SINGAPORE: L’Oréal has mined social media micro-trends to inform product innovation in Asia’s emerging markets, according to an executive at the company.

Dr Anupama Wagh Koppar reported that when L’Oréal tracked consumer-generated content to the tune of 5.2 million posts over six months in India, Indonesia and Thailand on social media, especially Instagram, the team was able to glean 28 micro-trends in just six weeks.

“(Social media is) a great place for stalking these smaller trends,” the Innovation Director for Hair (India and ASEAN) at L'Oréal Research & Innovation told the Qual360 conference in Singapore recently. (For more details, read WARC’s report: L'Oréal mines social media for micro-trends in India, Indonesia and Thailand.)

“It makes innovation far more actionable and agile, especially innovation which has to be short term and short life cycle innovation,” she said.

In a search to uncover micro-trends in the three categories of eyes, lips and face, L'Oréal looked towards online makeup enthusiasts for inspiration. A qualitative lens was applied to all the data, while tech analytics and image recognition tech were used to validate the trends.

“It’s about sniffing out and catching these little behaviours and little insights which can then become big,” Koppar said.

But she added that quick, micro-trend-driven pivots – which can allow for shorter term, seasonal products to capitalise on Chinese New year, for example – should not replace long-term innovation. -

Micro-trends need not necessarily be profound shifts, she emphasised, as long as the brand can invest in them and own the trend.

“You have long-term ideas which are disruptive, and which happen once in ten years, honestly,” she said. “But you also need these small ideas which can quickly pass through, so that shorter funnels help you be agile and be in the market quickly.”

Sourced from WARC