By  on January 7, 1994

NEW YORK -- Patrick Waterfield, the recently named president and chief executive officer of Guerlain Inc., knows the power of a name. He also knows when it's absent.

Although he's been in the post only since November, Waterfield already has a number of specific ideas on how to build the Guerlain name, something he calls "an absolute prerequisite" to selling Beaute, the cosmetics and treatment line.

It is not a new problem. Although 66 years have passed since Guerlain introduced Shalimar to the U.S., the company is still not as well known on these shores as its world-famous women's fragrance.

Waterfield's predecessor, Julia A. Farrell, once said some consumers think Guerlain is "Shalimar Inc."

One way Waterfield hopes to correct that is with a new advertising approach that will capitalize on, rather than counter, the power of the Shalimar name.

"The starting point is Shalimar because everybody knows Shalimar," he said.

Once the connection between Shalimar and Guerlain has been cemented in the public consciousness, Waterfield continued, "then we can say Guerlain is X,Y and Z" and use the name recognition to promote cosmetics, treatment and other products.

One of the problems in the past, Waterfield said, was that "there was no consistency in advertising," in layout or impact. He also hopes to achieve a more coherent presentation in Guerlain's store counters.

The company named a new agency -- Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano Inc. -- to succeed J. Walter Thompson, which had been its agency for seven years.

Although budgets have not yet been set, Guerlain also plans to dramatically increase advertising expenditures to help elevate its profile. Waterfield estimated that the company will spend "at least double" its advertising next fall over the same period in 1993.

He and other Guerlain executives declined to disclose budgets, but industry sources estimate that the 1994 budget would top $6 million. Waterfield said he will consider a range of formats for print. He's also mulling TV. The advertising focus will be on "Shalimar and some key cosmetics and treatment products," he said.

This effort, like others, is aimed at increasing Guerlain's U.S. presence in terms of sales, as well as image. The U.S. market now does 15 percent -- or $54 million -- of the Paris-based parent company's worldwide volume, which amounted to a total of $360 million in 1992.

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