In 2011, Cosmetic Executive Women recognized Leslie Marino, general manager of Redken/Pureology, with their Achiever Award, which honors the industry’s most talented women. MODERN interviewed Marino to hear about a reinvigorated Redken and her plans for the future.

MS: TELL US ABOUT YOUR BEAUTY PAST AND ABOUT YOUR CURRENT POSITION.

LM: “I worked for L’Oréal USA for 23 years, starting in the Luxe division, before transitioning three years ago to the Professional Products Division as the general manager for Kerastase and Shu Uemura Art of Hair, and then later taking on the role as general manager for Essie Professional. I feel quite lucky to get to operate within the professional beauty market, in that we have a key ingredient that the luxury and consumer markets only wish they possessed—the stylist. We have professionals to bring our products to life for the consumer. “As U.S. general manager, I focus on evolving the go-to-market strategy in the U.S. from a marketing, sales, communications and education perspective to grow the business. I work very closely with Shane Wolf, who oversees the global side of the business, to ensure our global brand identity effectively translates to the U.S. market.”

MS: WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR REDKEN IN 2014 AND BEYOND?

LM: “This is a very exciting year for the brand, with key color, styling, hair care and education initiatives on the docket. Certainly Redken’s styling reinvention, which launched in salons in March, is a key strategic priority that encompasses a transformation not only for our styling line but for the brand itself. “Another key priority is focusing on the strength of Redken’s fashion heritage and its tie to Guido, Redken creative consultant, who fuels trend-setting hair styles around the globe. Fashion is part of our DNA, and our goal is to narrow the gap between the catwalk and the sidewalk. I am confident that our new look, new feel and new perspective will make Redken relevant and exciting for all of our stakeholders.”

MS: WHAT WENT INTO CREATING THE NEW MARKETING, ADVERTISING AND COLLATERAL CAMPAIGNS?

LM: “Redken’s new philosophy has become ‘Your brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is. A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organization.’ We want you to be the muse, the innovator, the creator and the rebel to inspire creativity, use our products in a way that push the envelope and be experimental and bold in the styling of your own story. “This statement comes to life in the new advertising, which will now incorporate social media callouts to our various social platforms and encourage participation from the salon industry by utilizing hashtags such as #RedkenObsessed, #StyleYourStory and #RedkenReady. With the inclusion of real Redken artists into our advertising, we’re humanizing the brand but at the same time fueling the desire to ‘be part of it.’”

MS: REDKEN REINVENTED ITS STYLERS WITH NEW PACKAGING AND LAUNCHES. WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE HAS IT RECEIVED?

LM: “As a brand, Redken has built its name and reputation upon three core values— fashion, science and inspiration. These core values have been the foundation behind every new and innovative product we have brought to market since the 1960s. “From our patented technologies to our partnership with Guido, Redken has established itself as a trusted and consistent brand within the industry. While we are proud of what Redken has accomplished in the past 60 years, Shane and I quickly realized that we needed to create a new moment for the brand. Unfortunately, adjectives like trusted and consistent no longer work for our customers. We knew we needed a reinvention, not just a renovation. “The styling reinvention has really generated a lot of buzz and excitement within our industry. So far, everyone really loves the new direction. I was particularly pleased to see how excited our artist network reacted. They loved the new packaging and were really excited to see artists celebrated in our ads. The hairdresser is at the center of everything we do. Our goal is to empower salon professionals with educational tools and products to market that will allow them to learn, earn and live better.”