Lucia Sztarenki, Marketing Expert, on Developing Global Strategies for Brands
Today's interview is with the highly successful marketing & branding expert Lucia Sztarenki.
Currently working with the luxury lifestyle brand Frette, Sztarenki has a great deal of experience developing global strategies for major brands in the luxury and beauty sector, a skill that Sztarenki's own cross-cultural experiences have further enhanced.
Sztarenki has lived in many different countries, including Switzerland, Spain, Canada, Italy, France, and Hungary, and she speaks multiple languages. All of this supports her natural proclivity for strategic and creative thought.
Sztarenki's skills have made her highly sought-after in the industry, and she kindly agreed to share some of her many career insights with our readers during a recent interview.
We hope you enjoy this fascinating look at how marketing works at the highest level.
Success Quarterly (SQ): Hi Lucia, welcome. Can you tell us about your choice to work in marketing, specifically for luxury and beauty brands?
Lucia Sztarenki (LS): I'm happy to be here! And of course. The luxury goods & beauty industries are inspiring and dynamic sectors. I chose to work in this field because I love the idea of communicating brand's history and values. Marketers need to tell a story, creating unique experiences, and that makes for a fun challenge, I think.
SQ: That's definitely clear in a lot of your work. So how does marketing in this area differ from other industries or lower-end brands in the same industry? What sets it apart?
LS: Well, within the luxury industry as a whole, brands communicate about their exclusivity. Each house has a unique heritage and timeless iconic products, and these brands just cannot be directly compared with each other. Each luxury house has unique storytelling. Clients purchasing luxury products connect emotionally to the brand they choose, thanks also to the exclusive experience they can be part of. Marketing strategies in luxury follow this vision to drive a deep emotional connection.
Mass-market brands tend to have a static position across a broad and competitive market, and they need to communicate directly about the benefits of a specific product and ensure the target audience understands why they should make that purchase. That's storytelling of a sort, but it's usually not an aspirational approach to storytelling, which is what we use to market luxury products.
SQ: That's a good way to put it. They both use stories, but very different kinds of stories. So recently, you've been working with Frette. What have been some of your project initiatives with the company so far?
LS: I had a chance to work on initiatives related to art and design, two key areas of the Frette brand's DNA. For example, back in March, we partnered with the incredible French-Japanese artist Tiffany Bouelle, who created six unique decorative pillows with her vision and art. The project was presented during a private event in Paris.
As for the most recent project I've completed, it was a collaboration with the students of NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti's Design Area. It was a fantastic project. The students breathed new life into the remnant textiles of Frette, creating unique upcycled design objects in the process. These objects were then presented during Milan Design Week this year.
SQ: Let's move on to some of the work you did with another major brand. Can you tell us about the 360 marketing toolkits you developed for Calvin Klein Fragrances?
LS: I was working with internal teams on developing new products and handling the realization of a new scent and packaging design for all this. At the same time, we were also responsible for providing assets that would be used to communicate and promote the launch of each new product.
This included coordinating with internal and external creative agencies to produce digital assets, identifying influencers aligned with the fashion house's vision, and creating eye-catching merchandising units, including scalable experiences at each retail location.
After that, once these toolkits were ready, they were shared with local markets, where local professionals would submit their own proposals on how to promote these launches, specifically in their market.
So, to put it another way, in global marketing, you are responsible for keeping a cohesive brand aesthetic and message across multiple regions and customer contact points. You have to be able to handle large amounts of work and be able to communicate well with a ton of different people. This comes with the territory when you're working for a world-famous brand.
SQ: And on the topic of communication, can you talk about the international component to all this? Do you often need to consider cultural differences when preparing marketing materials for different countries or territories?
LS: Oh, absolutely. I would even say that it's a crucial part of my job. I'm fortunate on this front because I've had a chance to live in many different countries and get to know all these different cultures, learn new languages, and broaden my overall vision. In marketing and communications, it's essential to adapt, stay informed, and conduct research when trying to communicate with a new, unfamiliar market.
SQ: With that in mind, would you say that you've always had a strategic mindset?
LS: I think I would say I have a creative and strategic mind. I do my work by setting clear objectives and creating a detailed action plan, but I also like to find and explore innovative new ideas while working on projects. I never want to push creativity off to the side.
SQ: That's a good distinction. So I just have one last question. You're clearly very skilled at what you do, and you've been doing it at a very high level for years. But despite all that, would you say that you're still learning?
LS: Absolutely. 100%. I believe learning is never-ending, and it's a beautiful opportunity to improve. I love learning, even if it's not always directly related to my work.
SQ: Definitely, I agree. Well, that's all we have, thanks so much for making the time.
LS: Of course, thanks again for having me!