Elly Sandberg

Senior Brand Manager, La Roche-Posay

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


Elly Sandberg - La Roche-Posay

Career to date:

2017, Senior Brand Manager, La Roche-Posay, L'Oréal
2016, Brand Manager, L'Oréal
2014, Junior Brand Manager, Ritz, Mondelēz International
2011, Sales and Marketing Graduate Trainee, Mondelēz International
2011, Brand Executive Fragrance and Beauty, Chanel

Creativebrief: As Senior Brand Manager at La Roche-Posay, what’s your primary focus?

Elly Sandberg: My first priority is growing awareness. In France, most people see a dermatologist from birth so from a young age, they’re used to dermatological skincare and will grow up using La Roche-Posay. It’s a household name. In the UK, the market is different. Only 2% of us go to a dermatologist so awareness is low. A key part of my job is growing this via medical channels, dermatologists and GPs, but digital media plays a key role as we love to self-diagnose in the UK!

We’re seeing a cry out for accessible dermatological advice in the UK and as a result, La Roche-Posay is booming. We’ve grown plus 30% consecutively over the last few years. I need to make sure the brand keeps its dermatological authority. Everything we do has to be educational, to be true to what a dermatologist would advise you. We’re helping people self-diagnose, giving them dermatological advice and offering them a gentle yet effective solution via our products.

The third piece is around shoppability. Most of the packaging is in French. That’s a big struggle when you’re trying to sell a product that’s designed to be sold with pharmacist advice but in reality, is often self-selected in-store at Boots or online. Every day, we’re working to simplify the packaging, the science and the breadth of range.

Creativebrief: Please can you outline where you started, with any particular highlights?

Elly Sandberg: Straight out of university I did an internship in luxury fragrance at Chanel. I then did a three-year Sales & Marketing grad scheme at Mondelez International. My first role was selling chocolate bars out of the back of my van and into corner shops. That was an experience! I then did roles within customer planning, national account management and various brand roles.

One of my career highlights was working on Cadbury’s Christmas range. It was a big year for the brand. We did our first ever Cadbury Christmas TV advert and I re-designed the entire range. To do that, aged 22, was a pretty proud career moment.

Following my graduate scheme, I joined a brave team in charge of Mondelez International’s first crisp category launch via the Ritz brand. It was an enormous yet time and resource-squeezed project. It was stressful but I learned a lot! Then onto L’Oréal.

“I love marketing because it's an interesting place to be in a business. You're at the centre of everything and it means you get to work with pretty much everyone within the business." 

Creativebrief: Why did you choose a career in marketing?

Elly Sandberg: I love marketing because it’s an interesting place to be in a business. You’re at the centre of everything and it means you get to work with pretty much everyone within the business. I talk to finance, the factory, agencies, consumer insights, sales and supply chain and I like that diverse nature of my work. I enjoy the balance between creativity and being close to the numbers. It means I’m rarely bored and can keep expanding intellectually rather than being pigeon holed.

Creativebrief: And why L’Oréal? What attracted you to them?

Elly Sandberg: L’Oréal is an incredible company. One of the first things that struck me is how passionate everybody is at every level. This passion carries us and we turn around high-quality work, often extremely quickly!

I feel proud to work for L’Oréal. We strive to improve our consumers’ confidence and health. We also do a lot of amazing things behind the scenes like donating products to women’s shelters, supporting The Prince’s Trust and funding women in science. Through La Roche-Posay, I’ve supported national sun awareness campaigns in hospitals across the country and we launched a free app to help children monitor their sun exposure.

And lastly as a woman it’s easy to be excitable about beauty. I’ve learned so much about the science behind skincare and I love sharing it with consumers, friends and family!

Creativebrief: What work have you been most proud of over the last year?

Elly Sandberg: For me it’s more about local executions and what we’re doing digitally at L’Oréal. One of the things I’m proudest of is launching an online skincare blog called the Skin Edit. We looked at what consumers were searching when it came to sensitive skin. Out of that, we set ourselves a challenge to answer those consumer queries, in consultation with top UK dermatologists. Because we did such targeted, key-word work, our organic search rankings have gone through the roof. La Roche-Posay are the number one Google return for “spots” which is huge! It’s been rolled out globally now.

“Working in beauty, I feel a responsibility to women. I don't want to re-enforce this stereotype of silly girly girls who need to look beautiful to attract a man. It's important that we're portraying women as powerful, self-sufficient and intelligent."

Creativebrief: Industry wide, are there any campaigns that you’ve found inspirational?

Elly Sandberg: I’m always jealous of marketers who get to work on brands where they can make a difference to people’s lives and do ground-breaking stuff. For instance, the Sally Hansen Shetopia campaign. Sally Hansen was a self-made woman and the marketers behind the brand today clearly felt inspired by this. They created an entire brand campaign that celebrated women and turned the world of business on its head, portraying a world in which women were on top and men were not. Obviously, there’s product placement but it’s also making an important social point and it’s challenging. It’s brave.

Working in beauty, I feel a responsibility to women. I don’t want to re-enforce this stereotype of silly girly girls who need to look beautiful to attract a man. It’s important that we’re portraying women as powerful, self-sufficient and intelligent. With L’Oréal Paris we’ve made great progress in evolving the “You’re worth it” tagline to make it more inclusive. With La Roche-Posay, I feel proud because we’re trying to make life better for those with sensitive skin. L’Oréal are pretty good at having an ethical agenda behind everything that we do.

Creativebrief: What do you think makes a strong client/agency relationship?

Elly Sandberg: The best agency/client teams feel like they are an extension of your team. The best relationships I’ve had are where you sit down, you cut the formality, you can be honest with each other, you can challenge briefs, you can have a conversation like that person was a member of your team. Honesty, respecting each other, not making your agency work all hours of the day or being horribly demanding. But equally as an agency, meeting deadlines and being transparent are important.

Creativebrief: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing marketers?

Elly Sandberg: Digital’s moving so quickly. Data is probably the most under-potentialised part of the L’Oréal business. There’s a long way to go in terms of offering a really personalised, tailored service. The dream would be that someone comes to us, explains their symptoms, we understand it, give them dermatological advice and follow them on their skincare journey. We’re working on a diagnostic tool at the moment that’s endorsed by a top dermatologist to give people their tailored skin care regime.

“The best agency/client teams feel like they are an extension of your team...where you sit down, you cut the formality, you can be honest with each other, you can challenge briefs, you can have a conversation like that person was a member of your team."

Creativebrief: What are your ambitions for La Roche-Posay?

Elly Sandberg: I’d like to get to the point where we’re a serious player within skincare. We would like to be the number one L’Oréal skincare brand. That means overtaking Garnier which we are well on our way to doing. We’re an extremely relevant brand. We work and we’re not too expensive.

Creativebrief: Looking outside of your industry, personally who or what are you inspired by?

Elly Sandberg: I’m very inspired by other women, by the Me Too movement and women standing up for their rights. I like to see people getting angry and passionate about things because it makes me angry and passionate too and that inspires me to keep on challenging and pushing the boundaries of what is and what is not acceptable. I read a lot and am very inquisitive. We’re all consumers and as a marketer you’ve got to stay as normal as you possibly can. Just being nosy and curious and listening to people who aren’t in your field about their professions and interests makes you a more well-rounded person and able to appreciate other people’s opinions.