“In this business, we happen to be the target,” explains Carrie Strom, senior vice president of U.S. medical aesthetics for Allergan. “We live the patient journey,” she says. “From the minute I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and get dressed to the minute I go to bed—we live that journey.”
As the parent company of blockbuster beauty brands such as Botox Cosmetic, Juvéderm, CoolSculpting, Natrelle breast implants and Latisse, as well as an arsenal of therapeutic products, approximately 90 percent of Allergan’s consumers are women. And the company’s corporate structure now reflects this demographic. Although female executives were not always the case, the industry has evolved to not only be more female-led, but also has recently shifted toward a more natural look. “The fear of looking unnatural is the biggest barrier to our products,” says Strom, who, along with her colleagues, is so discreetly treated that she serves as one of the products’ best advertisements. “It is the bad apple can spoil the barrel because all of these beautiful women do have that secret advantage of using our products, but you would never know because it is so beautifully injected. That is why injector training is so important,” she emphasizes.
“The perception of these products has really evolved over time,” says Colleen McKenna, vice president of marketing, facial aesthetics. “From being something you didn’t really tell people about to being something you share, people are more embracing of these treatments than they were in the beginning,” she adds. According to Strom, the products can be calibrated however the patient desires: “There is optionality, and there are options to be as dramatic as you want.”
For Dr. Stephanie Manson Brown, associate vice president and global head of medical affairs, aesthetics & medical dermatology, the move toward a more natural look is a global trend. “We know that one size does not fit all; it is an evolving landscape,” she explains. Brown, who is in charge of overseeing the development of clinical trial programs getting to market, is laser-focused on developing a diverse product profile to meet the needs of all patients. “We are inventing the solutions for problems that people didn’t know they could ever solve,” continues Strom.
“We understand the importance of patient reported outcomes along with clinical outcomes,” says Sara Sangha, executive director U.S. medical aesthetics MSL team. Sangha likens the social shift to a more wellness-oriented mindset in terms of aesthetic enhancements to the fitness community. In other words, you don’t go to the gym only to look good, but also to feel good.
According to McKenna, understanding your demographic is key. While data and research are crucial, you must also rely on personal insights. For example, as a woman, she understands the female aging process. “Many people see a disconnect as they age with how they feel on the inside and what they see on the outside,” she explains. “The beautiful thing about these products is they give you the option to choose how you want to age.”
The power to take time back in your own hands and decide your own destiny? “It is a secret weapon,” says Strom.
Main image, from left: Senior Vice President of U.S. Medical Aesthetics Carrie Strom; Vice President of Marketing, Facial Aesthetics Colleen McKenna; Executive Director U.S. Medical Aesthetics MSL Team, U.S. Therapeutic Area Lead Body Contouring and Allergan Medical Affairs Sara Sangha; and Associate Vice President and Global Head of Medical Affairs, Aesthetics & Medical Dermatology Dr. Stephanie Manson Brown
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