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101 Days of Kwesi

Kwesi, as of today (May 13th 2019) you’ve been the Marketing Director of the Pharmacy Business Unit Germany for exactly 101 days. 101 days sounds like a long time, does it feel that way?

Kwesi Ofosu: When I think back that last year I took more than 100 days of parental leave, then I can definitely say that my time out of the office went by slower. I guess that comes with the territory of caring for a little baby that needs a clear routine [laughs] and in my current job fortunately, there’s no routine. These are exciting and challenging times, but that’s exactly what makes this job appealing. I applied for the job to make a difference and not to count the days.

Kwesi Ofosu, Marketing Director Pharmacy Business Unit Germany

Before this you were in the team as Marketing Manager Body & Sun and so, all the faces are very familiar to you. What has changed since you’ve become Marketing Director?

Kwesi Ofosu: For one thing, it’s really great to have my team around me. We know each other well, trust each other, and we know how we work and what makes each other tick. Naturally, that provides a certain stability and from the beginning we were able to concentrate primarily on the substance of the work, which is fantastic. On the other hand, I’m now in another role that presents completely different challenges, but also creates the opportunity to make decisions and to press ahead with things in a whole new way. I’ve actually gotten used to this feeling rather quickly and I have to say, it feels good. 

Looking back over your first 100 days in this new position, have you changed?

Kwesi Ofosu: That’s hard for me to answer. You’d have to ask my team. But it’s not my approach to artificially throw my weight around as the boss especially because I’ve known the team for so long. But naturally they know me too and all my typical expressions (“if I ruled the world…”) and wind me up just as much now as they used to. At any rate, the atmosphere in the team is very good and I sure hope that I stay true to myself.

Do you get the feeling that you’ve already been able to achieve something or start a new course?

Kwesi Ofosu: Because I’ve been in the team for a long time already I didn’t have the chance to say, “let me take a look at all this first,” but instead had to take action right away. But that’s good too, because we have so many exciting topics and challenges ahead of us as the Eucerin Marketing team.

Where are the greatest challenges for you currently?

Kwesi Ofosu: We find ourselves in a relatively dynamic, but above all, highly-contested, market. Here we have to, on the one hand, bring innovative new products onto the market and simultaneously, not neglect the core assortment. At the same time, we have to constantly keep our eye on the competition in order to both act quickly and to be able to react. But the most important thing in my opinion is that we never forget who we’re doing all this for, namely, the consumers and patients. In all our ideas, measures and efforts, we always have to keep our focus on them. Even though that sounds banal – it’s not always easy – especially when you find yourself in the hustle and bustle of your office routine. 

Kwesi Ofosu presents the innovations of the year at the German press conference

That sounds reasonable and logical. Is that just true only for Marketing?

Kwesi Ofosu: Of course, we can never just think as an individual department. We always have to come from a brand perspective. Communications from Eucerin reach consumers from different sources – from the doctor, the pharmacist, the pharmacist’s assistant in the pharmacy and also from our direct consumer communications. Here it’s key that our consumers always hear the same message so that they really understand and internalize it, and in the end, buy our products.

You speak of direct consumer communications. How do you appeal to them?

Kwesi Ofosu: On the one hand, through our recommenders like the pharmacist’s assistant in the pharmacy or the doctor – especially for our indication-driven franchises. On the other hand we also have a large and innovative anti-aging assortment, which is not a focus of dermatologists since suffering from having wrinkles is quite different from having to deal with atopic dermatitis, just to name one example.

It’s precisely this target group that we have to appeal to directly. Here we have to differentiate our products for mature skin, where we reach our consumers through traditional TV ads, print communications and product samples in the pharmacy. But of course, we do reach them with online communications as well, which needs to be precisely targeted.

Digital communications as such play a decisive and increasingly important role in our communications and that’s not just for Marketing. Digital is our focus especially for products that are developed for a younger target groups. There we leverage our own Eucerin social media channels, we’re strengthening our ecommerce more and more, and of course are communicating using traditional digital campaigns.

That’s just the media, but what do they tell you?

Kwesi Ofosu: That’s actually the key question. As I said, it’s about ensuring that the consumer hears the same message from everywhere. But the message must also go beyond the product. Products are more and more replaceable and that’s just the reality. Without a doubt we do offer first-class quality and our products really work. However, we have to provide an added value especially for our consumers, that goes beyond that. We have to be relevant for consumers by telling stories that engages them also emotionally.

Content marketing and storytelling are what everyone’s talking about, but that’s precisely the crucial difference that a brand can make. We still have a lot of potential here, but we’re working hard on this. And obviously, that’s not just true for Marketing either, but for all the touchpoints through which we want to reach our consumers.

Ines Kandel

About the editor: Ines Kandel

Ines is responsible for the communication around our Pharmacy and Selective Brands like Eucerin, Hansaplast and La Prairie within the Corporate Communications team. Prior to this task, she worked on various communication topics for Beiersdorf – including HR, Strategy, R&D and Finance – and became an expert in the area of Issues Management and Crisis Communication. In addition, she manages the network of our PR Managers worldwide. Just recently, she spend some months on a short term assignment at Beiersdorf in France – another great international experience.