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Isabelle Picou: “You are not the protagonist, the brands you represent and the journalists are”

Isabelle Picou has been working for no less than 26 years as Public Relations for the French skin care brand, Clarins.

Almost three decades in which it has been spectator and protagonist of the changes that the world of cosmetics has undergoneas well as that of the communication and the press in Spain.

“When I started working as Public Relations in the world of beauty, there were a certain number of media outlets with which I had a regular relationship. They were the main ‘women’s magazines’. I remember that I only invited about 40 journalists to our press conferences. The relationship was much more personal and intimate than now. Since there were fewer journalists, there was more time to develop professional relationships, which very often became more personal relationships of mutual trust,” says the communications expert.

And he continues: “Over the years, new magazines have appeared. Among others, the so-called Life Style that increased the number of female editors on staff and also the number of freelancers, which are the journalists who collaborate. My work thus became more intense each year, and in recent years, with the appearance of blogs, online media and influencerswe have had to face a tremendous acceleration,” says Picou.

“Today, my work focuses on two main axes: one formed by the press (paper and digital) and another, the influencers. Currently, we mostly work ‘side by side’ with the marketing department,” he says.

And he adds that: “Despite the dizzying change that people in my profession have to integrate, I consider that the relationship with people is still the most important thing,” he concludes.

The director of communications and public relations at Clarins.

What is Clarins’ communication strategy?

Our communication strategy follows specific guidelines. It is based on reporting on news through press conferences, open days or statements.

International trips are also organized for specific topics, but what we always need is the collaboration and support of the press and influencers.

How important is communication for the brand?

Communication for Clarins is the most important thing. Our founder Jacques Courtin Clarins was a pioneer in promoting it. He built his first offices as an open circle. Employees could communicate with each other, from one plant to another openly. It was the first open space concept.

He was also a pioneer in creating direct communication with his clients through a customer card that was found in the product boxes. Every morning, he read these cards and based his work on his clients’ concerns. Today we follow this concept through our website.

You are chosen every year as one of the best Spanish public relations, what skills should a good public relations have?

Thank you very much for the compliment, but all my professional colleagues have the same merit as me. It is about knowing the different media well, closely following changes, adapting to them flexibly, always seeking a balance and, above all, staying focused and optimistic.

What situation is the world of beauty and cosmetics in today?

The world of beauty and cosmetics is better than ever. During the pandemic, people have become aware of how important it is to take care of themselves. Now men and women want to dedicate more quality time to themselves. Among other things, that means taking care of your appearance. Exterior appearance increasingly influences how one feels. Beauty gives us well-being and happiness.

Now it is fashionable to talk about holistic beauty. For decades, Clarins has focused on holistic beauty, that is, beauty that is not superficial, it goes much further. It seeks a visible result, but takes into account all aspects of the person’s well-being, through sensoriality, the senses. To feel beautiful or beautiful, you work on both your exterior and interior appearance.

Isabelle Picou in her office in Madrid.

Of French origin, do you feel very Madrid?

Actually, I have a German mother and a French father. I grew up with two very different cultures in Paris. Afterwards, I lived in the United States for 6 years and traveled everywhere. I feel like an inhabitant of planet Earth. I could move anywhere tomorrow and adapt.

Now, like Spain, there is no better place, for its people, for its culture, for its light and for its food! I hope I never have to move from here! I love Spain and the Spanish. They are kind and very noble people.

Do French women use cosmetics differently than Spanish women?

Taking care of your appearance in France is something that has been anchored in the collective mind for centuries. This includes women and men. Today, care across Europe is very similar. Perhaps you could say that the French woman, in addition to taking care of her face and neck morning and night without fail, also takes care of her body by moisturizing it every day or using specific products to firm the skin or combat cellulite or smooth the neckline.

What is the “je ne sais pas” of French women? Where do you think their glamor lies?

The French woman is usually a very feminine and conceited woman. She likes to feel attractive. She uses clothes, accessories, makeup, perfumes and hairstyles every day to build her own personal beauty.

He does it like a ritual, with pleasure and enthusiasm. For her it is essential to feel attractive and radiate her beauty. She makes him happy and makes those around her happy. Everyone likes beauty. The French woman creates her look in a very personal and extremely creative way. She does it with love. That’s the difference: taking care of yourself with inspiration and love or taking care of yourself as just another task…

Today we are heading towards a natural beauty, in which we do not have to hide anything, on the contrary, showing our best side?

The current trend is to prioritize personal care, and if we put on makeup, let the makeup not be noticeable. It’s quite an art. That’s why there are so many looks called nude. We want to be ourselves, but in our best version. Clarins has always favored makeup with a natural finish.

We have more than 15 products for the complexion, foundations in all possible textures, illuminators, dark circle concealers, open pore concealers, foundations that smooth and blur expression lines. Natural beauty with a little help is still natural but more beautiful because it has been sublimated.

When we talk about natural beauty today we also refer to the ingredients. People really like that the ingredients are of natural origin, plants, fruits, flowers, roots… but that these ingredients come from crops treated with respect, lands rested between crops, without the use of insecticides, etc.

At Clarins we favor ingredients that come from organic crops and promote fair trade. Our herbarium is made up of more than 250 plants, of which 80% are organic. Beauty must take care of nature and vice versa.

What are the latest Clarins innovations in treatment?

We are launching day and night treatments called Multi Intensive. They carry the same name as their predecessors, but the formula is completely new. It has been mainly associated with components that combat the signs of aging optimally and safely. It contains an ingredient that acts like retinol, but without the side effects. That is why it is ideal, even for the most sensitive skin.

What appears in the reflection of a public relations professional’s mirror is everything glamorBut what’s behind the mirror?

A lot of work, a lot of dedication, a lot of patience, always courtesy and good manners, knowing how to be there at all times, knowing how to keep quiet when necessary and, please, humility.

Above all, know that you are not the protagonist, the brands you represent and the media professionals are. This work has to come from your heart.

In short, when you work, forget your ego and do things with love and sincerity. If you are not capable, this profession is not for you.

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