By  on February 23, 2017

In a fast-paced beauty climate, Shiseido is trying to act more like a start-up with a heavy focus on digital, according to global chief digital officer Alessio Rossi.Accelerating that digital mind-set today is something the company is working toward in a beauty market "where everyone’s trying to sell more products, launch more services, increase the distribution fragmentation and this obsession for disruption is becoming almost the new normal," Rossi said at the WWD Beauty Digital Forum in New York.To execute its strategy, Shiseido has focused on in-house education and training, and by relying less on agencies, he noted, adding that many types of companies have been trying to find the next generation of marketers that are "great at launching products and campaigning about new products ... but they also know how to use technology."He showed conference attendees Shiseido's famous High School Girl advertisement, which generated more than 10 million unique views in 2016, he said, and was made by Shiseido employees who didn't use an agency.In order to help bring that digital know-how in house, Shiseido has launched a digital academy where employees receive training related to their jobs, specifically focusing on proximity to the consumer as its major driver as it allocates resources. "Not having been the first in playing in digital, it's not necessarily a disadvantage," Rossi said. "It's sometimes an advantage because you don't have a big CapEx to dismantle."Shiseido's digital academy has been deployed on multiple continents, and educated more than 1,500 employees, Rossi said, with hopes to double the number of trainees annually. The way it works is that each person — from human resources to finance to information technology to operations employees — takes a basic training course in order to "speak a common lingo," Rossi said, and then proceed along a path based on which area of digital suits his or her job type."Each piece of content is snackable," Rossi said — meaning that "modules" can be digested in about 20 minutes. The academy is also available on mobile, he said."This year we're trying to put together some sort of rewards for people who fail, as long as they learn something, as long as they try something new," Rossi said, adding it's a way to encourage outside-the-box thinking.

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