L'Oréal adopts new approach

31 March 2011

PARIS: L'Oréal, the cosmetics giant, is embarking on a training programme seeking to ensure all of its marketers flourish in the digital world.

Speaking to research group Forrester, Marc Menesguen, L'Oréal's managing director, strategic marketing, argued brands like Lancôme, L'Oréal Paris and Vichy must keep pace with shoppers.

"Technology is changing so rapidly that the most surprising thing to me is how technology-savvy these customers are," he said.

"Consumers today want to be part of the conversation and it's up to us to engage them in ways that are meaningful and relevant."

To augment its credentials in this space, the French company intends to quickly enhance the capabilities possessed by specialist communications teams.

"My role at L'Oréal is to drive our digital revolution, and one of my most important tasks is to organise, together with our HR team, the training of our marketing leaders," said Menesguen.

"Two years from now, every marketer at L'Oréal will also be a digital marketer so that he or she can fully serve all our customers."

A key element of the firm's new media activity thus far is Lancôme's partnership with Michelle Phan, an Asian-American originally rising to prominence by posting make-up tips on YouTube.

Menesguen reported five of the top ten online clips covering this category were attributable to Phan, who typically secures at least 2m views for each video delivered on behalf of Lancôme.

"Consumers are massively leveraging digital to self educate themselves on beauty and make-up, in particular," added Menesguen.

"We could call Michelle Phan a next generation beauty advisor - online - and she perfectly responds to these needs."

The internet's growing status as a source of inspiration and product information means brands must reach users at a different point in the purchase funnel.

"A new 'moment of truth' happens before consumers go to the store. It's a broader view of the shopper journey," Menesguen said.

More broadly, Menesguen suggested a strong correlation exists between L'Oréal's areas of expertise and the possibilities afforded by evolving technologies and channels.

"Beauty is about connections. By feeling beautiful, you connect better, with the people around you, with the planet where you live," Menesguen said.

"This is why beauty and digital are natural bedfellows: the digital world is a connected world, where you can connect to any of your peers at the speed of light. Digital builds social networks."

Menesguen added: "But beauty isn't a destination; it's the oldest social network in the world."

Data sourced from Forrester; additional content by Warc staff