40 - Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois, MAC Cosmetics

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This is a podcast episode titled, 40 - Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois, MAC Cosmetics. The summary for this episode is: <p>In our 40th episode of Earned, Conor sits down with Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois, SVP, Global CMO of MAC Cosmetics. We start by discussing the current “makeup rebound,” and Aïda shares why she believes the vertical is picking up steam. We then dive into MAC’s community of 13,000 professional makeup artists, and learn how the brand leverages their field insight to inform product development. Aïda speaks to her personal connection to MAC, and emphasizes how inclusivity has been at the forefront of the brand since its inception. We also hear why Aïda prioritized listening and observation when first joining MAC, and explore the brand’s dedication to innovation and building out its digital framework. Finally, Aïda offers a few takeaways from her impressive career journey, and we close the show by diving into MAC’s focus on earned media and commitment to “harnessing the power of community to transform society.”</p>
The Makeup Rebound
03:21 MIN
How MAC Leverages its Professional Makeup Artist Community
03:46 MIN
Aïda's Personal Connection to MAC's Inclusive Mission
04:55 MIN
Aïda's Approach to MAC and Focus on Digital
05:22 MIN
The Power of Observation in Aïda's Impressive Career Journey
05:17 MIN
MAC's Focus on Earned Media and Harnessing the Power of Community
11:41 MIN

Conor Begley: Awesome episode with Aïda today. Her breadth of experience, just the pure number of brands she's worked at is crazy. And I think her approach, it's so clear why she's killing it at MAC. I hope you'll enjoy today. Remember if you do enjoy, be a friend, tell a friend, hit that subscribe button and thanks everybody. Enjoy the show.

Announcer: Influencers, inspiration and Instagram, Instagram, Instagram. This is Earned, by Tribe Dynamics. Here's Connor Begley.

Conor Begley: Welcome to Earned, everyone. I'm joined today by one of the most accomplished marketers in the world at one of the world's most iconic brands, Aïda Moudachirou- Rébois. Welcome to the show, Aïda.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Thank you, Connor. I'm so honored to be here. Thank you for having me on the most iconic show in the world.

Conor Begley: We are top 10% of podcasts globally. Well, we'll try and keep going, get the top 1%, but yeah, we're doing pretty good.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Amazing, amazing.

Conor Begley: Yeah. So for those that don't know Aida, she was born in Benin, in West Africa and moved to France at the age of 14. After getting her graduate degree at one of the top schools in France, she did some consulting and then 15 years at what is essentially the graduate programs of beauty, right at L'Oreal. Then you spent two years as the global head of skin brands at J& J followed by the SVP of global marketing at Revlon. And then now you are the CMO of MAC Cosmetics, which is like I said, one of the most iconic brands in the world.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Yes. That's why I'm a part of who I am, but yeah, that's pretty much it.

Conor Begley: That's really unbelievable. And I think what's really interesting for me too, is you only started at MAC within the last year. But from the data that we track, we've already seen MAC rebound quite dramatically. So out of the top 10 brands that we track in makeup, you're now the third best performing brand for 2021, which is really good. Because these are all of the top brands in the world in terms of working with influencers and social. So we'll dive into that a little bit later, but congrats. Congrats on the progress already.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Thank you. Yes, very excited. The makeup category is actually making a strong comeback too, so we were just positioned to be ready for when it started. Yeah, we can talk about it a little bit later, but we did a big bet on that and it's paying off.

Conor Begley: Well, let's talk about that right now. So I was just at the WWD CEO Summit, and everybody was talking about the makeup rebound. What do you think is driving that? Is it confined to certain regions? Because you've obviously got a very global footprint. Are you seeing this more in the US than other markets? Talk to me about what you think is driving it and where you're seeing the impact.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: No, I think there's a post pandemic kind of aspiration. We're not there yet, but I think people are, the world is saddling up for that post pandemic word. People have tired to be apart and they just wanted to return to their lives. They want to celebrate with bright, impactful makeup, among other things. And our big bet, we were like, okay we are suffering in the depth of the pandemic, but we need it to get ahead and to create a recovery plan, to ensure that we're there to meet consumer when the moment came. It's happening everywhere. A market like China have rebounded much sooner, obviously follow the closure, the lockdown procedure around the world. And then you have market like Israel, actually also rebounded very well. And EMEA, North America, at times are now rebounding. And you can also link that to the vaccination rate. We're seeing a correlation between the market recovery and the vaccination rate. But for us, we were ready. And as a leading authority in beauty trends, we mobilized actually, makeup trends to bring them to life with our super large offer in our portfolio and our 13,000 of artists around the world, with rollout, 30 plus trends over the past six month, which we're amplifying across our social channel. On Tuesday, you can fold hashtag, MACTrend on Tuesdays and you can see what our artists have been up to and creating and what has been inspiring to the public. Since launching MAC Trend, our share of voice in social has actually grown from 10% to 22%. I think last week we were at 27%. And the number two brand was at 12.

Conor Begley: Wow.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: We are owning the conversation. And so that's from a trend perspective. And from an innovation perspective, we're also ramping up our pipeline and to continue to surprise and delight our consumer as their needs are changing, obviously.

Conor Begley: Yeah, those 13, 000 makeup artists are quite the tool, or not the tool, but quite the community, to have attached to your brand. Because I know that for us, when we look at the influencers in this space, so many them are either current makeup artists or former makeup artists, and they've really used social media as their platform to become discovered. Talk to me about that. How do you guys interact with your makeup artist community? How have you invested in that more recently? What are you seeing in terms of their impact on social? Talk to me about them.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Yeah. We are the first makeup professional brand. So artistry is at the core of what we do. We were created by makeup artists, for makeup artists, whether they're pro or beginners, like you and I Connor. So artistry is really at the core of everything we do at MAC. And we really value our 13,000 makeup artists. They're the heart and soul of the brand. They work with us through every step of the product development process. They have a seat at the table. They have incredible insight. Of course, we do have data and analytics that we layer on, but our artists are our boots on the ground. They help us understand where the consumer needs gaps are and where they're evolving, the latest backstage trend, we use our artists in over a hundred fashion shows in fashion week around the world. So a great example of this is the development of Up For Everything Mascara, which addressed the common complaint of artists we're hearing, that the Latin American consumer, the Hispanic consumer, overall have their lashes pointing down. And so they're like this is a easy insight that we need to address. So the SKU was launched links to them. The PD team, the product development team, worked with the artists to really perfect what formula can be good for that. And this SKU is now the number one in Mexico and Chile. We also to cater to the US Latina consumer. So this is an example. I have many others. For instance, in India, our artists were really instrumental in going to very deep into understanding the undertone of the Indian consumer. So we can have the right shade range for the Indian consumer in our foundation range. So what we did, we worked with a single artist and we tested on consumer in market before we launched globally. So that was a makeup artist inside there. And they also played a key role. When we think about discontinued product, what product needs to stay, what product needs to go, they have their favorite, from the heart standpoint. They can also tell you why from an artistry standpoint, they think that these products are needed even if, sometimes from a financial standpoint, we cannot see it. So their role is super important from every standpoint, innovation, shade diversity, just staying ahead of trend, creating trends, looks.

Conor Begley: Totally. And again, and I think going back to that impact they have on social media, it's huge as well, right? When we first started tracking the data way back when maybe eight years ago, seven, eight years ago, MAC was the number one brand we tracked for years and years. And I think it wasn't necessarily because MAC was investing in social really heavily, but their artists were, the artist community that you had built relationships with. Going back to that idea of shade ranges and the work that you're doing in India, I think that was part of the way that you actually discovered MAC, right? You tell the story, I don't want to tell the story for you. But I think they were the brand that helped you out in your own wedding, right?

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Yes, exactly. So my personal story with MAC, which was... Actually, the first time I actually used a brand was, I was quite young, I was about to get married. I got married my mid twenties and I was living in Paris at the time. And I was quite broke. Today, weddings are so fancy. People have a hashtag, they have makeup parties for the whole party and everything. I was like, okay, I'm just looking for something to give me a great look for my wedding. So that's all I wanted. So I went in a few department stores in Paris and I went around different counters and I was asking," I'm getting married, I'm looking for a look and product to create this look for my wedding." And most, all brands, where like," Oh no, sorry, we can't help you. We're very sorry, but we cannot help you because we don't have a shade for you." Today, it feels very brutal. But at the time, it was part of my day to day of being underrepresented.

Conor Begley: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: And underserved. Right? I kind of bumped into one artist from another brand, which was like," Oh, you should go to the MAC counter right there." So he sent me to the MAC counter. I was very down. It was supposed to be a happy moment, but after five or six nos, I was like, okay, whatever. But then the MAC artist sit me at the table, asked me what I wanted. They asked me about myself, where I was getting married, what my dress was. And they just listened to me and look at my face and help me create the look I wanted. And I walked out of the door that day with a bunch of products that I used to recreate the looks for my weddings. I had two weddings, actually, one in Africa and one in France. And I created the same look with just different lipstick. And it was Studio Fix Foundation and Studio Fix Powder Foundation. They gave me a few bunch of lipstick shades that they felt could be good and then lip liners. And I've been using those products since. I felt so wrapped into it was inclusivity at its best. And I felt like this was the best expression of equity. For the first time in my life, in beauty, whether it was for my hair or for my makeup, I felt like a brand was not looking at me," Oh, sorry, we don't do shades for you because you're not worth our time or business," or whatever it was. The way it was coming across to me was just, I didn't matter. And for MAC, I felt I mattered. The service was fantastic and it's still one of the reasons why people come to our stores because our makeup artists are the best in the world. We invest in them, we train them to be the best makeup artist they can be, but also to face consumer in the way that it's going to be very centered on the consumer needs. So I felt that. I found product that I loved. At the time I was working for a competitive company, the competition, used their products.

Conor Begley: Couldn't buy your own company's products. You're like," Guys."

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Today it feels so normal, but it wasn't. And that's been MAC since inception, 37 years ago. They're always very intentionally inclusive of all skin tones. It's not something that they did because now it's politically correct or politically incorrect not to be. It's just part of the DNA of the brand. For me, the values of MAC, and I'm big about equity and brand equity when it comes to marketing, I think this is a big asset of the brand. For me, when I started to work at MAC, everybody I've met shared those values, value them, wear them as a badge on their black shirts and are extremely passionate about it. It's a culture, it's a point of view, it's something we believe in. It's not just a fad, it's not a trend, it's not the politically correct trait. It's not something we must do. It's something we always did.

Conor Begley: It's at the core. Yeah. I'm excited to see you kind of build the brand equity of MAC over a long period of time. Because I feel like you've had such a dynamic career that you've been from brand to brand to brand, and brand equity is a long term play, it's not a short term play. It's not about what happens this year, it's about what happens in 10 years or happens in 50 years. So I'm really excited for that. And I think to on the consumer side, like you said, that was a super meaningful connection that you made with the brand at that time. And that sticks. It's sticking, it's part of the reason you took the job, I would imagine, 20 years later.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: For me, when I come into a brand like this, I was extremely lucky that my manager, my boss, actually asked me to take the first two months to listen. I was not into working meetings right away. I was in meetings to listen. And if I had an induction meeting with somebody, that was taking precedent on any other meeting on my calendar. So I took the time to meet with as many stakeholders as possible to build those relationships, get to understand, first of all, understand who they were, why they were working there, what the point of view was, et cetera, et cetera. But also, sitting in meetings and trying to understand where I could add value because the team is extremely talented. I told you this was the number one makeup, it is the number one makeup brand in the world, so we didn't need me to fix anything. However, the reason why I was hired was to add value in certain domains. And I have had those conversation before I came on board, but I wanted to really understand if the conversation I've had were matching with the reality I was facing on the ground. So this is the best gift. I'm now repeating this with my teams when I hire somebody. I'm like," Okay, take your time." It's not great on the team because you want everybody to jump in, but it's so much better for the long term and also for that person. So I listen, I try to understand where I could add value and I started to see pockets of where we could accelerate, where we could shape things further, short, medium, and long term, working on the makeup recovery, working on our innovation pipeline for the future post COVID, hopefully, world, what does that mean, from a category standpoint, from an innovation standpoint, and also basically double down on what the team was doing already, which is accelerating online. We are digital first brand. So for us, during the pandemic, it was just the opportunity to really refocus on making sure that we had the right capabilities to really continue to drive strength in digital. So there's a lot of work that goes into obviously creating the right content, having the right technology. Two things that we've actually done, it's virtual try ons. So this is technology to allow people to really be able to shop from afar, from the couch, from the iPads and our technology is the strongest in the industry, I think. This technology was existing before the pandemic for MAC, but during the pandemic, we actually extended the technology to 35 countries and over 800 SKUs, which is basically the breadth of what you can find on our online channel. You can try eyeshadows, lipstick. So we've brought this, strengthening the connection with the consumer online, but also thinking of how you merge online and physical. So how you built on the channel capabilities. So videos are now in. We have this in some of our few stores, but we have our innovation labs that we started during COVID in the Queens Center. It's a store. You should come the next time you are in New York, I would love to take you there.

Conor Begley: I would love to go.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Yeah, we call be Red Store. It's a store that function for us like an innovation lab. It's totally mobile first. It's inspired by one of the stores we had in Shanghai that were built with the WeChat ecosystem. So mobile first, you can come into the store, shop, interact, everything from your mobile. You don't have to speak with an artist. Of course, we have artists in the store if you do want to speak with them. But you can create looks, virtually. And then there is an opportunity for you to create your pass and save the looks you like best, understand what's trending locally, et cetera, et cetera. So we're taking these learnings and scaling them back to the retail because our stores still are super power, even if online it's super strong-

Conor Begley: Your stores and your artists, right? Both of those things. That physical presence is a big advantage for you guys.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Exactly. And then the other thing we've tried, obviously strengthen omnichannel capabilities, pick in store, buy online, whatever you want, payment facilitations, and all this stuff have been really accelerated during the pandemic. The other thing that we did is social commerce. So social commerce, it's also something that we lean into. We dropped a collection with Rosalia in, I think it was early in October. But we dropped that collection early on Instagram shoppable. So we also have shoppable lens on Snapchat. So we are doing a bunch of different things to lean into the new modern world that seems to be here to stay.

Conor Begley: I can say one of the things that's really interesting about that, and there's two observations that I think I made from what you were talking about. So the first one talking about the technology angle. One of the underrated elements, I think, of being so forward leaning when it comes to technology and these kinds of elements is that just from a consumer perception perspective, I perceive a brand that is forward leaning from a digital perspective in a very different way than I perceive a brand that's not. So regardless of whatever conversions happen from that and whatever measurable results, directly measurable results, from a brand equity perspective, I view the brand as young, vibrant investing in the future. So all of these elements just change the way that I perceive the brand, even if I don't actually end up using the technology. We had Steve Lesnard, who was the CMO at North Face, was formerly SVP of the running group at Nike. And I use a Nike running app. I've never bought a shoe because of the Nike running app, that's going to be directly attributable. But that changes my perception of Nike. It's like, oh no, no, this is a technology first forward, leaning digital a brand. I just love it. I love that that's working for you guys.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Yeah. I also feel like it's just about being consumer obsessed. Today, we all are. I look at my kids, everybody's in technology in a way of other, in spite of me having a no screen policy that went out of the windows with COVID obviously at home. My kids are extremely technology savvy. I saw them going from real classroom to Google classroom within two weeks and sharing with me how to add a background, how to mute, how you bring somebody in the meeting. We are investing in technology, but the next generation is not even thinking about being invested in technology, they're just lead by it. So I feel like for me, my kids are my focus group. They're my favorite things to watch, my kids, their friends, this young generation, so inspiring to me for what the future is going to look. But the fact that brands need to behave like we behave, like employees in their personal life. I shop online all the time, I expect a fast delivery, I expect a flawless consumer service. When I go to store, I really want this to be worth my time of traveling to the store. I think what is true for me is true for any consumer. So I always tell the teams, if you want to do something, would you like to share that at the dinner with your friend, your closest friend? Is it something you think you want to brag about or it's something that you don't want to talk about because you don't think it's cool enough or it's hype enough. So ask yourself the question that you will ask yourself when you are the consumer, when you're shopping, and that should be your lens. And take risk. We are in the beauty industry, we sell lipstick. It's okay, if we fail.

Conor Begley: Have fun, it's okay. Yeah. I think a lot of people are afraid to fail, and it's understandable. It's their jobs, they want to have a living, et cetera. But I think that is where the magic is. And this concept of observation I think is so critical. Thinking of yourself, okay, I'm going through this process, how would I feel about this process? As well as, and I think this is what's really unique about your background is because you've operated in so many different regions at so many different brands, I'm going to list the brand. So there's L'Oreal Paris, Maybelline, The Body Shop, Revlon, MAC, SoftSheen- Carson, Almay, Revlon, already had that, Neutrogena, Aveeno, Clean& Clear, Lubriderm, Garnier, Ralph Lauren fragrance, Landman fragrance. And I think I'm probably missing a brand or two. So you've got that. You got all the brand and then you've got all the countries. So you've been in Europe, you've been in Africa, you've been in the US, you're doing global, you've got cultures, languages, whatever. I think kind of your super power is in order to be successful in all of those different contexts, you had to observe. Because you don't know all those different cultures and all those different brands and all those different communities and all those different things. So the only way that you could be successful was to say," Hey, what is working here? What are the problems?" And then adapting from there versus coming in with a playbook. And so it's not surprising to hear the way that you approached MAC and the fact that, that approach has worked well. Right?

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Yeah, absolutely. I think you nail it over the head. First of all, wow. Did I work on so many brands?

Conor Begley: It's a lot, right?

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: It's funny because almost 20 years of now perspective and full picture, I think that I can see that each of these experiences have been completely incremental. It's not something I would've said a few years ago because not every move I made, made sense to me. I had sometimes to trust my manager, some of my mentors saying," yes, do this. Do that." I was not always convinced myself. But it's almost like when you're building a piece, like with Legos in the dark room and all of a sudden you light up the room and it looks a Picasso. And you're like," Oh wow." But you trust the process. And I think along with the process, I think it's actually the fact that you work on so many different categories. It was always beauty, but different categories from makeup to skincare, hair care styling, hair color fragrance, different channels, mass prestige, online, pure players, different kind of marketing. I started in product marketing. I was very much of a product marketer. So between innovation and activation, and I move into the digital and eCommerce and social and all this stuff. So there is so many differences in each of those categories that it actually keeps you on your toes and keep you as a learner. And I think the few constant are consumer centricity. That's how you win. And I think today, it's made me a seasoned marketer. And I think everybody who comes to me and say," What kind of advice would you give me from a career perspective?" Trust the process. Don't settle for something that you think make you comfortable, go do different things and always see how you can be building off your experience. But I think to your point, I'm lucky that I was born in Benin, Western Africa, I moved to Paris when I was 14. I lived in different countries. I actually label myself as always on immigrant, which means that when I get somewhere, I don't know the rules, I don't know the codes. There is nobody to explain to me. The only way I would be able to understand is by listening, observing, asking questions, practicing empathy, and making sure that I'm always learning and thinking about what I can learn. I never assume anything. And I think that, that's, yeah, you said it, my superpower. For the longest time, it felt clunky sometimes. I can move into a new country or a new company, you're" Ah." But oh my God, what a gift to stay emotionally connected to your environment and to the people and I'm grateful for that. It's not always an easy choice to move your family across the ocean or to decide to completely start your new life with new friends. But there's, for me, a lot of humanity, a lot of richness, I feel alive. I feel like I'm consistently learning and I'm consistently growing as an individual, as a marketer, as a friend, as a leader.

Conor Begley: Yeah. People underestimate, because each one of those was a challenge. So you moved to a new place, new country, new brand, new this, new that, each time you kind of work through that. It's hard and you work and you work and you work and then it becomes easier. But that's a skill you build. That's a talent you've acquired because your brain was forced to work through this barrier over time. And yeah, I think it is a superpower, it's really special. And so it's just cool, it's cool to see. Actually, I'm curious now. So when we first met, I think some of what you were doing was observing me and observing influencers and trying to learn about that space because your background had been on the product development side, on the marketing side. But you were really trying to dive in. What have been some of the more surprising learnings for you coming into this space, especially for a brand like MAC, which is so dominant socially? What were some of the things that you came in and discovered about? This is, if I were to look at the list, the most social brand you've ever worked at, or the most, dominant one. What were some of your learnings? Talk to me about that.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: I've studied the MAC from the outside. I was at L'Oréal for 15 years. MAC was our number one competition obsession because they were just dominating the market. Very innovative in also the way they're activating the brand and everything. I also worked at J& J, as you said, and Revlon. Those companies, very differently from MAC, focus on high funnel activation, building a inaudible, mass media to actually compare the audiences. MAC is extremely different. MAC's business model is based on earned media. That's what the brand start with. The media model is very unique and I've never worked in a brand like this. Other brands have come there because it's where the space is now, where the market has moved. But it was never part of the media model. MAC was never on TV.

Conor Begley: No, I've never seen a MAC ad, or a MAC TV ad. Maybe there's been one, but it's not how I think of the brand.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Yeah. And the brand has a top awareness. The intention behind building advocacy is super important. One of the purpose of MAC actually, has been articulated to me by John Demsey, which we call the MAC daddy.

Conor Begley: John is one of the few people in the industry I still haven't met. I feel like I need to meet him one day.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: When you come to New York, you must. We need to organize something because John is obviously extremely inspiring for what he's done in the industry. He's a legend. He actually helped build MAC to what MAC is today. But after all these years, he still sees the potential and push the brand and push the teams to continue to elevate what the brands stand for. And that is for me, it's remarkable, the drive, the passion, the vision. He's a legend. I'm a brand equity builder. I really love when I start working on the brand, I love to be able to get people to articulate anywhere they are in the world, what are the brand mission, the values, the purpose, et cetera, et cetera. MAC can be spelled, people can tell you, it's about all ages, all genders, all races, all MAC. They're able to tell you that we give back. But I feel like the one sentence that nobody told me that John was able to articulate to me, was MAC harnesses the power of community to transform society. And for me, I had the light bulb moment. I was like, that was exactly what I was looking for. How do you pull together the fact that we are earned media driven, that we have a artist community, that we activate our employees to carry and lift our social values, our values, how do you put together the fact that we are doing NGOs, a lot of work with NGOs, have a strong partnership. We have Viva Glam that has raised half a billion dollars in the past 27 years. We have consumers that come to transform the look. How do you put all that together? I was like, wow, that sentence. And I making this sentence the purpose of MAC moving forward, just to tell you that the community with individuality is really what we stand for. And this is not something you can do with mass media. You have to go grassroot. You have to get people to live and to build those communities. Today, it feels super easy. People talk about community. Yes, you have a WhatsApp group, you have your friends on your social media, your followers, that's your community. But think about, it's like 37 years ago when everybody was kind of pretty much apart. You had to dial the phone like this to call your friends, making sure that they were at home. Otherwise, you couldn't even leave a message. 10 years after you could leave a message. And then you have to tag them on their tango thing that we all had in the late nineties, to page your friends or things like that. It feels so revolutionary, and it is revolutionary. And it transcends generation. It's just a culture. It's a culture.

Conor Begley: Yeah. I love that description. And I think what's weird for me is I didn't really understand the concept of community until maybe two or three years ago. And where I started to understand it, frankly, was through our own company. So through our own company, now that we're eight, nine, going on almost 10 years in, there is a community. There are people that I've built relationships with over years and years and years that are really meaningful and deep and beyond just transactional and business related and Tribe has as well. And I think that until I saw that, firsthand, I didn't quite understand it. I never really quite got it. I knew it was important, but I didn't really get it.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: But you put it in the name of the company. I think that's powerful.

Conor Begley: Yeah. It's definitely something we believed in. We've almost grown into it in some ways. And then I think secondarily, what's really interesting is what makes the internet special is that it allows people that are physically distanced, but with the same interests to connect in a meaningful away. When you were growing up in high school, maybe there was one other person that was really into makeup artistry. And so you only had one other friend that was into what you were doing. But now you go online and it's okay, well, there's two people at every high school and there's 100,000 high schools. So collectively it's 200, 000 people. It's a big community collectively across physical boundaries. And so I think you're right, that in a lot of ways, because of the evolution of technology, this ability to build community around common interests is actually just different than it was in the past. You couldn't actually do it. And so in a lot of ways, the last 20 years of technology development have played just perfectly into who MAC is and into what that approach is. And that's part of the reason that we've seen all of these brands be so successful with a similar approach. I love that.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Exactly. And then to build on what you're saying and answer your question, your initial question is, when you and I met and we started to speak about earned media value, I think we're doing great and you helped me pinpoint opportunities on how to really further accelerate. And I think that was amazing for me. I remember listening to you and understanding and making sense of things that I was feeling in a way, and being able to bring that to the teams. I remember probably my first week or first two weeks, I didn't take a lot of action before my month three, because I was listening. But one of thing, I was like, team, you need to reinstate this tool at the market level so we know what needs to be done, because if we are serious about earned media, and I discovered that as I worked into MAC, I knew they were serious about it, but I didn't know it was the business model. I was like, okay, we need to make sure that we look at the KPIs from every standpoint. We're the number one brand on social media, in terms of share a voice. That is no doubt. And we've been consistently number one, I think for the past year. It was not the case before. So there's a lot of work that has been done there. But when you look at the total earned media value and what Tribe was issuing to us, I was like, okay, these are where the opportunities are, the pockets of further acceleration and how we can help guide our market, even in the way they structure themself. Because it's so hard, the world of earned today, it's so fragmented. How do you think about a marketing organization that can support that too, it's super important.

Conor Begley: Yeah. It's both fragmented and it's enormous. It's probably over close to a thousand pieces of content a day created just in the US, just by influencers. And every time one of those people talks about you and they hear silence on the other end, they don't hear affirmation, they don't get a note, they don't get a thank you, a like or whatever, that's a missed opportunity. But that's a totally different scale than you've ever had to deal with as a brand before. And so it's just a massive opportunity.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: It's a huge opportunity for all of us. And we don't want this to be like a but because there is a lot of solutions you can do to answer people and to make sure. But we also have makeup artists behind managing our communities. If a consumer comes with a question on the makeup look, it has to be authentic. A makeup artist is able to tell you," Oh, this lipstick may not work with this. That may be why you are experiencing in this problem," or" This shade, can you DM me so I can help you further." We take all this so seriously. And I think the quality of the response we wanted to give sometimes, to your point, we cannot always keep up with the amount of content and the success of the brand. So we have to find ways to accelerate and to focus and to make sure that we continue. I think the team has been very reactive to that and understanding where the opportunities where, and it's fantastic. I have a very talented team, very passionate about the brand too, and that makes things super easy.

Conor Begley: Well, because a lot of them probably came in the same way you did, this very meaningful connection. And I love that idea of employing the makeup artists to help build that community. Because they know everything, they can answer it in a way that you and I couldn't answer the question. I know that that was something that ILIA found to be really successful for them, which ILIA, I think grew 400% year over year in 2021 or something like that, some crazy number. And for them what they did during COVID, was they brought in their whole field staff and had them just directly interacting with customers digitally and managing the communities. And they're like, yeah, that expertise came through and was really meaningful versus just hiring a customer service representative to answer the questions and give the feedback and whatever. But we're coming to the end of our time and I want to be respectful of your time. I know you got a lot going on. But I do have one kind of fun, end of show question. So we create a lot of content. Tribe creates a lot of content. I create a lot of content. I've got 40 podcasts, and I can tell you for sure that my wife has not listened to all of my podcasts, 100%. Otherwise, I'd probably get in more trouble. So your husband is an accomplished author. So he has also written several books. And so I am curious, and I don't want to put you on the spot too much, but have you read all of his books?

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: I have.

Conor Begley: Wow. You're a better wife than my wife.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: He doesn't have 40 podcasts. He does not have 40 podcasts.

Conor Begley: That's true.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: My husband is actually working in finance, but he has crosstalk. Yeah. He writes and he's been published and very successful and I'm very proud of him. But I'm also super proud to see that I'm the first reader for the most part. So if I may rephrase your question, did I read all the final books? Maybe not, But I've read all the versions leading to the final one before the editor comes in.

Conor Begley: I got to reread it three, four times. I think that's okay. I think you get a pass on that one. I had a feeling you might be first editor.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Yeah. I'm an avid reader too, so I feel like it makes it easy. I love to read whenever I have time.

Conor Begley: My new reading technique is I buy it, so I used to always do books only. But then in the vein of technology, I started doing audio books and I was like, oh, this is great. I really like these audio books. But then it's hard to keep track of where you are in the book. And so then I was, oh, if I do it on a Kindle, they sync. So I listen to the book on audio, put it down. And then at night I pick up the Kindle and it takes me right to where the audio was. And I think having both the visual and the auditory, it just sticks better because you hear voices, you have the whole thing. I have burned through books so much more quickly recently. And I think before I had kids, I had more time to read. And so now I've had to adapt in order to make that happen. And I appreciate you so much for taking out the time. I know I learned a lot and congratulations on all the success that you've achieved, both at MAC and before MAC. Thanks so much, and I'm excited to see what you do with the brand over the next few years. It's going to be special.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Thank you. Thank you for your partnership. I think you've been probably one of the most insightful platforms that I've brought into MAC, in my first hundred days, to help recalibrate exactly where I felt like the opportunities were. I don't know if I ever told you that, but you were probably the biggest source for me of, okay, try to calibrate. So thank you for that. I don't know if people tell you that, but it's very valuable and your company is very smart. Tribe Dynamic, community based, right? Even if you didn't know it.

Conor Begley: Yeah, totally.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Yes.

Conor Begley: Well, I appreciate that. All right, Aïda, thanks so much again.

Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois: Thank you. See you later. Bye- bye.

Announcer: Hit subscribe now. Earned, by Tribe Dynamics. Tribe Dynamics unlocks your social media influencer community. Our platform not only tracks and measures your best influencer relationships, but discovers new influencers to grow your business through earned media. Get started with a demo today at tribedynamics. com. Tribedynamics. com.


In our 40th episode of Earned, Conor sits down with Aïda Moudachirou-Rébois, SVP, Global CMO of MAC Cosmetics. We start by discussing the current “makeup rebound,” and Aïda shares why she believes the vertical is picking up steam. We then dive into MAC’s community of 13,000 professional makeup artists, and learn how the brand leverages their field insight to inform product development. Aïda speaks to her personal connection to MAC, and emphasizes how inclusivity has been at the forefront of the brand since its inception. We also hear why Aïda prioritized listening and observation when first joining MAC, and explore the brand’s dedication to innovation and building out its digital framework. Finally, Aïda offers a few takeaways from her impressive career journey, and we close the show by diving into MAC’s focus on earned media and commitment to “harnessing the power of community to transform society.”