CMO of the Week: Evolus’ Tomoko Yamagishi-Dressler - Brand Innovators

CMO of the Week: Evolus’ Tomoko Yamagishi-Dressler

Veteran beauty marketer Tomoko Yamagishi-Dressler recently joined performance beauty brand Evolus as chief marketing officer to help make the injection brand a household name, particularly among millennials.

Having spent more than 20 years at Shiseido, Yamagishi-Dressler has been closely watching this esthetics industry and the evolution of skincare. “We know that the consumers are increasingly adapting to the new ways of treating beauty,” she says. “They are certainly using skincare, and are now augmenting it with more aesthetic procedures.” 

The global facial injectable market was estimated to be valued at $10.22 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow 12.0% annually from 2023 to 2030. As the stigma around aesthetic procedures seems to dissipate with younger audiences, injector brands like Evolus have an opportunity to grow their business. Since these products require a professional to do the procedure, the marketing strategy is two pronged – connect with both those professionals and with end consumers. 

“When I started to talk to the team at Evolus, and heard that they’re really focused on consumer marketing, I thought this is actually an amazing opportunity to be able to work with a brand that values the consumer and can really leverage my experience in the skincare industry,” said Yamagishi-Dressler.

Prior to joining Evolus, Yamagishi-Dressler was global chief marketing officer at Beautyblender (a tool sold in Sephora and ULTA) and spent more than two decades at Shiseido. She has also held marketing roles at Chanel and Victoria’s Secret Beauty Company. Brand Innovators caught up with Yamagishi-Dressler from her home office in Newport Beach, CA to talk about this emerging beauty category. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Can you talk about how the brand’s mission and how that shows up in your creative?

Our mission is to evolve the future of beauty. The name Evolus comes from evolve with us. We’re constantly evolving and seeking innovative ways to deliver value to the customer and consumer. We are focused on a millennial generation who have high propensity and openness to adapt to new ways of caring for themselves and treating themselves. 

Our creative reflects who our core consumer base is and also just brings some fresh new attitude. We call it bold and unapologetic. There used to be a bit of a stigma towards the industry that people may or may not have been open to talk about getting certain aesthetic procedures, but we wanted to bring this fresh perspective of it’s okay to openly talk about it and it’s okay to achieve the look you want, whatever method you want. You have freedom and control to do so.

What is your approach to storytelling and what channels are you using to reach customers?

The emphasis is the customer first. We’re unique in the sense that it’s B-to-B-to-C. Even though our end consumer may know about us, if our customers don’t carry us, then she would not be able to experience the product. Therefore, it’s important that the company really focus on educating our customers and injectors about Jeuveau and the indexing techniques and all of that. Now that we have actually reached a critical mass of distribution, the next step is to then increase awareness of Evolus among our target consumer. The approach will be to make it easy and digestible to understand because the industry can be a bit intimidating. 

There is still a knowledge gap about what the actual procedure and the expected outcome of what the pre and post treatment can look like. I’m looking to develop educational digestible content. The idea is to strike the right balance. Consumers are very well educated, especially the new millennial audience. This is a serious scientific clinical product so our goal is to make the knowledge and information a little bit easier to understand.

Can you talk about who your customers are? 

They could be plastic surgeons, dermatologists, med spas –those are probably one of the fastest growing channels within the industry. Not every injector comes from the same medical background. That’s why educating them, especially on injection techniques, is critical. 

How are you using social media to reach the millennial audience? 

We have embarked on the paid media approach with social, looking to reach key opinion leaders within injectors, because they have a great peer-to-peer influence. A lot of times our end consumers trust the injectors and that relationship. Once our injectors use Jeuveau and likes it, then a lot of times that passion and endorsement carries to the consumer. That relationship is similar to your relationship with a hairdresser, for example. It is a close emotional connection. That’s why it’s really important that when we talk about influencing the consumer, we always have the customers top of mind as well. The primary focus thus far for Evolus is being strictly on the customer side. But now we’re creating a roadmap to create more touch points and robust plans for consumer marketing.

Can you talk about how your experience is helping you in this new role?

I have knowledge of skin in general – just over 20 years, especially a company like Shiseido, where we were just deep steeped in R&D. Also really understanding what consumers want from skincare, their emotional needs and wants. It is really just normalizing skincare. I also started my career in investment banking, which helps to steer the ship in terms of making the right investment and ensuring that we’re delivering maximum value not only to consumers but to customers as well.

Do you have any marketing predictions for this year?

The beauty market continues to be resilient. There is a heightened focus on self care. And that really started to happen post COVID because you cannot buy with money, it’s time and your health. Especially as the older end of the millennial generation is now turning 42, 43. They’re much more health conscious and focused on self care. They make some trade offs and choices. But I do feel bullish about the self care industry, including ourselves. I’m cautiously optimistic.