Meet the Member: Marie Dubiez, Managing Director, Americas, Albatross CX

Member news | November 23, 2020

In this Meet the Member feature, Marie Dubiez, Managing Director of the Americas at Albatross CX brought us through her career in the luxury industry, and how to build a sustainable brand.  

Marie has an international profile with 10+ years working in LVMH and Richemont covering retail and wholesale for several industries (watches, jewelery, leather goods and cosmetic business). In 2019, she joined Albatross CX to support Luxury & Premium Brands in their Client Experience (CX) Transformation.

FACC-NY: From your 13 years of experience in retail and marketing, what is the importance of brand management?

From a brand standpoint, branding is very often focused on shaping external perceptions (how is the brand perceived from the eyes of customers). In most instances this approach fails to consider internal parameters that will sustain (or not) that brand image. Moving to the consulting and CX side of business has enlarged my vision of brand management. We know that media is a key leverage to build brand image. Brands put a lot of efforts to master their media presence. We also know that word-of-mouth from friends and family is the number one marketing force for brands today - beyond social media & traditional advertisement.  We often forget that human interactions (on and offline) are the key driver of word-of-mouth. They can either make or destroy the image of your brand. Think about all the resources a brand will allocate to increase awareness and consideration, and then, once the customer is finally interacting with the brand, everything can be ruined due to a poorly managed interaction that can be detrimental to the brand on all aspects.  A holistic approach to brand management takes into consideration how frontline teams deliver that brand experience and contribute to elevating brand profile perception and advocacy, one interaction at a time. 

FACC-NY: ​In general, how does brand management shift in difficult societal situations like the ones we have faced in 2020? 

It is hard to provide a cookie cutter answer to this question, as the possible shift spectrum is very broad and much depends on brand culture. In 2020, what we have witnessed across the board, was a refocus on frontline teams. Topics such as how to support, how to empower brand advisors to navigate uncertain times were at the forefront of our exchanges with our clients. Brands became very aware that the stress and pressure that was put on their frontline teams is not sustainable. We have seen brands exploring ways to rethink their client interface : offering flexibility in remote work, moving away from transactional KPIs to embrace customer satisfaction metrics, and letting frontline teams re-invent the way they serve their clients, because they knew their customers expectations’ and needs better than anyone else. 

On the other hand, after the initial period of awe and pause that happened at the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen some brands deciding to double down on their initial strategy ( push customer engagement, support frontline teams to adapt to the new normal, invest in long term clienteling efforts ) while other brands paused in their journey and adopted more of a wait and see approach. In my opinion, the one non-negotiable is to keep the pulse of customers’ expectations as this is the required baseline to inform strategic decisions.

FACC-NY: What are some of your favorite CX initiatives you have been a part of in your career?

The Ritz Carlton is a very inspiring player when it comes to CX, and the employee experience we were touching on in the previous question. One illustration of their commitment to empowering their frontline staff is the daily allowance (about 2,000$ if I recall correctly) any staff member can tap into to solve any customer complaint. This shows that Service Excellence comes to life at all levels of an organization : giving teams the means to offer tailored solutions to each customer (vs strict copy paste of processes) is a key. 

FACC-NY: How do you stay updated on the latest tools and trends in your industry?

Being in a consulting practice for premium and luxury brands, my keeping a bird eye view is essential. I had to approach this is a very pragmatic way and make it compatible with a fast-paced schedule : I listen daily to podcasts from key industry experts while I am on the go, I also usually dedicate time on Fridays to look around and read articles, it’s a nice way to wrap the week. I stay very connected to my professional network and clients and the projects they work on. As importantly, I make sure to cast a wide net and look at best in breed players, even if they are very far away from the luxury industry. 

Lastly, beyond simply witnessing what unfolds, we want to contribute to shaping new approaches to CX and brand building : some of our clients with whom we work very closely, embark with us on projects with a test & learn mindset. We listen to them, we brainstorm, and we learn together. 

FACC-NY: Do you have any hobbies or interests that have added value to you as a CX Expert and Managing Director?

Everything pertaining to general human psychology and how it impacts behaviors at large and consumer behaviors more specifically is of interest to me. I feel that as we educate ourselves on this fascinating field we become more equipped to lead our personal and professional lives.

FACC-NY: What led you to becoming a member of the FACC?

I find that meeting people from different horizons and cultures is essential to nurture my thinking and keep me moving. Joining the FACC was a way to have a structured approach to networking, be exposed to inspiring speakers and also to give back some of my time as I participate in the mentoring program for Women in Business. 

In the FACC-NY podcast Thinking Beyond: Let's Talk Innovation for the Futurewe welcomed Marie for a discussion on the future of the customer experience to uncover the broad aspects of Customer Experience (CX), what has changed, what has remained the same, what defines a good CX strategy and the impact COVID-19 has had on CX within the Luxury Retail space. 

Subscribe where you get your podcasts and check out the episode below: