Read the Conversation

EF: What is your mission at Merz Aesthetics mission and what are your current priorities for this year?  

GP: Commencing the Country Manager position in January 2020 was a considerable challenge. In addition to the inherent demands of the role, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed global plans and forced us to navigate uncharted territory. I had to fulfill the responsibilities of a Country Manager, such as overseeing KPIs and business results, while extending my role beyond. It was a period of uncertainties and constant fear of losing our lives. Therefore, I had to step up and take on the responsibility of caring not only for our employees but as well as their families. 

During this period, I have learned how soft skills would be equivalent – if not more important – than traditional hard skills. These sets of skills and our teams’ commitment enabled me to guide our company through uncertainties and foster steady growth. While selling our products, our essence goes beyond that. At Merz Aesthetics, our priority aligns with purpose and value that extends beyond mere yearly objectives. Our net sales growth, profitability, and the number of people employed are the outcomes of what we genuinely believe in and strive to achieve. We promote self-esteem, encouraging individuals to respect themselves with all their strengths and weaknesses, both physically and mentally. We want people to look better, feel better and live better.  

Aesthetic treatments underwent a significant transformation as both the market and patients have evolved their understanding of what aesthetics is actually about. We now recognize the importance of aesthetics for self-care and self-acceptance. Just as we take care of our physical health by understanding and addressing health issues related to our heart, liver, or blood, it is equally important to care for our minds and embrace our unique characteristics.  

Cooperating with us means joining us on this journey, which extends beyond the aesthetic market. It encompasses a shift in mindset, focusing on people and how we can influence them to look and feel better, ultimately leading to an improved quality of life.  

The pandemic advent has prompted all of us to reflect on what truly matters in life and brought about an introspective moment where we recognize the importance of self-care. It made us realize the importance of being in a good place with ourselves so that we can effectively care for and support our loved ones. Taking care of ourselves should not be seen as selfish but as a necessary step to care for others. This discussion delves deep into the understanding that treating ourselves well is the foundation for leading a fulfilling life.  

We are not talking just about wrinkles but about the confidence to be ourselves. If we are not confident in ourselves and our appearance, there will likely be consequences in the future.  

EF: How is Merz pushing innovation in Brazil? 

GP: We invest 15% of our global turnover in R&D. This is a dynamic market, and we need to bring novelty to the market. Even so, innovation is not only about launching new products. Ultimately, it is about offering innovative and breakthrough solutions that will make a difference in patients’ lives. 

Every time we launch a new product, it demands thorough development and research of techniques in order to establish a user protocol. Therefore it is important that healthcare professionals know how to inject our products and use our therapies, so we invest a lot in HCP training to obtain our patients’ satisfaction.  

EF: How is Merz Aesthetics conducting training for doctors? And what strategies are being implemented to enhance access to your products within the Brazilian market?  

GP: We offer various training methods to our healthcare providers, including live workshops, online videos, virtual events, and informative brochures.  

We have multiple sales consultants, each with its own panel and client base. Allowing the consultants to focus on our clients' individual needs and evaluate the opportunity for a new training or clinical updates. These consultants work along our Continuous Professional Education Team, a dedicated set of specialized physicians and other professionals that train and communicate with our clients. 

Recognizing the training relevance in the success of our customers, we have made significant investments in launching a physical hub for innovation and training. In the same building as our offices in Sao Paulo, there is an exclusive floor equipped with over 600 square meters, in which HCPs can be trained, share research results and clinical updates, and also discuss new protocols and promote scientific discussions. We call this project “Merz Hauz”. Within this space, we have an auditorium and stations where physicians and healthcare professionals can practice injecting our products under live training conditions. This project was initiated in Brazil, propelled by our HCPs’ innovative profile, and has inspired our branches in the USA and Singapore to follow. We take great pride in being pioneers, within our global network and among our competitors, for emphasizing continuous professional education.  

EF: Could you provide insights into the Merz Aesthetics portfolio, highlighting exciting products and what we can expect in the future? 

GP: In Brazil, we are preparing for a positive year ahead. We are anticipating exciting new launches in the upcoming fiscal year that will have a significant impact on our portfolio, bringing novelty and reinforcing our commitment to being the best provider for our customers. Our goal is to be the strongest partner for our clients, understanding that their success is crucial to our own success.  

The forthcoming novelties will further enhance the position of Merz Aesthetics Brazil, which already holds a strong position in the global ranking. We proudly hold the third spot in terms of units and growth, but we are also always looking for innovation to perform even better. In Brazil, we are recognized as a benchmark for innovation, constantly challenging the status quo. Many initiatives that have been globally implemented originated here in Brazil, and these new launches will exemplify our commitment to fostering innovation and driving change.  

EF: How does Merz Aesthetics attract top-tier talent and cultivate a pool of exceptional individuals for future roles?  

GP: At Merz Aesthetics, we are on the lookout for people that align with our company culture and values. We defend the approach that anyone can acquire new skills and acknowledge the importance of working as a team. This is not merely a speech we give; I genuinely believe in this concept, and we reinforce it in our team every day.  

While challenges are certainly present, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the business and your role within the company allows you to recognize how attitude and contributions influence the narrative and enable us to accomplish our objectives, thereby changing the perspective. 

As Country Manager, I know what I want to build here, and I want everyone to recognize their specific role and the value they bring to the company. A company can only grow if everyone comprehends and embraces their position within the organization. 

While it may be easy to address and rectify hard skills, we are in a transitional phase where machines can perform tasks better than we can and minimize errors in many aspects. However, machines cannot feel or understand the environment. This is where we come in. Companies are composed of human beings. Therefore, when hiring individuals and assessing situations, understanding and identifying their own claims, problems and difficulties, as an individual, is key. 

In 2023, for the fourth time, Merz Aesthetics Brazil was acknowledged and received certification as a Great Place to Work. In this setting, it is essential to celebrate when we achieve great results, but it is equally important to analyze the areas where we may have lost points and take action.  

EF: What aspects are crucial to understanding the aesthetics industry in Brazil? How do you see the market growing in the next years?  

GP: When I started in this market almost 20 years ago, we knew the future of aesthetics would be promising. Today, it can be somehow considered as a mature market, however with significant room for expansion in terms of botulinum toxins, fillers, collagen stimulators, and other treatments. For instance, the market of collagen stimulators which is historically smaller than others, is the one experiencing the higher growth. Currently, we mainly focus on the mid and higher social class, but if we consider Brazil's population, there is an opportunity to discuss how to democratize access to these treatments. So, in many ways, we are still at the beginning of this journey. The industry will continue to grow at a double-digit rate and is not limited to a specific timeline.  

The aesthetic treatments market is constantly evolving while introducing new drugs or through new protocols of different combinations of existing drugs every year. Globally, Brazil represents a rapidly growing market with constant advances in science, while at the same time, affordability remains a key factor in similar emerging countries. 

Also, the world is changing, and discussions have emerged centered around the choices and behavior of each individual regarding their own bodies, with ongoing movements such as natural appeal and body positivity.  

During the pandemic, more people became involved with the aesthetics market, taking advantage of digitalization and increased access to information. While we still need to overcome the price barrier gradually, there is a chance to build momentum and let the discussion about accessibility or aesthetic treatments be central. This involves a variety of agents who will be granted numerous opportunities that can arise from that debate, which includes market expansion. 

EF: What advice would you offer to aspiring women seeking leadership roles in the next generation? 

GP: Be yourself. Be genuine in what you say and believe.  

As women, we often hear and continue to hear a lot of 'no's, and that's just part of it. It is crucial to be resilient. Having a clear objective to pursue while being true to yourself and believing in yourself is always important. 

Focus on pleasing yourself rather than trying to please others. When we empower ourselves, the world sees us differently. 

June 2023