she says.
“My role is to define a road map for success that takes into account all the stakeholders across the organisation, whether they are shareholders, employees, partners or our beloved customers, and to build strong and motivated teams that will bring this road map to life.”
Since joining the Italian cosmetics brand in 2017, Cristina’s leadership philosophy has been about fostering the organisation’s talent.
“The responsibility that I’ve been given at KIKO is not something I would think of as hard but as something to be energised by. I’ve been given the opportunity to shape the future of this company, and to build and lead a strong team,” she continues.
“All our initiatives are collaborative efforts, with many talents coming together to make them happen. I believe in the power of multidisciplinary teams, with each participant having full ownership of their respective role and contribution to the whole. Being the CEO within that collaborative spirit is really something I look forward to every single day.”
“I believe in the power of multidisciplinary teams, with each participant having full ownership of their respective role and contribution to the whole.”
In addition to her CEO duties, Cristina is a member of the Board of Directors of companies EssilorLuxottica, Luxottica and Pirelli. When asked what her average day looks like, she says with a smile, “Busy.”
She explains: “KIKO has a well-organised drumbeat of activities throughout the week so I tend to have back-to-back meetings and calls all day long. And then there is the travel, which is a fundamental part of any global company role. That’s the part I like the most."
“But even with all the day-to-day work and travel, I find it important to make time for my family – especially for my little boy, Riccardo.”
Before becoming CEO of KIKO, Cristina was the Chair and CEO of L’Oreal Italy from 2014 to 2017. She has a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Turin, completed in 2009, and a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management of International Firms from Università Bocconi in Milan and started her career at Procter & Gamble.
“Being the CEO within that collaborative spirit is really something I look forward to every single day.”
There, she worked her way up from Assistant Brand Manager in Italy to Global Managing Director of the Cosmetics International Operations division, where she was based in Switzerland and managed a portfolio of brands covering more than 70 countries.
Now at the helm of KIKO, Cristina oversees a growing omnichannel market presence for the retailer. KIKO’s core market has been Europe – Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, the UK and Switzerland – since the brand launched in 1997.
But, with an extensive online delivery service, it has a presence in 34 countries and is seeing growth in the Middle East and Asia.
“Though at our core we are an EU-based brand, we understand we need to go where growth is,” she says. “New markets such as the Middle East, India and China are proving that our strategy is correct.”
Early last year, the company began implementing a three-year strategic plan aimed at increasing financial and operational effectiveness.
“Since January 2018, we started shifting expansion eastwards and complementing retail with online growth, bringing a consumer-centric marketing approach and more focus on brand building, cost control and operational excellence,” she adds.
Even though KIKO has a large global footprint with 900 bricks-and-mortar stores, Cristina is realistic about the movement of the retail landscape into digital. “Future growth will continue to be mainly driven by online with significant double-digit growth,” she concedes.
Like any retail business in today’s digitally driven world, having an omnichannel presence – which includes strong social media engagement as part of the mix – is imperative to survival and growth.
“Online involves better cross-platform functionality, with an omnichannel approach that integrates physical locations, ecommerce, mobile applications and social media,” she explains.
While social media is only one piece of the puzzle, it is still a key player within that strategic approach and Cristina says it is important to be across all social media channels to maximise customer reach.
“KIKO customers have different touchpoints across their social media lives depending on the time of day, the demographic, geographical location and so on. So we invest across all of them.”
One of the greatest challenges of the sector, she admits, is its competitive nature, with established players that have been around for a long time.
- “Strong partnerships are always built the same way: by building trust and reliability between those involved.”
- “Our customers are used to KIKO providing an affordable product with a high level of quality, and a variety that caters to every creative consumer demand. Being consistent with these principles resulted in long-term partnerships across the board, with our consumers, retail partners and suppliers.”
- “Our suppliers play a key role in our success as a brand. Many of our supply partners have been with us from the start. It’s a mix of being reliable, having technological proficiency and constant investment that have helped build these strong partnerships with KIKO.”
However, Cristina believes KIKO has an edge over some of the top cosmetic players in the world, with its “consumer-centric approach matched with retailer know-how”, as well as its Italian roots.
It’s what Cristina calls “our Italianity” that makes KIKO unique among the other global beauty players.
“Italy has been a beacon of aesthetics since the time of the Roman Empire, recreating the way the world is seen through the eyes of the artists of the Renaissance and, ultimately, becoming synonymous with elegant design over the past century across almost every industry. Italy is beauty. KIKO, being Italian, has much to offer customers who want to unleash their creative side in a way that is and has been universally appealing.”
With 2,000 make-up and skincare products that are manufactured in Europe, mostly in Italy, KIKO offers its customers a vast array of aesthetic possibilities, Cristina explains.
“KIKO is a global brand that offers customers the freedom to express themselves creatively without compromising on wearability or affordability, and this has been a winning recipe for us.”
Acknowledging that KIKO’s success is an ongoing process, Cristina says, “We will continue investing significant resources in CRM capabilities, in our stores, trend forecasting and product innovation.”
She says she likes to keep competitors guessing about what KIKO will come up with next, but discloses: “We will continue to improve our customer experience across all our touchpoints, and we will continue to bring to our consumers even more creative packaging design, more new colours and innovative products.”
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